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Vanguard Director at LaGuardia Community College Wins Literacy Recognition Award


Long Island City, NY—June 20, 2014—Amy Dalsimer, Executive Director of Pre-College Academic Programs at LaGuardia Community College, has won a 2014 Literacy Recognition Award from the Literacy Assistance Center in New York. The annual award honors literacy practitioners for outstanding contributions to students, their program or the New York City literacy community. There were seven winners citywide this year.

Ms. Dalsimer has been a trailblazer in contextualized and integrated instruction in the New York area for over 20 years. The Bridge to College and Careers Program (Bridge Program), which gears high school equivalency preparation towards careers and college readiness, as well as the Supporting Adults through Vocational EMT Training Program (S.A.V.E. EMT Program), which combines basic skills instruction with technical training, are two examples of innovative programs that she has pioneered and that have been instrumental in helping students achieve their educational and professional goals.

“LaGuardia is on the cutting edge of developmental instruction for high school equivalency preparation and vocational training, thanks to Amy Dalsimer and her staff,” said Gail O. Mellow, President of LaGuardia. “They are creating groundbreaking methods of effective contextualized instruction that are serving as a model for the rest of the country.”

The focus on math and literacy skills in the context of vocational training (called the NYBEST model, based on Washington State's Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (I-BEST) initiative) has proven successful. In the past four years, approximately 240 students have enrolled in the S.A.V.E. EMT Program, and 85% completed and passed the NY State EMT certification exam. Eighty percent of those were able to find employment with ambulance companies, the FDNY, and hospitals in the metro area. Now more New Yorkers have access to this career pathway, are realizing their career goals, and are serving New York City in providing vital pre-hospital emergency care. 

The central feature of the Bridge Program is the implementation of contextualized, career-focused curricula. Contextualized instruction is a sector-based approach to developmental instruction that uses authentic materials from one career area to build basic skills. Ms. Dalsimer has led the curriculum development and program design for the Bridge Program since its inception, using the sectors of business, health and science. To date, more that 1,000 students have been served in the program. The GED exam pass rate of the last Bridge Program group that took the test in December 2013 was 67%, compared with New York State’s latest pass rate of 53% in 2012-13.

Ms. Dalsimer has also been tireless in her efforts to provide training on this kind of instruction for other institutions and literacy professionals nationwide through her creation of and work in the College and Careers Pathways Institute at LaGuardia.

“It has been my great pleasure and honor to work with adult learners for the last 25 years in their quest to improve their education and career prospects,” said Ms. Dalsimer. “The students’ hard work and the unwavering commitment of my colleagues in the adult education community have been my daily inspiration. I am proud to receive this recognition but consider it a shared honor that belongs to all of these remarkable adult students and their dedicated educators.”                                                                           

The Bridge Program is funded by Robin Hood Foundation and the S.A.V.E. EMT Program is currently funded by the U.S. Department of Labor through its Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program. 

Find out more about this year’s Literacy Recognition Awards at http://www.lacnyc.org/Awards.


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LaGuardia Community College located in Long Island City, Queens, was founded in 1971 as a bold experiment in opening the doors of higher education to all, and we proudly carry forward that legacy today. LaGuardia educates students through over 50 degree, certificate and continuing education programs, providing an inspiring place for students to achieve their dreams. Upon graduation, LaGuardia students’ lives are transformed as family income increases 17%, and students transfer to four-year colleges at three times the national average. Part of the City University of New York (CUNY), LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for boundary-breaking success education underserved students. At LaGuardia we imagine new ideas, create new curriculum and pioneer programs to make our community and our country stronger. Visit www.laguardia.edu to learn more.

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