(Dory Dannettell was recently appointed Executive Director for Community Educational Outreach. This is her first CEO update. You can read Dory’s biography on our CEO Staff Page.)
As the recently appointed Executive Director of Community Educational Outreach (CEO), I am excited for new opportunities both within the organization and in the Adult Basic Education industry. CEO maintains a solid presence and impact throughout the adult education field, and our growth in the last decade simply speaks of the overwhelming need for our services.
Our longtime connection with the Colorado Department of Education continues to provide CEO with grant funding through the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act. In addition to this funding partnership, CEO was also selected to take part in an extensive professional development opportunity through the department, which will afford our staff the ability to gain expertise in standards-based instruction. Ultimately, a focus on the College and Career Readiness standards is aimed at enabling our students to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to change their lives and improve the lives of their families and communities.
One of the biggest obstacles of late is the massive change to the GED test, which occurred on January 1st, 2014. This change encompassed test revisions to more challenging material, revised testing procedures, and a new delivery mode of computer-based testing. Obviously, these advancements require significant changes to our instruction and materials, something CEO has been working through since the fall of 2013. We have been busy equipping our computer labs to accommodate the technology needs of our students, and have reviewed, purchased and incorporated all new instructional materials. Our next step is to explore the addition of focused classroom instruction into our individualized study lab setting.
The changes to the GED have been both a blessing and a curse. Due to the pending test revision, CEO saw its student attendance grow to almost astronomical proportions at the end of 2013, with many students working diligently to pass all five test batteries before the change took place. This resulted in our largest graduating class ever- with 194 students earning their GED! Since that time, achievement of the GED credential has slowed, not just within our student base, but throughout Colorado and the entire country. The good news is that now, with the elevated standards of the GED 2014, students are more prepared than ever to transition to a trade school, college, or a sustainable career – an outcome worthy of our time and effort.
In addition to handling the changes in adult education and within CEO, our staff still managed to organize two separate fundraiser events – with a third looming on the horizon!
July’s seventh annual ‘Summer Social’ event, held at the Meadowlark in Denver was a huge hit – again. The addition of silent auction items brought even more excitement and vibrancy to the festivities. A new lineup of entertainment, including a comedian and the mind-blowing sounds of Gora-Gora Orkestar, literally brought people in off the street and funds in the door – to the tune of $9,000.
Our tenacious team also participated in the Triple Bypass bicycle ride, hosted by cycling club Team Evergreen. While we didn’t actually ride over the 3 mountain passes on a bike, thirteen of CEO’s staff and supporters provided much needed water and refreshment to those who were actually crazy enough to cycle 120 miles with over 10,000 ft. of total elevation gain. As a third year volunteer team, CEO is grateful to Team Evergreen for providing us with another great way to earn funds for our important services and programs.
Colorado Gives Day Approaching
As a finale, CEO will once again embark on Colorado’s most meaningful day of the year: December 9th, 2014. Colorado Gives Day offers CEO the opportunity to reach those who truly care about our mission and impact. Proceeds from annual events serve to enhance our programming at all 8 of CEO’s educational sites.
In spite of, and possibly because of all the recent changes, CEO is poised to make even more strides in the lives of our students through additional partnership opportunities, some of which are being formalized as we speak. However, no matter how wide our reach becomes, CEO will always strive to fulfill our mission and to positively impact our students deeply and endlessly.