Saturday at SAC attracts busy students

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Education Professor Peggy Weesner speaks to her students about transfer options provided by Texas A&M University Feb. 17 in McCreless. Weesner also discussed ways new technologies like iPads are being used in the classroom. Students who fall behind in class because of absences, such as during the flu outbreak, should have technology allowing them to access material and help them stay on track in class, she said. V. Finster

Flex 2 classes begin March 19, after spring break.

By Maya R Williams

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Enrollment in Saturday at SAC, a path to a degree for four majors, has almost doubled since the program began in the fall.

Vernell Walker, dean of professional and technical education, said 195 students enrolled as of Feb. 2 compared to 99 in the fall.

The classes associated with Saturday at SAC are not only for those enrolled in the program. Students pursuing other degrees are allowed to take a Saturday class.

“The major challenge we have is getting information out to the student,” Walker said.

This program consists of taking classes on Saturday for two years and graduating with an associate degree.

This program is based on Flex-to-Flex classes, which means students take two classes each eight weeks and summer school for 10 weeks.

The classes are hybrid classes in which students go to classes on Saturday then complete and turn in assignments online.

Students have access to labs and the library despite being at school on Saturday.

Saturday at SAC offers four degree paths, Associate of Applied Science in computer programming, Associate of Arts for criminal justice and business administration majors, and an Associate of Arts in teaching added this spring.

More degrees will be offered, Walker said during an interview Feb. 1.

“We’ve just started with those and are just trying to find those (degrees) that are the most popular,” she said.

Education Coordinator Peggy Weesner teaches a Saturday EDUC 1301, Introduction to the Teaching Profession, course.

“This is the first time that we’ve offered this Saturday class, so we are very excited,” she said. “I wanted to see if this was going to be a successful program, and thus far, it’s been very successful.

“With this Saturday class, we are reaching the population that have commitments in the evening.”

She gave an example of one student who is a lead teacher at her school but lacks the certification.

“This gives her the opportunity within this hybrid Flex 1 class to be able to complete her 1301,” Weesner said.

Education freshman Lydia Cantu used to go to Northwest Vista College but switched to this college because of the Saturday classes, she said Feb. 17.

“I work in the cafeteria at SAISD here in San Antonio,” she said. “I was looking for afternoon classes or weekend classes. Of course, this is a good fit for me because I work during the week.”

As the program progresses, Cantu said she wished Saturday classes could start later. Her class meets 9-11:30 a.m.

“I stayed up until 3 o’clock in the morning doing homework,” she said. “I think if they had like a Saturday at noon or a Saturday at 2, that would work better for me.”

Education junior Sergio Sanchez received an associate degree from Northwest Vista College.

He is attending this college to fulfill requirements for teacher certification while working 60-80 hours a week, he said Feb. 17.

“I work at night, Sunday night to Friday morning,” Sanchez said. “So during the week is not going to happen. My only free time I use to come to school.

“I wish there were more (Saturday classes), a lot more because I was only able to take two classes on Saturday available that fit my major.”

While at Northwest Vista, Sanchez took 16-week courses.

He prefers the weekend classes over the 16-week classes because “most adults are ‘adulting’ and we can’t just drop everything and come on a Wednesday,” he said.

Education sophomore Alexeis Tillis, a single mom of one who works full time, chose to be a part of the Saturday at SAC program because she wanted to take an in-person class, she said Feb. 17.

Tillis has also taken classes at Northwest Vista.

She prefers taking Saturday classes opposed to a 16-week class because she likes “the faster pace,” she said.

“I like being able to be done and then the rest of the semester I can join any other class that I want,” Tillis said. “I can get more classes into one semester instead of having to take a full semester and be overloaded and overwhelmed.”

All three said they were grateful to be able to use the math lab and library on Saturday.

Registration for Saturday classes and other Flex 2 classes continues in departments through March 11.

For more information visit: www.alamo.edu/sac/saturday/ or call 210-486-0920.

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