Greenville County School District is pleased to partner with Foothills Family Resources to provide a satellite campus location for the Lifelong Learning GED program at Slater. Two certified teachers provide instruction in the four subject areas–math, science, language arts, and social studies–tested on the General Equivalency Diploma (GED) test. The school day is divided into subject periods so students receive instruction in each subject daily.
Many adult learners who seek to earn their diploma had negative experiences in a traditional high school setting. The teachers work to provide a positive, encouraging environment for those choosing to return to school. Most students enjoy the small class size and individualized instruction and the program achieves an excellent success rate for those students who stay and attend classes regularly. Many students sing the praises of the program citing actual instruction from a teacher rather than a computerized tutorial type program. The students are taught as a group but as students either stand out for being advanced or needing remediation, individualized instruction is provided as well. The average amount of classroom time it takes for a student to graduate, one who comes regularly and is committed to working for the diploma, is four months, with some students graduating in a matter of weeks, and others who need to make up background skills they missed in a regular school setting taking longer .
In addition to academic classes, the students work to earn their WIN career readiness credential. A WIN certificate informs a potential employer at what workforce skill level the employee is capable of performing. For large corporations, this certificate helps the graduates stand out among other applicants who may not have this credential on their resumes. The preparation reinforces the work needed to earn the GED so it is a win-win program. If a student scores at least a silver level WIN certificate, in addition to a couple other requirements, he or she can apply to the state department of education for funding for the actual GED test. This helps most students who cannot afford the cost of taking the actual test.
A major component of the program is the partnership with Foothills Family Resources and the Job Readiness Program. Transition coaches work one-on-one with students as they prepare for graduation. The coaches offer counsel in such relevant areas as money management, job interview preparation, and resume writing. If a student does not have the clothing that would be needed for a job interview, he or she is given appropriate attire from the donated work clothes bank at Foothills Family Resources. On the days students meet with their transition coach, they are required to come dressed as though they were coming for a job interview. Many express pride in their own appearance and the pride is revealed in their bearing in class that day. Additionally, students have received free haircuts from a professional stylist and one student received help with obtaining dental work. She proudly returned to show the teachers and coaches her new smile.
The partnership between Greenville County Schools Lifelong Learning and Foothills Family Resources has been and will continue to be beneficial to not only the students but to the community as a whole. As graduates improve their lives and become productive members of the workforce, the cycle of generational poverty ends and the chance for prosperity is passed on to their children.