For 55 years, the Racine Literacy Council has provided educational resources to help adult learners meet life’s challenges. The current pandemic is a new challenge, and RLC is rising to meet it.

The building has been closed since March 22. Existing student/tutor pairs have continued to work together through distance learning with materials mailed to them weekly by RLC staff. The entry-level STEPS program has been offered online via Facebook Live! with three weekly sessions open to anyone, whether previously registered or not.

The hope was to resume classes in the building once the Safer at Home order expired. Because high levels of Covid-19 continue in Racine County, RLC has decided to move to a blended learning format that combines instructor-led online classes, weekly sessions with a tutor, and self-paced learning resources. “Because schedules are difficult right now for many people, STEPS blended learning is designed to be flexible,” said RLC Executive Director Steven Mussenden. “A student can rely on instructor-led classes or do mostly self-paced learning with high-quality resources. Tutors will provide real-life practice and skills assessment in sessions scheduled by student and tutor.”

Here are the “new rules” for RLC STEPS students:

  1. New students need to register to participate. For a copy of the registration form, contact Viviana Feil, English Language Learning Coordinator. Email: Phone: 262.977.2874. Text: (855) 690-7783.
    Students who register will complete a brief intake interview and take a placement test to
    determine their current skill level.
  2. Students will need access to a laptop or computer and internet for a minimum of 12 hours a month. RLC has a limited number of laptops available to borrow–first come, first served. RLC will also have refurbished laptops available for purchase at a low cost. For students with no computer experience, RLC will provide basic instructions for using the computer, creating an email address, and connecting to the internet.
  3. Registered students must put in a minimum of 12 hours of learning per month. The hours can be in any combination of RLC-sponsored learning activities:
  4. Weekly instructor-led classes offered online
  5. Half-hour tutor sessions
  6. Independent study online as a registered RLC student
  7. Students will be assessed on the skills they acquire in the STEPS curriculum, which includes English speaking and listening, basic grammar and usage, computer literacy, and individual language and literacy goals. They “graduate” from STEPS when they complete the curriculum, usually in 40 hours of study.
  8. Students who complete the STEPS curriculum can move on to other RLC learning opportunities. Because of the high unemployment rate caused by the pandemic, RLC is planning fall offerings geared to entrepreneurship and employment skills for low-literacy adults. In addition, RLC can provide individualized study programs for students who want to continue to improve their English language skills, work on math skills, or prepare for a GED or college.
  9. Classes will begin the week of June 15. Students can contact the Racine Literacy Council to register to begin immediately.