FRESNO, Calif., Nov. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The mayors of Selma and San Joaquin, located in the drought-stricken Central Valley of California, have joined forces with nonprofit dropout recovery program Learn4Life to deploy a Mobile Learning Center traveling classroom.
The classroom on wheels provides a free high school diploma program to students in the rural cities of Selma and San Joaquin four times a week. Like many agricultural communities across the country, educational access is challenged in San Joaquin, where there is only one high school and one continuation school in town. Tweet this: Calif. mayors join forces with @Learn4Life to bring classroom on wheels to #students w/limited access in rural cities #Diploma Students will benefit from Learn4Life's free high school diploma program that offers flexibility, one-on-one attention and personalized lessons. Students can meet with supervising teachers to review their personalized lessons, get help with assignments and complete tests. Students have the option to complete their assignments at home or at the MLC with the help of a free tutor and internet access. Since its launch at the end of 2015, more than 40 students have enrolled in the MLC, with 11 of its inaugural students recently graduating. "The Mobile Learning Center is essential for many of the students in our community because transportation is one of the biggest challenges to them receiving a quality education," said San Joaquin Mayor Julia Hernandez. San Joaquin Mayor Pro Tem Amarpreet Dhaliwal added, "I've seen firsthand how the youth in our community are benefiting from this mobile classroom and I'm very supportive of it." In a population of 4,000, fewer than 21 percent of San Joaquin residents have a high school diploma. One-third of students in the U.S. do not have access to the internet at home. 1 In San Joaquin, that number climbs even higher. Due to limited access to jobs and education, many students drop out of school to work in the farm fields to help support their families. The average Learn4Life student enrolls between 17 and 18 years of age, but with only enough credits to be considered a freshman. In the city of San Joaquin, the average 17-year-old reads at a fourth-grade reading level. Most Learn4Life students have washed out of traditional high school because of the many obstacles they commonly deal with, such as teen pregnancy, homelessness, the absence of parents and/or the need to work. "Beyond overcoming the lack of geographic access, many of the students in our town need a different type of education that gives them flexibility and one-on-one support," said City of Selma Mayor Pro Tem Jim Avalos. "This option allows them to balance their adult responsibilities of working or childcare while earning a high school diploma." Learn4Life's mission is to reengage dropouts. It does this by offering a high school diploma program modeled upon a university education. This model allows any student in any phase of life to have an opportunity to earn a high school diploma. Learn4Life operates under California's Alternative Schools Accountability Model program (ASAM) along with more than 1,000 other district, county and juvenile programs designed to offer credit recovery to the most disadvantaged students in the state. Learn4Life plans to add a second traveling classroom later this year to address geographically displaced students throughout the Central Valley.