54 classes available, covering wide range of interests
By Terry Duffy
As the Lewiston-Porter School District continues the restart from the effects of COVID-19, its Community Education program is taking on a whole new route for fall 2020. While other districts consider their options, Lew-Port announced Community Ed would be going 100% virtual for the semester.
As area residents have now come to understand over past months, Lewiston-Porter, in essence, needed to completely restructure its educational environment.
“COVID-19 hit and all of us were forced to a new reality and new normal in terms of our daily lives,” said Paul Casseri, Lewiston-Porter superintendent of schools. “I had thought that Community Education would not be possible this year.”
But thanks to what could be truly be called a team effort among Lew-Port administrators, the Board of Education and Community Education Coordinator Anita Muzzi – not to mention the intense cooperation of instructors – the program is online and ready to go.
“When we had to make the switch from in-person to online instruction, many of our instructors rose to the occasion and were excited to develop virtual classes for our program. As the COVID-19 virus took its toll and forced the closure of many Community Ed programs in WNY, I was in a position to quickly regroup with the instructors and make the transition seamless,” Muzzi said. “Back in March when the district closed, several of our instructors offered to change over to virtual learning to continue their classes that already started. In retrospect, that scenario afforded us the opportunity to move into online-only classes much easier.”
For fall 2020, Lew-Port Community Ed will offer 54 classes via the net in such areas as technology; learning and leisure; health and wellness; certifications and test preparations; financial classes – 10 in total; and musical offerings. Classes began this week, and are offered in Zoom or Google Meet formats. Community Ed will continue through December.
“We all understand that learning is what our souls crave. I encourage you to reward yourself by learning something new this fall, with the added comfort of being in your own home,” Muzzi said. “The program is open to anyone who would like to try something new. We are opening our doors to the entire surrounding community, continuing to make Lew-Port the hub of continued learning in the region.”
Casseri said, “We are proud to create this opportunity for our community. We would love to have had our full complement of classes back on campus for community education, but given where we are at with our schools and the pandemic, that would have been impossible to accomplish.”
So what’s new and exciting with Lew-Port Community Ed online for fall 2020? Plenty!
Browsing through the course listings, one finds such interest areas as “Online Certifications and Test Prep” for those moving on to higher education and beyond. Course offerings include ACT and SAT boot camps and preparation, and college application essay writing. There’s also notary public training.
In the area of finance, one will find such interests as investing, “Estate Planning 101,” the Medicare spectrum, Social Security, the latest on IRAs and “Top Financial Concerns for Retirees.” All are available online, convenient and at home for the student – no need to travel during our oftentimes-challenging weather.
“I’ve been lecturing on estate planning for several sessions at Lew-Port. The classes have been very well received and attended. I’m excited to bring my seminar into a virtual setting, as I believe it opens up enrollment to a wider audience – especially for folks that worry about venturing out in inclement weather,” said instructor and attorney Thomas Cannavo.
He went on to praise the Lew-Port district for its swift transition to online availability.
“I would also like to recognize the amount of work it took for the district to transition the program, in a short amount of time, to an online format, considering all the logistics involved,” Cannavo said.
Moving onto to tech offerings, one finds a whole slew of “get acquainted” courses for the newbie crowd. Consider such titles as “Understanding Your Device,” which delves into that new computer, smartphone or tablet; or how about a look at “Essential Smartphone Skills,” which includes discussions on apps and various organizational tasks; or developing a better understanding of Google – it’s more than just email. Here, newbie online students can gain a better understanding of myriad options with these devices they never knew existed.
And that’s not all. Still more topics include understanding Windows, using the internet, and learning such handy computer tasks as copy/paste features and file/folder management.
Also intros to various Microsoft Office features – Word, Excel and PowerPoint – and advanced-level courses on how-to master this tech.
“I started teaching computer and smartphone use to adults last year for Lew-Port’s wonderful new community education program. I strongly believe more education for all is important for a civilized society to exist,” tech instructor Nancy Wise said.
Inviting residents to join the Community Ed virtual crowd, she added, “Going online was the right thing for the district to do. I know many classes are thriving online. Keeping everyone involved and safe from this awful virus, yet connected, is so very important.”
Getting into individual tastes, Lew-Port’s Community Ed online courses include such interests as health and wellness – delving into psychics, self-healing, and one’s inner peace.
Into learning and leisure? There are courses on connecting with the angels; beekeeping for beginners; yoga; learning the German language; and discovering Hawaii. There’s even a new self-awareness course for parents and teens to better understand one another.
And music? How about two levels on guitar, and two covering the art of singing and self-growth?
All are available this fall, and in a completely safe and health-conscious atmosphere for users, with Lewiston-Porter’s all-new virtual Community Education Program.
Casseri said, “(This) online course option for fall 2020 is hopefully a placeholder for the reestablishment of our full program in 2021-22. Please consider taking one of these courses; I know our Community Education instructors have put it in great planning to create the best possible courses in the online environment. Enjoy!”
Lew-Port Board of Education President Jodee Riordan added, “We encourage you to explore all that the Community Ed program has to offer, and take advantage of any and all opportunities that spark your interest. Use the gift of extra time to explore new interests, rekindle old hobbies and passions, and connect with new friends.
“Stay strong Lewiston-Porter, and never stop learning!”
Registration for Lew-Port’s online Community Ed is now open. For more information or to sign up, visit www.lew-port.coursestorm.com or call 716-286-7265.