Library offers options to complete high school education

Mesa County Libraries now offer two options for Mesa County residents to complete their high school education: a GED preparation program and Career Online High School.

Enrollment is under way for a new preparation program for students who want to earn their General Education Diploma. Assessments are set for Dec. 10 and 11 for enrollment in classes starting in January. Students who complete the Career Online High School program receive a high school diploma.

“Mesa County Libraries are thrilled to offer two options for community residents who need to complete their high school education,” said James Price, head of literacy services for Mesa County Libraries. “According to census data, about 10 percent of adults in Mesa County do not have a high school diploma or its equivalent. We urge interested residents to take advantage of these programs through the library.”

Both programs are offered to local residents at no charge, although GED students are responsible for fees associated with subject tests at the end of instruction.

Mesa County Libraries offers the GED preparation program through an Adult Education and Family Literacy Act grant. The grant funds the program at a level of $100,000 per year, which has enabled the library to hire three part-time instructors and provide instructional materials.

GED classes are offered mornings and evenings at the central library in Grand Junction. The classes focus on one section of the GED exam at a time: reading, social studies, science and mathematical reasoning. Classes remain small — up to 12 students — so each student has an opportunity to receive individual attention. Prospective GED students take an assessment that helps instructors determine students’ skill levels. Students then fill out some basic paperwork and are asked to commit to attending GED classes for six hours a week.

There’s no time limit to complete a GED, but new students are asked to remain in the program for at least four months.

The Career Online High School offered through Mesa County Libraries provides a self-paced high school program that offers students the opportunity to earn a diploma from an accredited high school and career certification in one of eight fields.

Prospective COHS students must have access to a computer to take classes online. Students also must complete a self-assessment, prerequisite course and in-person interview to enroll.

Once they’re admitted to the program, students have 18 months to complete the coursework required for graduation. They work at their own pace. An academic coach is available for assistance by phone and email.

Mesa County residents interested in completing high school education through either the GED or COHS options should call the Mesa County Libraries Literacy Center at 683-2443. Center staff can help students decide which option is best for their particular situation. Prospective students must be 16 years of age or older, residents of Mesa County and have a library card from Mesa County Libraries.