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Adult students pack school

Posted: May 8, 2009 10:09 p.m.
Updated: May 9, 2009 4:55 a.m.
An increasing number of adults are going back to school to pass the General Educational Development (GED) tests and earn their high-school diplomas.

College of the Canyons began offering the GED test prep class for the first time in the fall, said Audrey Green, dean of program development.

The two sections, one during the day time and another in the evening, are already full at 40 students each, she said.
Another two sections are planned for the fall.

"There is the need. There are a lot of people, for a number of reasons, who don't complete high-school graduation," she said.

At Golden Oak Adult School, the increase began around Christmas 2008 as companies began implementing layoffs, Golden Oak Principal Lynda Rick said.

"It's almost impossible now to seek employment without having at least a high school diploma," Green said.

Golden Oak is part of the William S. Hart Union School District.

Students who enroll at College of the Canyons' GED test-prep class are able to take the class for free, she said.

"We have purchased a particular software that is acceptable for GED preparation," she said.

While adults can prepare for the test at College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita Valley's only GED test site is at Golden Oak.

The GED is made up of five sections: reading, writing, science, social studies and math.

"Math is, number one, the biggest problem area," Golden Oak teacher Susan Prier said. "It's always been a subject people have trouble with."

For English-language learners, writing is a troublesome subject, she said.

Golden Oak students practice on their own and with Prier.

"When they feel they're ready, I give them the practice test," Prier said.

Students then take the actual GED paper test, a process that costs $120.

With an open-entrance and open-exit policy, the number of adults who attend class ranges from 20 to 30, Prier said.

Golden Oak offers a different type of learning environment for its students because students are adults so they are treated like adults, Prier said.

"It's an environment that works better for a lot of people," she said.

Golden Oak students range in age and background, Prier said.

Some students want to earn their certificate to get into the military while others come as mothers who are ready to graduate from high school, she said.

Golden Oak student Jeremy Riley dropped out of high school in 2002.

Now Riley, 22, is back in school. He's attending Golden Oak to earn his GED.

"I needed to get a job," he said.

He's been taking Golden Oak classes for about two months.

"It's a good place to study. It's quiet," he said.

Riley, a Canyon Country resident, hopes to pass the GED test during the summer and then look for work as a massage therapist.

Golden Oak students can even take part in a graduation ceremony at Hart High School on June 4.

Anywhere from eight to 30 students typically take part in graduation, Rick said.

The small ceremony leads to a more personalized experience for the students and teachers.

"They're really appreciative of the opportunity to go through a ceremony," Rick said. "It's just heartwarming to see how proud they are of themselves."


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