Troy Adult Education programs given an A

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 30, 2003

A program designed to help those people who had problems with school is itself making top-notch grades.

The Troy adult education program run by Ann Ammons may be up in the air with regards to state level bureaucracy, but the consistently high marks given to the program help ensure that the program isn't going anywhere.

"We were under the Troy City Schools, but now we're being folded into post-secondary schools and Enterprise State Junior College," Ammons said.

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Either way, the program has been commended by the state for the second consecutive year and was given an "A minus" for its excellence in getting adults to make progress towards getting a GED.

"We an opportunity for those people who drop out of high school and don't finish to come back and get a second chance," Ammons said. "Many jobs now require employees to have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent and that's why we are increasing enrollment every day."

The State Board of Education backs up the fact that the program is working. According to the adult education report card issued annually by the state, the was given top ratings in each of the grade levels offered.

"We have students from 16 to 80-years old," Ammons said. "And we teach all levels of experience."

The adult education center, which covers Pike and Crenshaw Counties, offers classes in GED preparation, English literacy and workplace literacy. According to state numbers, 19 percent of Pike County residents over the age of 16 have attended the 9th to 12th grade but have not received a diploma. Sixteen percent of Pike County residents have less than a 9th grade education and 29 percent are at a Literacy Level of 1, which means they have difficulty with everyday reading, writing and math skills.

"We feel like we have great people in the adult basic program," said Hank Jones, Superintendent of Troy City Schools. "Ann Ammons and the folks working with her have done a fine job. We feel like we're one of the best programs in the state."

However, Troy City won't be managing the program for long.

"We're turning it over to Enterprise State at the end of the year," Jones said. "We're not sure if it will bring a few or a lot of changes."

According to Ammons, the program operates from a series of grants.

"We have a basic federal education grant and we get $40,000 through the career center to teach basic skills. We also have a $20,000 technology grant to help us pay for computers and software," she said.

The good grades awarded by the state could lead to additional funding, Ammons said, and help keep the costs of the program free for those seeking to improve themselves.

"It's free for people who want to learn. We even provide pencil and paper," she said. "They will need to pay the fee to actually take the GED, but beyond that, we have it covered. They just have to want to learn."

That desire is present in most, but not all students, Ammons said.

"Some of our classes stay full, so if we see somebody that isn't trying or doesn't care, we tell them to move on and make room for those who do want to try. We say they should come back to see us when they are ready to be serious about it and take the classes for the right reasons. Our slots are valuable."

Applicants must attend 12 hours of instruction before they are officially enrolled in the class and may attend any class at any location for as many hours as they are able. Classes are offered in both Pike and Crenshaw Counties and are taught by a team of experienced and certified teachers.

Ammons said the success stories make the effort worthwhile.

"We've had several people take advantage of this second chance and go on to Troy State and do really well at the college level," she said.

Such stories combine with the favorable ranking from the state to create a program that the entire state can be proud of, Ammons said.

"We've got a dropout recovery program that is unique in the entire state and that's because the superintendents have really supported us," she said. "The schools let us know when a student drops out and even if we don't convince them immediately -- because many of them have just had their fill of school -- by touching base with them, we can let them know that we're here and can help them out if they run into some problems in the real world or work force without a high school degree."

Whatever the future of the adult education program, the state's ratings show that it's making a big impact of the lives of the people taking the classes.

"We're proud of the program," Jones said, "When we turn it over to Enterprise State, we want to work with them to ensure that the people of Pike County are going to receive the services they need."

Stephen Stetson can be reached at