Education is proving to be more crucial everyday and none more so than a basic high school education. For those young and old, without a diploma or a G.E.D., they are left handicapped from applying for many of today’s jobs. With this in mind, Director of Adult Education Phyllis Daniels and the Jackson County School Board are working to make obtaining a high school education more attainable.
When asked about night classes, Daniels advised, “We have night classes, but at the main campus only on Guyton.”
Full time classes at Adult Education are from 8:00 am until 1:45 pm. Night classes here are from 4:30 pm until 8:00 pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights.
Daniels concern is the number of over 18-year old individuals who do not have a high school diploma, stating the statistics were alarming, “I’m like, if there’s that many people in need of a high school diploma, and they’re not coming to the main campus to get it, is there another reason? Maybe it’s because of our geography and so when Mr. Wiley Barnes retired, that kind of freed us up a position to reevaluate the best way to serve our community and our county. With the number of daytime enrollees, two fulltime staff were very capable of serving the number of fulltime enrollees we had in the daytime. Through the course of the year, it may go up and down, but at no time last year did we have more than 40 people who came at any given time during our daytime classes. We had a student graduate in September last year. They enroll, and as soon as their skill level meets the G.E.D. objectives and they test out, they’re done. How long a person stays enrolled is 100 percent dependent upon their skill level when they entered. We do the TABE test and their TABE score indicates where their strengths are and where they need additional help. There are four areas on the G.E.D., so their TABE score give us a starting point for instructing those students. When they have moved through the ABE (Adult Basic Education) program and the GED prep program and have passed the four subtests of the G.E.D., they are graduates. It could take a month or it could take a year and a half or two it 100 percent depends on that student and where they are. As we’re getting more in, some are going out. With our numbers remaining constant last year, really what we’ve done is repurposed those dollars that went toward Mr. Barnes’ salary to add nighttime instruction in the outlying areas.”
The nighttime instruction will be at the Grand Ridge School library on Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 – 7:30 with Debbie Doleman instructing. Instruction in Malone will also be on Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 – 7:30 with Kim Barber instructing. The third teacher will be Janet Baxley and she currently teaches at Sunland but has prior adult ed teaching experience. She was the education director over the GED program at GEO in Graceville. Baxley will be at the Cottondale and Graceville branches. It will be two nights at Graceville and Cottondale, “If all of our clientele is from Graceville, it will be two nights as Graceville but if it’s from Cottondale, it will be at Cottondale. And it if it’s about 50/50 it will be one night at each place, still in the library at all schools,” says Daniels. Daniels also says that once they are enrolled, they may attend any campus. Linda Monroy and Beverly Granberry are the fulltime teachers at adult ed. Monroy has 27 years of experience at adult ed. Monroy will also facilitate the night time classes at the main campus. Cindy Ham is the full time guidance counselor at the main campus of adult ed.
Students have to be 18 or old to attend night classes. For daytime classes, you may be 16 or 17 with special permission but at night you have to be 18. Daniels says, “There is any number of reasons a person may have had to exit school before they earned their high school happens. Life happens but it doesn’t matter what reason. Any individual who desires to earn their high school diploma, we are here to help. We want our community to know that our school board, superintendent all place a high value on our community’s education and our place as a community leader. We take it seriously and we want to make earning a high school diploma as accessible as it can possibly be.”
Daniels stressed that a high school diploma opens a door that would otherwise stay closed. Daniels said she learned recently that adult ed in Jackson County at one time provided GED instruction to inmates at the Jackson County Jail but says they will be doing that again, “A large number of the people incarcerated at the Jackson County Correctional facility are going to be released and be right back here in our community. And so, the goal is to help as many of them earn their high school diploma while they are serving their time to help them. And even if they don’t master it while they are there, they can then come here or one of the other facilities in the community. They can continue their education.” John Wynn will facilitate the GED classes at the Correctional facility.
Daniels says there is a fee for enrollment, $30 per time and there are potentially three times in a year. Term one is August until December and then from January through May is term two. The third term is June and July. Registration is open now for all interested students. For more information call the Adult Education Center at 482-9617 Monday through Friday.