Community Resources Fair for Adult Learners

Community Resources Fair for Adult Learners

What a great opportunity for our adult learners! NDEC will be there, will you?


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April 24, 2013 · 5:50 pm

Getting Organized and Staying that Way

Last week’s blog talked about getting prepared for back to school with children of all ages. One of the main helpful hints was to make sure you’re organized. There are a thousand different ways to keep your school work and your kid’s school work organized but here are a few helpful hints from a few different websites:, and

ImageOne of the first things to do when you’re planning for the new school year is to start a calendar. You might want to get a planner or use a cell phone. Choose a method that works best for you and your family. You should also think about creating a “Calendar Central” where each family member’s calendar is located. That way, it’s easier to see the big picture. You might also consider getting calendars or planners that show the “week at a glance” so you can plan ahead. Before you unpack your backpack or your child’s backpack, check the planner for a list of assignments. Only unpack what you need and when you’re finished put everything back. That way, you won’t leave anything important at home.

Another great idea is to create a home filing system. These are great for the office and great for your home, too. You can store your papers throughout the year so you’re not carrying everything with you. You can also store important school papers that your children have. You might also keep permission slips and notes from the teacher in a file folder that you keep handy in your kitchen or office so nothing is lost.

If you or your children have projects for class, you should consider stocking up on supplies early in the year. Keep items like poster board, glue and index cards in a cupboard or closet so you have them on hand if you run out of supplies the night before a project is due. You can save money, too, by buying in bulk or using a coupon rather than buying supplies for each project.

One of the things that can be the most frustrating and cause you to be late is forgetting things at home that you need for the day. Try putting a whiteboard or a list by the door that tells you what you need for the day. You could add things to the list like your keys, a packed lunch, your Charlie Card, cell phone, homework or your planner to that list. You might also think about putting your keys next to things you’re likely to forget. You won’t get far without your car keys!

Being organized can be difficult. Our lives are busy and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But if you can incorporate a few of these tips into your routine, you’ll feel less stressed a more ready to tackle your busy days!

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Preparing for Back to School

ImageBack to School time can be very stressful for parents. Here are some useful tips for our NDEC adult learners with school-age children. Whether your child is pre-school age or a senior in high school, it seems like there are a million things to do to get ready for the first day of school. The website has some very useful advice for parents with children of all ages at their link

Most of the advice the website offers is about being prepared early so you don’t feel overwhelmed on that first day. Especially if you have little children, it’s a great idea to plan ahead for lunches during the week so you have time to prepare nutritious food that your children will like. You could also plan clothing choices for the week and store them together so your children can grab a stack of clothes in the morning and dress quickly. The site also suggests keeping books everywhere, including your car and your purse or briefcase. Reading with your children will help them to improve their literacy and do better in school. Visit your local library to borrow new and interesting books. While you’re at the library make sure to see if they have any free programs for children. It’s important for your children to have plenty of time to learn and socialize with their peers!

Middle school students are facing many changes in their new school. They might be changing rooms between classes and keeping their books in lockers for the first time. It’s a good idea to plan a trip to visit the school before the first day so your child can find their classrooms and become familiar with the new building. Encourage your child to carry a small notebook to write down important information like their locker combination.  Many middle school students also feel like they now have more homework. Help them figure out a good homework schedule that will help them stay organized.

High school students are starting to think about their futures. Many of them are balancing work and school and are getting ready for college or career opportunities. Time management skills are more important than ever. You can help your child develop good skills by enforcing family responsibilities and chores. If students feel like they are managing their time well, they will feel less stressed and will be more focused on their academic goals.

For more information don’t forget to check out

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Bring the FUN Back to Reading!

Reading for fun is something Americans do less and less these days. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) wrote a paper a while back called “To Read or Not to Read: A Matter of National Consequence.” The statistics in it are a little old (2004) but they reflect a disturbing trend. Americans just aren’t reading any more. There are hundred reasons for this but it’s likely that we’re busy and it’s so tempting to just pop in a film adaptation of a book rather than spend hours reading the novel itself. According to the NEA study, nearly half of all Americans between the ages of 18-24 read NO books for pleasure. Adults between the ages of 18 and 44 are reading less too. 

                Everyone is busy and a lot of us have a stack of books on the bed side table that we’ve been waiting to read. We keep hoping that we’ll have time one afternoon or before bed and we’ll finally crack one of those books open. It really comes down to two things: making the time to read and choosing a book you want to read. Try to think about some time in the day that you usually have down time. This could be during your commute, your lunch break or before bed. Sometimes we spend a lot of time “channel surfing” while we’re watching T.V. and not focusing on a single show. Wouldn’t that be time better spent reading? Think about what you usually do with your free time. Next time you have a little spare time, try spending 15 minutes reading a book or magazine instead of watching T.V. or playing a video game. Finding a book you like might be easier than you think. What kind of T.V. shows or movies do you like? Try finding a book with similar themes. Some movies and T.V. shows are even based on novels. For example, if you like HBO’s Game of Thrones, you might like the books that the show is based on or other medieval themed literature. For example, the Lord of the Rings also takes place in a fictional land and features sword fights, wild adventures, betrayal and magic.

