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Partnership helps students achieve success

Riverland Community College students take part in a basic math course on Wednesday at the college. The college and Adult Basic Education are collaborating to help students who need a refresher in math. - Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Riverland Community College students take part in a basic math course on Wednesday at the college. The college and Adult Basic Education are collaborating to help students who need a refresher in math. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Class gives students the chance to brush up on math knowledge

Albert Lea’s Adult Basic Education is collaborating with Riverland Community College to help students at the college level succeed. 0730.Workforce Challenge Logo

Riverland students looking to brush up on their math, or who have been away from the subject for a while, can sign up for a basic math class through the college that is taught by an ABE instructor. Though the class does not count for credit, it is offered for free.

Penny Jahnke with Adult Basic Education said the course started in August and has 24 students. She said she and others with Adult Basic Education are collaborating with Riverland to figure out how to help the area’s adult learners — many of whom will ultimately be headed into the workforce after graduation.

Jahnke said students register for the course through the college.

Riverland Community College student Ashonte Cofield of Albert Lea, left, works on math problems during a basic math class on Wednesday at the college. - Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Riverland Community College student Ashonte Cofield of Albert Lea, left, works on math problems during a basic math class on Wednesday at the college. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

“We need to continue to expand our partnership with Riverland to figure out how we can go further with our relationship,” Jahnke said.

She said it will actually be a federal government mandate in the near future, requiring Adult Basic Education, Workforce Development and local colleges to come up with a plan to address adult learners.

“How are we going to meet the adult learners so they can successfully transition from the community college or to work?” Jahnke said.

Once the students pass the basic math course, the students can move to the college-level math course.

Dathen Johnson, who is in his second semester at Riverland as a theater major, said he needed to freshen up on his math skills in the class and has enjoyed it so far. The class meets two times a week, and it will ultimately help him on his goal to attend either the University of Minnesota or Mankato State University.

Johnson, of Albert Lea, ultimately wants to obtain his bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Instructor Kelly Weitzel discusses math problems about finding the square root and cube root of different numbers. - Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Instructor Kelly Weitzel discusses math problems about finding the square root and cube root of different numbers. – Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Student Cory Bennett, who is in his first semester at Riverland after completing some college courses several years ago, said he ultimately wants to be an elementary school teacher.

Bennett, of Albert Lea, said his tests were lower than average, so his counselor suggested the basic math course.

He said anyone complaining about the cost of college should consider schooling at community college. Between financial aid programs and state grants, he is getting his entire college paid for.

Ashonte Cofield of Albert Lea said she is going to Riverland for human services. She hopes to get her associate’s degree in social work.

Cofield is also in the basic math course. She’s  said the class has been helpful for her because it goes over information in multiple learning styles.

“It’s a review, and it’s fun because you get to re-learn what you already learned,” Cofield said.

She hopes some of the tricks she has learned for math will help her down the road.