by Anne Endress Skove
Camp Washington Community School was chartered in February, 1988. The school’s original purpose was to contribute to workforce development and overall well-being of the community by providing a GED prep course. That mission continues today.
In the 80s, the school worked closely with the Urban Appalachian Council. In 2000, we received an Exemplary Education Award from UAC. Today, we still serve the urban Appalachian population of Camp Washington, Northside, Price Hill, and other parts of town. However, our students hail from a variety of backgrounds — there is no “typical” age, work history, neighborhood, race, or proficiency level.
Class size is small, allowing for individualized instruction. We meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. We work with the student’s schedule. While we encourage them to participate for the full day, we understand that life gets in the way! Thus, students may come in for any part of the day that their family, work, and other obligations allow. We offer Everybody Rides Metro reduced fare vouchers and other help to increase student access to classes.
Students register by simply filling out a form. The next step is to take the TABE test to gauge proficiency in basic subjects. We also provide students with an overview of the GED test so that they know what to expect. Then, we go over the TABE results and discuss the student’s strengths and weaknesses. From that point, we decide on a study strategy. After that, the homework and hard work begins!
It is indeed hard work, much more difficult than in the past. In 2014, the GED was restructured to be more challenging, more costly, and computer-based. Students now must write longer and more essays and extended response-type answers. They must know how to type, how to use a computer, and how to use a calculator. The math is far more advanced. If you’ve ever seen a job description that requires “high school or equivalent,” know that today’s GED is not the basic test employers may think.
We have moved beyond offering a basic GED class. Other skills are also necessary for both the GED and general workforce development. Students can learn to type, find employment leads, or write their resumes. Students receive e-mails at least weekly, pointing them to online study tools, job fairs, and other resources. We actively solicit members of the Camp Washington Business Association for job openings, and maintain a job board in the classroom.
Culture is part and parcel of what we do. Much of the GED can be boiled down to reading comprehension, so we encourage students to read as much as possible. Camp Washington has no local library, so we have created our own. A cart full of free books for the taking and reading sits outside our door in good weather. Last Spring, we experimented with voice, writing, and art classes. These were somewhat successful, and may enjoy a revival in the future.
Please check us out, let us know what you’d like to learn here, and bring a friend.