Fast Track programs enhance educational success

In 1989, Focus: HOPE developed its Fast Track program to address the readiness of high school graduates and GED holders seeking enrollment in its job training programs. Fast Track takes a holistic approach to education emphasizing the “3 A’s” of attendance, academics and attitude.

The program is staffed by a team of instructors and administrators assisted by tutors who are retired teachers, business professionals, college students and graduates. Fast Track accepts students with a minimun of fifth grade math skills, a minimum of eighth grade English skills, and any level of computer skills.

A rigorous process aims to raise reading and math skill levels by at least two grade levels within eight weeks, as measured on the Test of Adult Basic Education. The computer course is designed to provide students with basic computing skills necessary to progress in any of the educational training programs. 

Focus: HOPE's students may enroll in any of the skill enhancement classes, participating in small-group sessions. Fast Track instructors assign math and reading modules, schedule weekly educational objectives and activities, monitor and record progress, and provide individualized attention to promote student success.

A brief description of each of the programs follows:

Fast Track Math

This eight-week course was developed for students who need an intensive review of core math fundamentals. The course incorporates direct instruction, small-group application activities and independent computer-based learning. Course topics are:

Math Topics

Fast Track Reading

This eight-week course was developed for students who need to enhance their skills to become proficient readers. Fast Track Reading provides direct instruction, guided practice and application of skills used to build fluency, vocabulary and comprehension to promote creative and critical thinking skills.  Course topics: words in context, recalling information, interpreting graphic information, constructing meaning, paraphrasing, comparison and contrast, and making predictions.

Computer Literacy

This five-week course was developed to familiarize students with technical terms and knowledge to become proficient with computer fundamentals. Course goals  include completion of a mouse tutorial, understanding file and folder functions, keyboarding, and basic Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint application skills. Computer Literacy also helps students build confidence in their grasp of technology to advance toward future opportunities.

The Fast Track curriculum includes services designed to prepare students for a successful education and career. It also includes instruction in professional work skillsand financial literacy, and help with social services offered through partnerships involving Focus: HOPE, the Greater Detroit Center for Working Families, United Way of Southeastern Michigan, Detroit Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Lighthouse of Oakland County, among others.

Graduates use their knowledge and skills to springboard to other educational opportunities and advancement. This highly successful program has been imitated by other institutions, including the State of Michigan.

Click here to see photos of the Fast Track Program in Action