Impact Georgia Magazine August - Page 5

IMPACT GEORGIA MAGAZINE AUGUST 2019

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Academic Achievements Support Commitment Toward Reentry

Offenders Earn More than 3,000 High School Equivalencies and Diplomas

The Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has achieved another accomplishment in its continuing commitment toward effective offender management and successful reentry. The total number of High School Equivalency Diplomas (HSEDs) and High School Diplomas received by offenders in GDC facilities for fiscal year 2019 (FY19) totaled 3,021.

“Creating pathways for educational success, allows offenders the opportunity to gain the skills needed to reenter society as productive citizens,” said Commissioner Timothy C. Ward. “Upon earning their diplomas, many of our offenders move on to complete a vocational or on-the-job training program in order to become better prepared to reenter the workforce.”

The HSED program provides educational services catered to offenders who did not complete their high school education prior to incarceration. Students must pass tests in four basic subject areas to acquire their HSED: Mathematics, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies. Today, the completion numbers are attributed to several factors, including employing full-time, quality instructors at each facility across the state, the addition of three regional principals and numerous education program specialists, and investing in educational technology to keep students engaged. In addition, instructional technology specialists have joined each region, working to ensure technology is implemented effectively.

In 2015, the GDC began a partnership with Foothills Education Charter High School to offer offenders, under the age of 21, the opportunity to obtain a High School Diploma. The program provides offenders an individualized, self-paced, learning environment that delivers coursework based on mastery learning and is facilitated by accredited teachers. The program began at Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto, Ga. and was expanded in 2016 to Burruss Correctional Training Center in Forsyth, Ga, and the third was established in 2017 at Phillips State Prison in Buford, Ga. Through this partnership, 278 offenders inside of Georgia state prisons have earned a High School Diploma since its inception.

For more information about Foothills Charter High School please visit http://www.foothillscharter.org/.

Video by Kasandra Ortiz| kasandra.ortiz@gdc.ga.gov