Seventy years ago, Golden Oak Adult School opened its doors to provide the valley’s adult learners with access to academic, career, technical and postsecondary education.
“It was founded in 1948 as part of Hart High School because there was a need in the community for English Language Learners and adults who needed to complete their high school education, and it continues to grow,” Golden Oak Adult School Principal Jodie Hoffman said.
The William S. Hart Union High School District school now works in partnership with College of the Canyons through the GatewaySCV consortium, which provides comprehensive adult education opportunities to residents of the Santa Clarita Valley.
Through this consortium, Golden Oak Adult School is helping the approximately 30,000 adults who do not have a diploma and 111,000 adults who are English Language Learners in the area, according to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
“Because the Santa Clarita Valley has a relatively high median income, it’s easy to forget that we have many people living in poverty and Golden Oak provides a pathway for students to gain career skills,” Hoffman said.
Golden Oak is also working to increase parent engagement at all grade levels, which in turn increases children’s success and literacy rates, and reduce crime in the valley through ongoing education.
“According to the RAND report that evaluated the effectiveness of adult education, 75 percent of California inmates do not have a high school diploma or are consider low-literate,” Hoffman said. “So Golden Oak is working to decrease crime rates in the community as well as increasing parent engagement.”
Through its offerings, Golden Oak provides students with programs to learn basic skills, gain English proficiency, earn a high school diploma and move on to postsecondary education.
“Student start with ESL (English as a Second Language) then move on to Basic Skills where they learn basic math and English skills that prepare them for the high school diploma track or high school equivalency,” Hoffman said. “And then we prepare them for postsecondary through COC or through our three CTE (Career Technical Education) programs.”
The CTE programs are low cost and affordable and give adult learners the opportunity to become certified phlebotomy assistants, certified pharmacy technicians and certified medical assistants. These programs are also available to high school at no cost through the Hart district’s Career and College Readiness Department.
“There’s a high demand for the medical careers,” Hoffman said. “We strive to offer training for high-wage, high-demand career fields.”
Last year, Golden Oak served nearly 1,600 adult students in all of its programs, including 148 adult learners who are parents of current students.
It also helped 11 adult learners become United States citizens through its citizenship preparation classes.
“Golden Oak has made a huge difference. I’ve watched students grow and their confidence grow,” Hoffman said. “I’ll meet with student at the beginning of the year and then at the end of the year they’re doing so well.”
Hoffman understands this success and transformation firsthand, as she herself is a graduate of Golden Oak.
“I was a Golden Oak Adult School success story myself so this is really such an honor for me to work at a place where I’m able to give back what I was able to get myself,” she said. “It was a wonderful, warm environment where I felt safe. I wasn’t ready for college at the time.”
As the head of Golden Oak, Hoffman now wants to give that same experience and support to every student who walks onto the Golden Oak campus.
“All of our staff here strives to give our students the support they need and to invest in themselves,” Hoffman said. “Because that’s the one investment no one can take from you.”
70th Birthday Celebration
Next Tuesday, Golden Oak faculty, staff and students will celebrate the school’s success in the community during the past 70 years during the school’ “70th Birthday Celebration.”
The event coincides with the school’s open house and will give the community a chance to visit the campus, meet students, tour classrooms and explore volunteer opportunities.
“We have lots of little interactive demonstrations planned so that guests can see our different pathways,” Hoffman said. “There will also be a scavenger hunt where people will be able to learn about the history of Golden Oak and adult education.”
Visitors will also have a chance to speak to students in all of the Golden Oak programs, test-drive the school’s computer-based classroom, learn about ways to support adult education and participate in a silent auction that funds student scholarships through the California Council of Adult Education.”
The Golden Oak Adult School 70th Birthday Celebration will take place on Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Golden Oak campus, located at 23201 Dalbey Drive. To RSVP for the event visit: tinyurl.com/goas70.
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_