Top Floor Learning

In Their Own Words...

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is TFL?
TFL is a non-profit 501(C)3 company which offers adult literacy services, lifelong learning programs and much more. TFL staff: CEO, Director of Adult Literacy, Director of Life Long Learning, and Financial Manager. The organization is managed by a board of trustees. TFL is entirely supported by the community and does not receive state or federal funding.

Where is TFL located?
The TFL office is located on the third level of the Palmer Public Library, 1455 North Main Street, Palmer, MA 01069. Our phone number is 413 283 2329.

Who can benefit from TFL's programs and services?
Anyone who lives in the Quaboag Hills region and surrounding areas.

How long has TFL been in existence?
There has been a literacy program in Palmer since 1978, which developed into Literacy Volunteers of Quaboag Valley and then became Top Floor Learning in October, 2003.

How can I learn more about TFL?
Check out our website at Call us at 413 283 2329 and ask to be put on our mailing list. You will receive course catalogues three times a year and other mailings, including our Annual Review.

Why would I come to TFL?
Our fees are extremely reasonable. We have highly-trained, dedicated, tutors and administrators. Our learning center is a well functioning, professional and enjoyable place in which to work and learn. We won't put you in a large class with people of widely differing levels of proficiency, whether in ESL, reading, writing or math. Your individual needs will be met. At TFL you will get the personal attention you need in a one-to-one session with your own tutor, or, if you choose, a small class where everyone is at a similar level of learning. We want you to succeed.

Is TFL the only adult literacy center in this part of Western Massachusetts?
No, but we are unique. Our tutors are volunteers. We don�t know of another integrated literacy organization that offers personalized one-to-one instruction in reading, writing, and math, ESL classes, Citizenship preparation, GED preparation as well as varied lifelong learning classes. We also offer Survivors Bridge (for women and girls who are or have been affected by domestic violence). We don�t know of another organization like ours.

What do the programs cost?
One to One Tutoring
$50.00 for three months of one-to-one instruction. Each session is two hours per week. You and your tutor decide on the day/time of the week. You may be asked to purchase a workbook (approx. $16.00). You are not limited to three months of instruction. If you wish to re-enroll after your initial three months of instruction, you may do so at an additional cost of $50.00.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Conversation classes is our most popular. Each class is two hours per week. They include conversation in English, reading, writing and grammar. Everyone works from a set textbook ($20.00) chosen for the level of the class. Check out our website to see dates, times and the fee. Fall and spring courses are presently being offered
GED Half Length Practice Test
These Practice Tests will provide you with a solid introduction to the types of topics and questions you can expect to find on the GED Tests. Tests included: Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Language Arts, Reading, and Language Arts, Writing.
Fee: FREE (copy of scores only)
Fee: $30.00 (Director of Literacy reviews test questions with you.)
What is the Adult Literacy Program?
If you wish to improve your reading, writing or math, this is the program for you. You have to be at least 16 years old and out of the high school system. You will have an initial interview with the Director of Adult Literacy Services and together you will plan a course of study to achieve your goal(s). You will be matched with a tutor, who you will meet with for two hours each week (day/time to be determined by you and your tutor) for three to six months or longer, to follow your personalized plan of study. Your instruction may be one-to-one or in a class. You may wish to do both.

Who teaches in the Adult Literacy Program?
Dedicated tutors are volunteers from many communities, ages and backgrounds. For example: we have teachers in the fields of math, physics, science, biology, English, language arts. Tutors include a retired French professor, a retired engineer, a former linguistics professor, a retired computer expert, professional ESL teachers and several people from the business world. Our volunteers attend an intensive 18 hour training centered on learning theory, and practices and techniques necessary to work in our varied programs. This practical, interactive and stimulating training is required to meet the needs of our adult learners. When you apply for volunteer tutoring, we will invite you for an interview. Applicants must have an educational background sufficient to undertake the training.
Volunteers are essential to the adult literacy program and TFL is indebted to them!

I don�t want to teach. Can I still volunteer?
Yes. We have many administrative volunteers who help with mailings, fund-raisers, copying, filing, etc. Please call the office for an orientation. If you have special computer skills, we would be glad to hear from you.

When does tutoring take place?
When the library is open, TFL is open.
Monday:10:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday:10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday:10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Thursday:10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Friday:10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Saturday:10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
What's the difference between Adult Literacy Services and Lifelong Learning?
Adult literacy services � programs that assist adults in moving forward in their educational endeavors. We offer a wide range of very reasonably-priced literacy programs including reading/writing/math instruction, GED Preparation, the half-length GED Practice Test, the Full Battery GED Test, Bridge to College, and English as a Second Language (ESL).

Lifelong Learning � is continuing education or the continuous building of skills and knowledge throughout one�s life. Class examples: Computer Classes, Beginners Latin/Salsa Dancing, Dancing Like the Stars, Beginning Knitters, Spanish Basics I, Reiki Level One, Introduction to Pastels, How to Protect Yourself Against Theft Identity, and much, much, more.

Do I have to come to Palmer for lessons?
Not necessarily. The first meeting is held at TFL in Palmer, where you are introduced to your tutor, pick up materials, etc. but after that initial meeting you and your tutor can choose to work at one of our satellite libraries. They are: Clapp Memorial in Belchertown, Hubbard Memorial in Ludlow, Monson Free Library, Warren Public Library, Wilbraham Public Library, and the Young Men's Library Association in Ware. Just let the librarian know you are from TFL. All classes are held at TFL only.

The course catalogue mentions Reading and Writing. Is this different from GED?
Yes. The Reading and Writing program is for people who don't need or want a GED, but want to review or build on their reading and writing skills. There are three different courses being offered. You chose the course most appropriate for your reading/writing level. The course of study is dependent on your personal goals. You may want to apply for college and need to prepare for the college placement test - this is a great way to do that. Perhaps you want to increase your reading skills or learn to read for your own enjoyment - this is the place to come. Maybe your job has changed and you have to read more complex instructions or pass a test for promotion - we can help with that as well.

How do I get a GED?
Call us to set up an appointment with the Director of Adult Literacy Services. She will evaluate your needs. If you are ready to take the Practice Test, you can make an appointment to do that. If your assessment indicates that you are not ready to take the Practice Test, we recommend that you register in a class that will help you prepare.

Can I still be in school and try the Practice GED to see if I could pass the real test?
No. Top Floor Learning encourages students to stay in school and graduate. We offer GED services only to people who have left school.

When is the half length Practice GED Test?
By appointment only. The Director of Adult Literacy Services administers the test and also meets with you upon the completion of the test to discuss your scores.

* If you are required to take a specialized test, bring the material to us and we�ll help prepare you to pass. Some examples: Coast Guard License, CDL (Commercial Driver�s License), NCLEX-RN, NCLEX-PN (National Council Licensure Examination for Registered or Practical Nurses), ASVAB (Arms Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) and Driver�s License. Also, we can help you prepare for the TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language), essential for college entry if you are not a native English speaker.

Basic literacy skills matter more than ever. Without the ability to read and write well, it is almost impossible to obtain a good job in the 21st century as most jobs require more skilled and trained workers who can listen, communicate and solve problems. TFL is here to help you meet your personal goals and succeed!

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