The morning featured three guest speakers from the Massachusetts Department of Education. Grants Manager Anne Holbrook, Chief GED Examiner Tom Mechem, and Secretary of Education Paul Reville all offered their expert insights into the new GED and advised the Massachusetts YouthBuild staff on what they will need to do to continue to exceed the expectations that have been set for all adult education programs nationally. According to all three, the new GED will require students to think more critically, and will more accurately measure their readiness for post-secondary education. Each speaker invited the group to ask questions, and facilitated discussion between all program staff members until everyone felt they understood the alterations to the test, and how they will directly affect their teaching methods.
Upon the conclusion of all three presentations, staff broke out into smaller groups based on their positions within the organization to start developing education plans and time lines for the following year. While much still needs to be done to ensure that the programs across Massachusetts continue to graduate a staggering 60% of their students compared to the 36% nationally in other GED programs, this Learning Academy has laid the groundwork for cooperation between all YouthBuild staff members throughout the state, which the MYBC believes will be the key to their success regarding the new GED test. The changes to the test that are set to take place later this year will not only affect YouthBuild programs in Massachusetts, but all adult education programs nationally, and the MYBC has been recognized as one of the few preparing so early and so rigorously for them. With many Learning Academies to come, the Massachusetts YouthBuild programs are poised and ready to tackle this obstacle as they have many others in the past, and look to each other for the support that they will need to do so.