McNary first in district to offer on-site GED
November 17, 2016 By:Hunter Watson
By Cindy Jimenez
Starting second semester, McNary High School will be the first high school in the Salem-Keizer school district to have a general equivalency diploma (GED) program on campus specifically for seniors that have very few credits toward graduation.
The GED program will give students another option to finish school. As of early November, McNary High School had 28 students that were considered dropouts.
“Our goal is to get to zero, and the way to do that is to make sure the know that we are going to do whatever it takes to help them be successful,” said McNary High School Principal Mr. Erik Jespersen.
This program is being funded by McNary’s general fund. “We are committed to allocating our resources to pay for the teachers and technology necessary to help get this program off the ground,” Jespersen said. “Once we determine which students are interested in the program and are a good fit, their entire schedule will be changed to allow them to focus on earning that GED.”
The GED test will cover reading, writing, math, science and social studies. When students have successfully completed all of the online modules, they will be given a practice test, which is just like the GED test. If they pass it they will be dropped from McNary High School, which in turn will notify the downtown learning center that the student is ready for the test.
Math teacher Mr. William Bond will be teaching the GED program full time beginning second semester, and English teacher Mrs. Patricia Farris will also be teaching the program for two periods.
Bond believes that this is a great opportunity for students and gives him job satisfaction. “I guess that this is what I’m made of. I love helping people that want to be helped,” Bond said.
Taking people in and giving them a second chance is what he’s used to doing. Bond has nine kids: five that he has adopted, three of his own, and one stepson.
According to Bond, he loves seeing his students succeed and thinks the GED program is an awesome opportunity.
“I’m pumped up about it. I’m excited. I’m excited to see any student graduate. When you get those kind of rewards from students it feels good knowing you’ve accomplished something in your life,” Bond said.
According to Bond, he got the news mid-October, and he has experience with teaching a GED program. “Although I’ve done this before, it has changed, I did it for 19 years in Florida,” Bond said.
Bond said this gives students an opportunity to graduate from high school and have an easier time getting a job with a higher wage.
“Rather than not coming to school and not getting an education, a GED is a good alternative,” Bond said.
Mrs. Patricia Faris thinks the program is a great opportunity for students falling short on credits.
“I’m excited to be a part of this new venture,” Faris said .
It is the duty of McNary graduation coach Ms. Aloha Yoshinaga to go to the doors of these 28 students and try to get them re-engaged in school. The GED program will be another tool she can offer students to help them stay in school and earn a diploma.
“I’m hopeful that we will see more people graduate,” Yoshinaga said.