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School district's Adult and Career Education spring semester starts Jan. 17

New offerings include specialized computer classes, English as a Second Language courses

With the new year underway, many people are setting goals for self-improvement, striving to hit the gym a little more or stress less in 2017.

For those Pleasanton residents looking to better their lives through knowledge, PUSD's Adult and Career Education department is offering specialized computer classes and English as a Second Language courses beginning Jan. 17.

The expanded offerings this spring semester were prompted by high demand educators encountered when adult education classes resumed in Pleasanton last spring. After cutting the Adult and Career Education department in the 2007-08 school year, PUSD brought it back when the state restored funding for such programs.

The department's initial offerings consisted of two ESL classes, according to its assistant director Beth Cutter. In the fall they added four more ESL classes and computer classes, serving approximately 250 adults overall.

"It puts us with numbers that are very similar to Livermore and Dublin (school districts), which had programs maintained while ours was gone," Cutter said. "To come back and right away have a program similar in size to our neighbors and that's with minimal offerings helped us feel confident there is a demand for what we're going to be providing."

There will be eight ESL classes in Pleasanton thiscoming semester, including a new advanced intermediate class, with courses being offered at various levels, times and meeting locations. All ESL classes are free and begin the week of Jan. 17.

New and returning students can only register for an ESL course after completing a required reading and listening placement test. The one-hour test is being offered at 5 and 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11 in the Valley View Elementary School library and at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 13 in the Abbie computer lab, 4750 First St. Test-takers should arrive five minutes in advance.

Adults interested in acquiring new computer skills can register now for classes that begin Jan. 17 and 24.

On Jan. 17, the first keyboarding and basic computer skills class of the semester will begin, convening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Tuesday for four weeks. The $20 course will begin anew on Feb. 21 and April 11.

Two Microsoft Office classes one covering Word 2013, the other Excel 2013 will meet weekly from Jan. 24-May 16, with no class April 4. The courses, which each cost $125, cover key basic skills up to the advanced to prepare students to take the Microsoft Office specialist exam.

All computer classes are being held at 4750 First St.

Adults can also sign up for the high school equivalency test (HiSET), with test sessions scheduled every month by the Pleasanton Adult and Career Education department. Students will receive free test preparation from a credentialed teacher based on their needs.

Like the general education development test (GED), HiSET is accepted by colleges and employers nationwide, Cutter said.

Looking ahead in 2017, Cutter said the department is working to improve offerings for adults with disabilities and their families, as well as introduce fee-based enrichment classes in subjects like embroidery and conversational Spanish.

"We're trying to bring good things back and new things the community hasn't had before," she said.

For complete information on upcoming classes or to register, visit the department online.

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