Not every student makes it through high school. In fact, in New York, only 77 percent of students complete high school according to U.S. Department of Education statistics.
For the 23 percent who do not make it across the stage to collect their diploma, job prospects are often bleak. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that Americans without a high school diploma have a significantly higher unemployment rate than those who have a high school diploma. Even those drop-outs who do find a job face hardships. In 2011, a worker without a high school degree earned an average of $451 weekly compared to $638 per week for those with just a high school diploma.
That's where Capital Region BOCES comes to the rescue. Through its adult education High School Equivalency program, adults 17 years or older receive the education they need to prepare them for The Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC). Two years ago, the TASC replaced the GED as the only free, state-subsidized assessment leading to a New York state High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma.
Currently, eight students are enrolled in the HSE program at the
Schoharie campus — maximum capacity for that campus, said CTE
Schoharie Campus Principal Mindy Iannotti. That is a small
percentage of the 720 adults taking HSE courses are a variety of
locations overseen by Capital
Region BOCES, Adult Education Principal Nancy Jones said.
Jones said the students at the Schoharie campus range in age from 17 to 22 and have varying needs in preparing for the TASC exam and, eventually, a diploma.
The students are prepared for the exam by a Ursula LeGere, a certified teacher.
The curriculum focuses on prepping the students in all five TASC
subjects — reading, writing, social studies, science and math.
Ursula provides classroom instruction, as well as works one-on-one with
overcome their challenges to be able to successfully
pass the TASC exam,"
"Ursula has an excellent success rate! Ninety percent of her students get their high school equivalency and move forward in life to college or careers," Jones said.
Additionally, the adults receive support from guidance counselors, such as Eileen Coffey, the Schoharie campus counselor.
"Eileen works with the families and schools to ensure success for the students," Jones said.
In the photos, teacher Ursula LeGere teaches class at the Schoharie campus.