Adult School at Ridge Deemed Success, Will Expand

School will offer additional classes to adults, including high school students, from throughout Somerset Hills area.

A pilot adult education school that began last fall at Ridge High School reportedly was successful enough to be expanded this spring to a second night, with more class offerings, as a central location for adults throughout the Somerset Hills, the Bernards Board of Education agreed this week.

The school, a satellite of The Adult School of the Chathams, Madison and Florham Park, attracted 300 students from the area to the initial 30 classes offered at Ridge, Charlene Peterson, the school's director, reported to the school board on Monday.

Monday was the last night for the school, which offered a wide array of activities, from yoga, to languages, to photography, computer instruction, accent reduction, cake decorating and more, she said.

"It was a huge success," Peterson said. She asked, and the board agreed, to allow the program to expand next spring to Monday and Wednesday nights.

Peterson said that during that next session, to last from March through May 2013, there will be 50 course offerings in order to allow students to continue to more advanced levels, as well as repeating courses that have been successful.

New classes such as French will be offered in the spring, Peterson added.

Much of what is offered is prompted by student interest, she said. Last summer, the adult school surveyed area residents about what classes they would like to have at the new school.

Catalogs to be mailed to households in Bernardsville and Basking Ridge in January

Peterson said that catalogues will be mailed in January to households in Bernardsville and Basking Ridge, although residents from other towns can sign up as well. High school students also may join the adult education classes.

The pilot program was the brainchild of local resident Laura Begg.

The initiative, which came together in a matter of months, partially because The Adult School of the Chathams, Madison and Florham Park had been looking for a location in the area in which to expand.

Information also is available on the Adult School's website or by calling the school's main number at 973-443-9222.

Peterson noted that the original Adult School began 75 years ago.


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