BRCC Adds Casey To Adult Ed Classroom Team


February 7, 2019

Edward Maglott

Blue Ridge Community College instructor Marsha Casey works with students in the Adult Education and Literacy Lab on the Transylvania Campus.

By Michele Handy

When walking the halls of Blue Ridge Community College's Transylvania Campus, it is not uncommon to hear a loud, "Wonderful!" followed by a peal of laughter. That is how students and faculty know, "Mrs. Casey is here!"

Marsha Casey is the new English teacher in the Adult Education and Literacy classroom (formerly called GED). The veteran teacher with over 50 years of experience is now working with students earning their high school diplomas, high school equivalencies, or improving math or English skills to be college and career ready.

"The students love her. Marsha brings a lot of expertise to our College and Career Readiness lab," said Shawn McMurray, program coordinator for the Adult Education and Literacy Department on the Transyl-vania Campus of Blue Ridge Community College.

Casey ended up in Brevard after a teaching career in West Hartford, Conn., which included middle school social studies, reading instruction, high school English and AP classes, developing a statewide portfolio system, and training 25 student teachers. Her family came during summers to camp in Pisgah Forest and attend Brevard Music Center shows. When Casey and husband Emmet, a drama, stagecraft, and theater teacher retired, they had the Brevard connection.

After 10 years teaching English as part of the Transylvania Campus adjunct faculty, Casey is now enjoying working one-on-one with students in the Adult Education Lab.

"I really love kids and people - find them fascinating. Teaching to me is much more than content. It is watching someone grow and develop and learn to love to read and write and communicate clearly and discuss ideas - that is the meat for me - the individual growth I seem," she said.

Casey said, "Individual instruction is very different from teaching in a classroom with 20 students. I am engaged with a student whose strengths and weaknesses can be seen and then addressed immediately. The learning goals change every few minutes."

The Adult Education Lab allows for flexibility in how students can meet their educational goals. Students may earn their high school diploma by finishing classes online or in the lab and graduating from Transylvania County Schools with support from the Adult Education and Literacy team. Another option is to work towards a high school equivalency (Pearson GED or HiSET options) by studying in the Adult Education Lab.

McMurray explains the benefits of working in the lab.

"Students have an educational plan; they have resources available in the Lab that they can work with. We have two highly qualified instructors, and students can get help as they need it on the things that they are working on independently," said McMurray. "In addition, we have two classes, math and reading, and we are seeing a lot of success with improved skills."

Students join a classroom community that follows a certain rhythm. Monday through Wednesday, math class is from 9 to 9:50 a.m., and reading class is from 10 to 10:50 a.m. This is followed by an open lab from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday is open lab day from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

Casey said, "The lab is a refuge where a student can put away stress and life's cares and enjoy the discovery and meaning of learning a new skill, discussing interesting concepts and loving knowledge. Personal growth is a challenge, and the quest for success is encouraged and valued."

The next new student orientation will be in March. Call (828) 694-1745 to register or learn more information about earning your high school equivalency or building academic skills through BRCC's Adult Education and Literacy Department.

(Handy is a member of the BRCC staff.)


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