The current state of high school graduation

According to the Tennessee Department of Education, nearly 90% of all high school students graduated on time in the 2021-2022 school year. While that number is quite large, that still leaves a decent number of students without a high school diploma. This, however, does not mean there aren’t opportunities for these individuals.

What is the current graduation rate in Memphis?

When it comes to Memphis and Shelby County schools in particular, graduation rates are below the state average at 80.1%. While that rate is significant, what happens to the other nearly 20% of students that don’t make it to the end with their high school diploma? The traditional route of high school to college to career isn’t a right fit for everyone. Some students need to work to support their famililes, others might need to take a break from school to raise children. Adult education courses can help people who didn’t graduate on a traditional high school timeline earn their degree at a later time that works for them.

What is adult education?

Adult education comprises anything that helps someone build the skills and knowledge necessary for earning a high school equivalency diploma, and employment and financial stability. Whether you want to take the HiSET test — which helps you earn a degree similar to a high school diploma — or need help learning how to read and communicate more effectively in English, adult education is a great option for you. Nonprofits like HopeWorks can help you through every step of the process.

How can HopeWorks’ programs help you?

When it comes to adult education in particular, there are two main courses that HopeWorks offers. First is the HiSET, which is similar to the GED. Here’s what you can expect. At the beginning, you’ll attend an orientation where our staff will give you some more information about HopeWorks and help you set up a class schedule that works best for you. After that, we’ll need to see where your strengths are and what areas you need some extra help in through an online assessment. This test isn’t something you need to prepare for – we simply want to see what information you already know. Lastly, you’ll start your classes. HopeWorks has a great team of teachers at sites across the city who are ready to help you prepare in all the areas you need to be able to pass your HiSET exam. 

A second route you can take at HopeWorks is Adult English as a Second Language classes. While you might have the skills, knowledge and training needed to enter into the career field, not knowing or feeling confident in your ability to speak the language of your community can be a major barrier. Our Adult English as a Second Language course can help you become more confident in reading, writing and speaking in English. In addition to helping you better your English skills, students in the program can also take our Career Connections course. This helps our students with everything from resume and cover letter creation to learning more about professionalism and the American workplace.

Through education, counseling and career development, HopeWorks’ mission is to give all Memphians a chance at building a great future for themselves and their families. While around 80% of high school students last school year graduated, adult education courses like those offered by HopeWorks aim to make sure the other 20% who don’t get their diploma still have a bright future. Are you ready to start your journey? Give us a call today!