MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
Service members and eligible civilians looking for an opportunity to sharpen their basic math and English skills are currently able to enroll in the Military Academic Skills Program until July 26, for the next session scheduled for Aug. 5 through 30.
The monthly program, hosted by the Education Center, is a four-week course taught Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students meet in building 220 for a morning and afternoon class, with a break for lunch.
Instructors in MASP classes teach students writing skills such as vocabulary and grammar, and review various levels of math as high as calculus. The students take the Test for Adult Basic Education in the beginning of the class and again upon completing MASP to gauge their progress.
“(MASP) is a great basic skills program for (service members separating from the military) and planning to go to any type of school: vocational, technical, or university,” said Maria Fullenwider, an education and career specialist at the Education Center.
Generally, enlisted service members with a general technical score of 99 or lower or a TABE score of 10.2 or lower are encouraged to enroll in MASP, according to Marine Corps Order 1560.25. Enlisted service members may elect to take MASP, or may be referred by their unit.
But MASP is not solely for service members who have lower test scores or are returning to the civilian sector. Students can take MASP classes to improve their skills as they continue their military career, or to prepare for college. Although priority is given to service members, MASP is also open to anyone with base access, including family members and Department of Defense civilians.
“(MASP is) also ideal for family members who’ve been out of school for awhile and would like to hone up on their academic skills,” said Caron Ferguson, an education and career specialist with the EC. “(MASP may provide) a bit of a confidence boost.”
Those interested in enrolling can download the application form from http://www.mccshawaii. com/edcenter. Unit leadership must approve a service member’s request to enroll in MASP, and sign a form that goes to the EC. There is a $40 enrollment fee, which includes the required texts.
Wounded warriors have the option of extending their enrollment in MASP by attending class part time to accommodate for their medical appointments.
“I thought it was a great class,” said Cpl. Michael Thompson, a cannoneer with Apha Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment. “You’re surprised how much information you actually forget (from high school).”
Thompson, of Oswego, N.Y., completed MASP last month and is soon planning to separate from the Corps and attend college. The 22-year-old said he spent about an hour a day on homework. He said MASP helped refresh his memory in math, and he is now able to write a college-level essay.
Fullenwider said MASP can potentially help its students save money. If a service member enrolls in MASP and strengthens his or her skills to the point where they can pass placement tests such as College Level Examination Program or Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support Subject Standardized Tests, they could potentially avoid spending more money on lower level, introductory courses when they reach college.
“You don’t have to pay for a math class that you don’t need to take,” Thompson said.
The EC has a partnership with the Waipahu Community School for Adults Windward Campus, which helps to provide instructors for the MASP courses.
Margaret Teruya, a retired public school teacher, currently helps coordinate MASP aboard the base and also teaches. Teruya said her students have seen results of their work after one week. She said they have told her they learned much more in MASP class in a single week than they did attending high school.
“They’re concentrating and thinking about (the material),” Teruya said of the MASP students. “They’re motivated to be there.”
Teruya mentioned that through class evaluations, she noticed that students viewed themselves differently after taking MASP. While in the past they may not have felt that they were qualified for higher education, MASP changed their minds.
For more information about MASP, call the EC at 257-2158.