The It Gets Better Project

Growing up isn’t easy. Many young people face daily tormenting and bullying, leading them to feel like they have nowhere to turn. This is especially true for LGBT kids and teens, who often hide their sexuality for fear of bullying. Without other openly gay adults and mentors in their lives, they can't imagine what their future may hold. In many instances, gay and lesbian adolescents are taunted — even tortured — simply for being themselves. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.

In September 2010, syndicated columnist and author Dan Savage created a YouTube video with his partner Terry to inspire hope for young people facing harassment. In response to a number of students taking their own lives after being bullied in school, they wanted to create a personal way for supporters everywhere to tell LGBT youth that, yes, it does indeed get better.

Faculty Fun

Information Literacy Projects

Jacquie's ESL 096 IL

Jacquie's ESL 098 IL

Jacquie's ESL 099 IL

IBEST AM Spring 2008

IBEST AM Winter 2008


Pages for Basic & Transitional Studies

Book Talk

Portfolio Assessment in the
Basic & Transitional Studies Division

The Standards Podcast -- Starring Joanna Elizondo, Ann Levine and Denise Vaughn



Standardized Testing: Potential and Pitfalls

Here's a link to the official website of ACT Education, the testing company that owns the COMPASS tests.

Here's a link to the official website of CASAS -- Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems

Here's a link to the Kansas State University ESL Placement Page

Here's a link to the Standards Schmandards Readability Index Calculator -- it's Flesch-Kincaid, which is the same one that's included with Microsoft Word


Flesch Reading Ease Table
Style Flesch-Reading Ease Score Average Sentence Length in Words Average Syllables per 100 Words Estimated School Grade Completed Estimate Percent of U.S. Adults
Very Easy 90-100 8 or fewer 123 or fewer 4th Grade 93
Easy 80-90 11 131 5th Grade 91
Fairly Easy 70-80 14 139 6th Grade 88
Standard 60-70 17 147 7th or 8th Grades 83
Fairly Difficult 50-60 21 155 Some High School 54
Difficult 30-50 25 167 High School or Some College 33
Very Difficult 0-30 29 or more 192 or more College 4.5


Some Books


by Oliver Sacks

Music can move us to the heights or depths of emotion. It can persuade us to buy something, or remind us of our first date. It can lift us out of depression when nothing else can. It can get us dancing to its beat. But the power of music goes much, much further. Indeed, music occupies more areas of our brain than language does--humans are a musical species.

Oliver Sacks's compassionate, compelling tales of people struggling to adapt to different neurological conditions have fundamentally changed the way we think of our own brains, and of the human experience. In Musicophilia, he examines the powers of music through the individual experiences of patients, musicians, and everyday people--from a man who is struck by lightning and suddenly inspired to become a pianist at the age of forty-two, to an entire group of children with Williams syndrome who are hypermusical from birth; from people with "amusia," to whom a symphony sounds like the clattering of pots and pans, to a man whose memory spans only seven seconds--for everything but music.

Our exquisite sensitivity to music can sometimes go wrong: Sacks explores how catchy tunes can subject us to hours of mental replay, and how a surprising number of people acquire nonstop musical hallucinations that assault them night and day. Yet far more frequently, music goes right: Sacks describes how music can animate people with Parkinson's disease who cannot otherwise move, give words to stroke patients who cannot otherwise speak, and calm and organize people whose memories are ravaged by Alzheimer's or amnesia.

Music is irresistible, haunting, and unforgettable, and in Musicophilia, Oliver Sacks tells us why.

Here's a short video where Sacks describes the book.



"Oliver Sacks Observes the Mind through Music"
This discussion of Musicophilia led by Oliver Sacks took place in November 2007 at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington.



Here's a link to a website that is devoted to Musicophilia. There are other links, comments, videos and and an audio file.


Fast Food Nation

by Eric Schlosser

The Namesake

by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Magician's Assistant

by Ann Patchett

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

by Kim Edwards