In March of 2020, Sandhills Community College’s College and Career Readiness (CCR) program implemented a paper-based curriculum called “High School Equivalency in the Community” to a handful of students who were unable to attend classes in person or participate in online courses.
Typical barriers some students face include not having access to the internet, a lack of basic digital literacy skills, unreliable transportation, childcare concerns, and changing work schedules.
HSE in the Community is made up of 19 paper packet lessons the student completes at home and mails to the instructor for grading and feedback. A dedicated instructor is on call to offer support, answer questions, and provide supplementary material as needed. Though the program is self-paced, students are expected to complete at least one packet per week.
“It allows us to reach students who, otherwise, would be unable to work on their high school equivalency diploma,” says Nicole Worley, director of the CCR program at SCC. “It resembles correspondence courses of yesteryear, but HSE in the Community has generated very positive feedback, and we recently had our first graduate, Thad Cagle.”
“At first I was a little concerned about how I was going to accomplish my goals with COVID going on, but with the help of my teacher, it was pretty easy,” Cagle shared. “I would also like to say that Mrs. Kubla is one of the best teachers I have ever had. She never gave up on me, she encouraged me to push hard and kept me motivated to complete everything I needed to complete the course,” Cagle said. Cagle plans to continue his studies at Sandhills and enroll in SCC’s Continuing Education Emergency Medical Training program and then earn a degree in the Emergency Medical Sciences curriculum program.
Jan Kubla joined the CCR department in January after retiring from a career in teaching high school biology. “I think she wondered what she was getting herself into when she joined our team,” Worley stated. “I promised it would be something ‘outside the box.’”
HSE for Inmates
Kubla has expanded her HSE in the Community program to include the local Moore County Detention Center and has recently recognized the very first high school equivalency graduate from the Detention Center.
The female inmate dedicated herself to complete the assignments and the series of exams. “I never imagined teaching students while they were in jail,” said Kubla. “This program has provided a unique way to reach the students who really need to make a positive change in their lives. We are so proud of her.”
With the assistance of the jail’s new educational navigator, paper packets and Zoom sessions are provided on a weekly basis to offenders who wish to earn their high school equivalency diploma.
Feature photo by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer John Patota.