Sanford Community Adult Education

For over 100 years, Sanford Community Adult Education (SCAE) has been working to help those 18 and older achieve their educational goals and improve their quality of life. The Growth Council recently had the opportunity to speak with SCAE's Director, Allen Lampert, and ask him some questions about the organization. Below, we have compiled our questions (in italics) and SCAE's answers.

Can you tell us about yourself?  What is your role at Sanford Community Adult Education (SCAE)?

I have been the director at SCAE since 2011. From 1996 to 2011 I was at Portland Adult Education for 16 years supporting workforce education and development. From 1981 to 1994, I was in the financial services industry. From 1990-1994 I was President of the Metropolitan Banking Group with Neworld Bank in Boston.

Can you tell us a bit about the history of Sanford Community Adult Education (SCAE) and how it is organized?

SCAE has been serving the Sanford Springvale community since the early 1900’s. Its role has changed over the years, but its core mission has remained the same: enhance the quality of life for the residents of Sanford/Springvale.  

What is SCAE’s core mission?

SCAE’s mission statement is “Come, Learn, Conquer.” Those three words provide the foundation and core of our purpose to the people of Sanford/Springvale. We provide numeracy and literacy education to individuals in our community who want to gain a high school diploma or prepare for college. In addition, we provide community education programming for adults who want to learn more in areas of their interests. 

What services does SCAE offer?  Is there a charge?

SCAE provides key services in high school completion, college transition, community education and workforce development. There may be nominal fees for our academic courses, and our community education classes are provided at modest prices.    

Can people earn college credit for courses through SCAE?

SCAE partners with Univ. Maine Augusta to provide distance learning to earn a college degree. SCAE has had many Sanford/Springvale residents attain their college diplomas at SCAE over the years. While SCAE does not do the instruction directly, it provides the venue for our citizens to gain their college education and stay in Sanford. In addition, SCAE provides college transition classes to help our student prepare for college.     

Can you give us an idea of the types of courses that you have available? (And a link to a current course catalog?)

People can access all our programming via our webpage, SanfordLearns.org. SCAE offers classes in health/fitness, art (painting, drawing, pottery), handcrafts, workforce training in medical, legal and office careers, computers/digital technology, and business/marketing,     

What would you say to someone who is nervous or unsure about taking a course through SCAE?  Are prospective students allowed to observe classes?

We encourage everyone to call us or visit. We provide informal tours, and we offer orientation sessions during the school year for people to learn more about our programming.  

Where are courses taught?  Do you have any on-line course offerings for people who may not be able to physically attend classes due to scheduling conflicts or other issues?

All academic/college preparation/workforce development classes are taught at our main site at the Anderson Learning Center located at the former Nasson College campus in Springvale.  Community education classes (i.e. art, fitness, etc.) are mostly taught at the same location, but on occasion, we offer some fitness classes at other schools in the Sanford School Department such Carl J Lamb, or Margaret Chase Smith.  Some programs in workforce training do have a distance learning component such as medical and legal certifications.  

Does SCAE partner with other educational institutions to offer courses?

SCAE partners with UGotClass, the Academy of Medical Professionals, and the Center for Legal Studies to provide workforce certifications in a variety of fields. In addition, SCAE partners with many other educational institutions. These partnerships include: Univ. of Maine Augusta for distance learning towards an undergraduate degree, York County Community College, and other area colleges such as Univ. of Southern Maine, Univ. of New England, and Great Bay Community College in New Hampshire

If someone doesn’t see a topic offered at SCAE, can you still help them to find somewhere else that does offer the topic?

Absolutely, SCAE is connected to the State Of Maine Adult Education Portal that provides our residents access to any other adult education classes and programs within any distance the person is interested in travelling. In addition, SCAE can create a class for interested people if we can generate enrollment.  

How is SCAE funded? Do you accept donations?

SCAE is primarily funded via local and state appropriations. In addition, SCAE receives federal and state grant monies to support its basic education and college transitions program. Finally, SCAE’s community/enrichment education classes are self-supporting. There is a link on the SCAE webpage that allows citizens to give donations if they so choose to.    

Many people may not have imagined themselves taking an adult education course. Can you give us a snapshot of the types of people who take Adult Education courses?

SCAE is open to all citizens in Sanford/Springvale between the ages of 17 on up. Several years ago, SCAE handed out a high school diploma to a 80+ year old. Everyone can learn at any age. SCAE provides job training and self-improvement classes that often lead to certifications. SCAE also offers children’s programming in certain areas such as art.  

Are there any things about SCAE that you think many people may not know or may have misconceptions about?

Many people still think of adult education as offering only classes in basket weaving. SCAE is so much more than that. We provide multiple programming and services to meet the needs of our citizens. From academic classes to complete a high school diploma, from arts to workforce development, from yoga to pottery, from handcrafting to college preparation, SCAE probably has the class or program to meet your individual needs.  

Do you ever take suggestions on course topics?  Do your instructors have to be specially qualified to teach a course?

At the end of each course, we ask for student feedback and this includes what other courses they would like us to offer. All academic instruction is done by certified instructions through the Maine Dept. of Education. 

What’s new and exciting at SCAE?

Over the past several months, SCAE has introduced a whole new level of programming through Arts Afire Studio. Through the dynamic leadership of coordinator Kristin Fitzpatrick, Arts Afire is capturing the excitement and creativity of the community. A whole new series of art classes and programming are being offered to the residents of Sanford/Springvale. In addition, studio space is being rented by people who want to explore their artistic side in a professional art environment. We encourage all those interested in the arts to contact us for more information.     

Where should people go to find out more about SCAE?

Visit the SCAE webpage: SanfordLearns.org or come to the SCAE offices at the Anderson Learning Center at 21 Bradeen St. You can also call (207) 490-5145 for more information.