PARKERSBURG - Wood County Schools Adult Basic Education program offers a variety of programs, from GED preparation to community education classes.
Program coordinator Linda McClead spoke Monday to the Parkersburg Rotary Club, giving an overview of the program, its offerings and its needs. The Rotary Club is a Partner in Education with the adult education program.
The program has 621 students enrolled - 478 in daytime classes and 135 in evening classes, she said. The program also serves eight students in its English as a Second Language (ESL) course.
Photo by Michael Erb
Wood County Schools Adult Basic Education Program Coordinator Linda McClead spoke Monday to the Parkersburg Rotary Club, giving an overview of the program, its offerings and its needs.
McClead said the program is best known for helping students study for and take the GED exam. Last year, 268 students took the GED exam through the program, and 187, about 70 percent, passed and received their GED. McClead said the number is made more impressive by a recent study that concluded about 44 percent of adults who have a high school diploma would be unable to pass the current GED exam.
McClead said the county also leads the state in GED testing.
"Wood County tested more people than any other county in the state," she said, adding the local program often serves people from outside of the county.
That may change, she said, as the exam goes electronic. Currently West Virginia covers the cost of the pencil and paper exam, about $50 a student, but when the test goes electronic at the end of 2013, the cost will more than double, and state officials have yet to say whether they will continue to subsidize the program.
For those seeking their GED, the cost will be another barrier, she said. Often those in need of a GED struggle to complete the program due to transportation or childcare issues, time and finances and even physical and learning disabilities.
Even so, McClead said the success stories are inspirational.
"This is a very rewarding job," she said. "We encourage our students not to look at (getting a GED) as the end. We encourage them to look at it as a stepping stone."
The program will hold its GED graduation program at 7 p.m. May 28, 2013, at West Virginia University at Parkersburg. McClead said often multiple family members will achieve their GEDs at the same time.
"It may have been a mother or father encouraging their 19- or 20-year-old child to get their GED and they end up staying to complete their own," McClead said.
The program also offers classes outside of GED. Those offerings range from computer literacy to medical technology classes to lifestyle skills. Some classes have fees that apply, but McClead said a variety of state and local agencies often offer financial aid for programs.
For more information, visit wcvt.wood.tec.wv.us/ or call 1-304-420-9508.