Archive for Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Education focus: Academic boot camp program puts veterans back in the classroom

July 22, 2015

Veterans might shy away from the idea of going back to boot camp, but this one puts them in classrooms, not barracks.

Veterans in the Kansas City area who are preparing to return to school in fall 2015 or anytime in 2016 can sharpen their classroom skills at a free 16-hour Academic Boot Camp in August.

The program is an opportunity for veterans who have been away from a classroom for a while — or even those who haven't — to find out what to expect from a post-secondary education experience, said Lisa Schley, academic adviser for Veterans Upward Bound in Kansas City, Kan.

"For older veterans, there is so much technology used in the classroom now," she said. "When I was in school, it was really just a spiral notebook and a pen, and now things have changed, so this can help with that transition."

Younger veterans may have good technical skills, and their academic skills may still be solid, but they may need help making a decision about where they go to school, Schley said.

The four-day program is not trying to cram four years' worth of knowledge in one week, Schley said. "We are just trying to do some prep work for them, just take away some of the fear factor."

Schley gave examples of topics she expects boot camp to cover, from reading a textbook to finding the right offices on campus for assistance.

"It may have been three, four, 10, 20 years since they've taken a test, and just how to take a test, study skills, those sorts of things," Schley said.

The program will also include assistance on catching up with math and English study skills.

“This is a short-term, fast-paced, interactive workshop that is vet-friendly,” said Julia O’Dell program director for Veterans Upward Bound. “We will focus on assisting veterans as they return to the school or program of their choice, with an emphasis on preparing for lower-level mathematics and English language arts classes, as well as long-term strategies for success in school.”

O'Dell said she anticipated having fewer than 25 in the class, which would give students a chance to have some individualized attention.

"We do want to be able to reach out and do things on a one-to-one basis," she said. "That's the challenge whenever you do a class with adults that are going back to school, especially if they are all going to different schools. Some of them, maybe this is the first time they've ever gone to (post-secondary) school. Some of them may actually have quite a bit of experience, but they just want a quick brush-up."

Kansas University’s TRIO Veterans Upward Bound (TRIO-VUB) office was accepting applications through July 20 for the boot camp program, which will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Aug. 4-7 at the TRIO-VUB office at 400 State Ave. in Kansas City, Kan. However, O'Dell said veterans who are interested should apply regardless of the date.

"For anything we do, we always accommodate the veterans that come to us," she said. "If a whole bunch come to us on the 25th and 26th of the month, then we will figure out a way to take care of them."

This is the first time the boot camp program has been offered. But O'Dell said if there is interest, another session may be scheduled, possibly before school starts this summer or this fall.

Veterans may register online or call 913-321-5512. The free program has limited enrollment; participants may qualify to receive up to $40 to help defray transportation costs.

Veterans Upward Bound is part of the Center for Educational Opportunity Programs (CEOP) in KU’s Achievement & Assessment Institute (AAI) and is one of eight federally funded TRIO Programs of the U.S. Department of Education. In 1999, KU became the host institution for the first TRIO-VUB in Kansas or Missouri. Since the program’s establishment, VUB has served thousands of veterans in the Kansas City metropolitan area, Leavenworth and Lawrence.

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