                So make some time to read and find a book you like. You might also see if one of your friends wants to read with you. Just like people who find a “work-out buddy” when they want to lose weight, you could have a “reading buddy” to encourage you to keep reading. You could even read the same book! Check the website we featured on Facebook this week to find books you’ll enjoy reading. Let’s bring the fun back to reading!Image

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NDEC’s Distance Learning Program is the E.S.O.L Hub for the State

Did you know that many students at NDEC learn English through our Distance Learning Program?  NDEC’s English for Speakers of Other Languages program that provides classes three times daily and 5 days a week is rigorous and time consuming with a long waiting list. For this reason, NDEC’s Distance Learning program, which serves as the Hub for the State of Massachusetts for E.S.O.L. Distance Learning fills a big gap in services. Students on the waiting list have the opportunity to study English from their home or local library. All students have the opportunity to come to NDEC to use our computers if they don’t have access to one near their home. Other students who, due to busy work schedules or child care restraints, are unable to attend regular classes find that being able to determine their own study schedule allows them the opportunity to study English. Still other students are dual enrolled meaning they are currently studying English in one of NDEC’s English courses but want more practice. These students find that the online curriculum supplements their coursework and gives them an opportunity to practice their developing language skills.

Online learning is the latest educational tool and online schools are popping up everywhere especially at the college level. However, it’s becoming just as popular at the high school level and even elementary age students have the choice to work from home on a public school supported online curriculum. NDEC recognizes the benefits of the flexibility online learning provides. Working with 9 partnering programs, NDEC’s Distance Learning Coordinator, Sr. Margaret Lanen, and her teachers use L.E.A.D (Learning English at a Distance), a website and curriculum to increase access to the huge population of eager students who are determined to master the English language despite struggling with busy work schedules and child care demands. NDEC knows that Distance Learning is the way of the future and we’re right on track, incorporating this flexible tool into our curriculum. We think we’re on to something here and we can’t wait to see where the endless possibilities of online learning take us!Image

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Education Can Change the World

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” The students at Notre Dame Education Center probably don’t think about changing the world every day. They come to class ready to learn, ready to change their lives and ready to achieve their goals. But getting their diploma or their GED does change the world. With NDEC’s support, they will take their skills back to their communities and start making a difference. Their goals and their dreams will become the goals and dreams of their families. Their story will inspire others to make the difficult decision to go back to school.

The students in the alternative High School Diploma Program are an inspiration to all of us at NDEC. Many of these at-risk youth are walking that dangerous line between success and failure. Success starts when they walk in the front doors of NDEC ready to commit to their education.  With the guidance of NDEC’s compassionate and encouraging staff, these students begin to feel hope for their future. Now many of these young people are going out into the world prepared to take the next step. After Graduation on September 28th, 2012, these students will be attending a host of colleges including the School of Visual Arts, NYC, Miami Dade College, Bunker Hill Community College, Foundation Year at Northeastern, Salve Regina, Empire Beauty Program and the Ben Franklin Institute of Technology. They are making their dreams come true and NDEC is so proud to be at their side during this journey.



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Literacy Students Get Ready For Their Big Day…Graduation!

Big things are happening in Notre Dame Education Center’s Literacy Program! The program consists of Adult Basic Education and G.E.D. preparation classes that run September-June each year. The students are a unique group. Some have come from other countries and yet others are native Bostonians. Many return to get their certificate because they want to be role models for their children. Each one of them has goals and dreams and they come to NDEC ready to them a reality.

                This is an exciting time for some of our G.E.D students. They are taking their exams that they have been preparing for during the past year or even longer. On September 28th, they will be graduates of NDEC! One such student, a few years ago, crossed our stage and received his diploma. He grew up in Mexico in a working class family. He came to the United States ready to realize his dreams. He married, became a U.S. Citizen, learned English and earned his G.E.D before heading to Boston University to get his degree. These days he’s putting his skills to use working at BNY Mellon. He feels he has achieved the “American Dream” and we couldn’t agree more.

                Our G.E.D. graduates are leaving this Center at a difficult economic time but they have been given the tools for success: education, determination, courage and self-esteem. They will accomplish great things and we’re proud of the great strides they’ve taken as students here. They have bright futures and we can’t wait to see where they’ll go next!

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