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Rio Salado College Northern Commemorates 10 Years of Service To The Public

President Smith at the RSC Northern Commemoration RSC Northern 10 Year Commemoration Ceremony RSC Northern Celebrates 10 Years of Service

Rio Salado College Northern Commemorates 10 Years of Service To The Public

The traditional gift for a ten-year anniversary is tin or aluminum. Both substances are soft and possess a degree of flexibility yet maintain an inherent strength and resiliency. This year marks the tenth anniversary of Rio Salado College Northern, our location on 19th Ave and Northern in Phoenix. And much like the tin or aluminum gift it’s due, RSC Northern has thrived as a Rio location by being flexible and resilient.

A small group of current and former staff, college leaders, and community partners gathered on August 18 to mark the milestone at the location, which was abuzz with students learning and enrolling.

“The high-quality, flexible, and accessible academic programming and student services at Rio Northern are a testament to Rio’s innovative partnerships and commitment to the mission of supporting learners where they are,” said Dr. Tamara Cochran, Dean of Instruction and Community Development.”

Rio Salado College President Kate Smith also joined in the celebration.

“I am in awe of the work you and your teams have accomplished to make Rio Northern the vibrant and viable space it is today,” Smith said. “I thank you for your commitment to serve our learners and our community.”

Over the course of its first ten years, RSC Northern has been a waystation and source of vital knowledge for students looking to develop essential, life-changing skills. Opened in 2011, RSC Northern is devoted to offering convenient access to GED® test preparation, English language classes, career training, GED® Testing, Adult ACE (Adults Achieving a College Education), and multiple pathways to achieving a High School Equivalency. The Arizona Department of Education has recognized Rio Salado’s scholastic excellence on several occasions, bestowing the Arizona Adult Education Program of the Year honor three years in a row (2018-2020), an achievement received thanks to all Adult Education staff, including members of the Northern location.

RSC Northern has served 8,500+ High School Equivalency and English language students since opening. About 12,000 students are served annually by Northern's Testing Center. 

Like its sister locations in the Rio family, RSC Northern is dedicated to offering a personalized educational experience for its students with flexible class options and knowledgeable, supportive staff. That personal touch is important when it comes to working with the school’s Adult Education students, especially to those learners who were unable to pursue an education earlier in their lives due to facing great adversity. 

RSC Northern student Manihiro Joseph is a shining example of the transformative power of Adult Education courses. 

Initially hailing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Joseph and his wife came to the States after spending years in a Ugandan refugee camp. Joseph started learning English in the camps and used his knowledge to act as an interpreter for his fellow refugees. Eager to further his studies in English while pursuing his desire to learn business management, Joseph enrolled at RSC Northern. 

“I enjoyed the interaction with students and staff,” Joseph said, praising the sense of community he found at Northern. “The staff is friendly and they helped me build on what I learned before. My dream is to start a business and these English classes help me get closer to my vision.”

Joseph was a 2020 Speaker for the National Adult Honor Society (NAEHS). The 2021 NAEHS Speaker, Zawadi Musuuke, is also attending Northern as an ESL student. 

Like Joseph, Musuuke is originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Facing tragedy and tribulations in her home country, Musuuke was able to make her way to America to establish a more stable life for herself and her family. She found the RSC Northern staff to be very supportive of her efforts to master a new language.

“I really enjoy the experience of learning there,” Musuuke said of Northern. “I feel comfortable there. I have a pretty strong accent, but the teachers are very helpful and patient and give me the time I need to learn.”

The roots of RSC Northern began years before when Rio Salado College offered classes at Paradise Valley Mall and borrowed elementary and community college classrooms. RSC Northern brought all these locations under one roof and helped adult education students to envision themselves on the pathway to college.

RSC Northern is also home to the Math Emporium, a first-of-its-kind center designed to help MCCCD students succeed in mathematics. 

The Math Emporium provides students with math concierges who act as tutors, coaches, and small group presenters. The Math Emporium exemplifies the mix of cutting-edge technology and personalized care that defines the Rio Salado learning experience.

In July 2021, One-Stop Student Services opened at RSC Northern to provide services students formerly needed to receive at RSC Tempe, including academic advising, admission and records, cashiers, and limited financial aid. Seven advisors are on campus on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to meet with students.

Rio Northern’s areas of service for students, including the Math Emporium, One-Stop, Testing, Counseling and Career Services, Disability Resource Services, Adult ACE, and community partners Bloom 365 and Deer Valley Unified School District all play a role in the location’s success, said Elizabeth “E” Cole, Rio Salado’s Director of Community Partnerships.

“Thank you to all the partners that make up the Northern family,” Cole said. “The success of the Northern location would not be possible without all of you, and we are forever grateful for your support.”

With a decade under its belt, Northern has set a high standard for quality Adult Education. We’re proud of all the hard work of our Northern instructors and staff and look forward to seeing Northern grow over the next ten years. Here’s looking forward to the 20-year anniversary, when we go from tin & aluminum to brilliant platinum.

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