Goliad to offer education program for adults

March 6, 2013 at 8:01 p.m.
Updated March 5, 2013 at 9:06 p.m.

GOLIAD - The principal of Goliad High School wants his students to excel.

So he is reaching out to their parents to come back to high school, too, said Principal Emilio Vargas.

"One of the things we have realized is many of the students who struggle in education come from backgrounds where education has been difficult for the family, and the family has not been involved in continuing education for whatever reason," Vargas said.

So Vargas teamed up with De Helmer, director of instructional technology for Goliad ISD, and Pam Hailey, director of Pride Academy, to create an adult continuing education program at Pride Academy on the Goliad High School campus.

Residents of Goliad County can apply to and join the program, Successfully Provide Adults Resources and Knowledge (SPARK) for free, Vargas said, and complete their high school diploma.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, Hailey said, and students over the age of 21 will learn on the district's $35,000 program, Odysseyware, which offers classes in all of the core subjects and multiple electives, such as foreign languages.

SPARK has been approved by the Texas Education Agency.

"The beauty of the program and why we believe it is more effective than a GED is we can start wherever that individual left off. With TEA archival records, we can find out what year you should have graduated and we would use that degree program," Vargas explained.

Hailey and Helmer also will offer mini courses, which will have a fee, on practical skills such as resume building and technology classes.

The program is funded through the school district and area donations, Vargas said. The district is already applying for additional grants to expand the program, which will start at the end of March.

Phase 2 of the program, which starts in June is to help adults start or finish college, by offering the school's facilities for taking online courses and providing counselors to help apply for financial aid and admission, the principal said.

Vargas said he hopes getting adults involved in education will not only improve the community, but also help young high school students succeed, when they see their parents pursuing their degree.

"In our school district, we aren't just educating students. We are educating future citizens, and we very much need our citizens to be educated. It is the cornerstone of democracy," Vargas said.



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