Free High School Equivalency Class Begins This Month

If you never completed high school and would like to obtain an equivalency diploma you have that opportunity in January.
A Free High School Equivalency Class Orientation will be January 19 & 20 at the County Complex at 722 South Congress Boulevard. Enter through the UT Extension/Motlow College Doors. Participants Must Attend All Sessions which begin each day at 5:00 p.m.
Linda Huddleston, Supervisor of Adult Education, and Carol Prichard, Counselor and Recruiter for the Adult Education Program urge you to participate. Mary Anne Carpenter is the class instructor
According to Huddleston, between 1,700 and 2,000 people in DeKalb County currently lack a high school diploma.
“We offer high school equivalency classes free to anybody 18 years of age and older who may lack a high school diploma. In this day and age a high school diploma is needed for anyone to go on to further training, college, university, or any kind of vocational certification. This is a pathway that many can use to finish what they once started. It (diploma) can be used to get promotions or apply for jobs. It opens a lot of doors that have never been an opportunity before for those folks who lack a diploma,” said Huddleston.
“We serve people from 18 to 70 years old. Some people come back just for the fulfillment of it. Something they didn’t have a chance to do before but it’s been a lifelong dream. Some people do it as an example for their kids. They know how important education is. They’ve lived it and they want to make sure their kids know how important it is that they finish. They want a better way to make a living. They want a family sustaining wage. That’s really our goal is to help them to get to that point,” she said.
“We offer on-going classes in DeKalb County. The classes are held in the county complex building on South Congress Boulevard. You enter through the UT Extension/Motlow College doors. We have a classroom in that section of the building. Anyone interested is asked to participate in the orientation process which gets them registered. It also gets them a placement test and lets us know how to begin to help them. Everything we do with them is free and all the instruction materials are free. But it is based on need. We need people participating in order to continue offering services in this area,” Huddleston continued.
” We meet twice a week on Monday and Thursday evenings. We have a class that meets from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. and another class that meets from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Once we see where someone tests in at the placement level we can determine if they would be in the earlier class or the later class,” she said.
“We want to fill in the gaps so we don’t try to spend a lot of time teaching what people already know. We look for what people need and focus our instruction that way. We monitor their progress and when they are ready, we will get them out as quickly as we can so they can test as soon as possible,” said Huddleston.
“We send them to a testing site once they’re ready and we help them get registered. They take the exam and then the company that makes the exam sends in the results. The state will then issue the high school equivalency diploma,” she said.
“The two closest testing sites are the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in McMinnville and the Applied Technology Center in Crossville but there are locations all across the state. Most of the people from DeKalb County go to McMinnville,” said Prichard.
“On occasion the testing dates at those sites may not work for you. If so the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development offers testing at their office in Nashville so if you are willing to make the trip and a Saturday schedule works best for you then we will help you get registered for that site as well,” added Huddleston.
“There is a cost to take the test but there is no cost for any of our services or instruction. For the Hi-Set test right now the cost is $75.00 which includes a sitting fee for the testing site. But the state of Tennessee has appropriated money and if you qualify under certain predictor tests criteria then the state will pay for your test at no cost to you. Essentially, you can come back to school for free and receive free instruction and materials and get your tests paid for if you meet all the criteria. Part of that criteria is that we give you a predictor test when you are ready for it and if you make certain cut off scores the state will pay for that test for you,” Huddleston said.
Anyone interested in taking the class may contact the Putnam County Adult Learning Center at 931-528-8685. “You may get in contact with us and we can tell you the dates of our next registration. That helps us plan for how many students we can anticipate when we come down here for the classes. We usually offer this once a month. If no one is in the office to answer the phone, just leave a message and we will call you back,” said Prichard.
“Our next orientation registration will be January 19 and 20. All you have to do is call and get on our list and we’ll give you the details and be ready to work with you when you come,” Huddleston concluded.

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