WESTFIELD-For adults of all ages in the Greater Westfield area who need to pass a high school equivalency test, an anti-poverty educational initiative is offered by Domus Incorporated.
“The Westfield Community Education Program provides free classes that prepare the student to pass their high school equivalency test (HiSET) and go on to higher education and/or find employment at livable wages,” said Kelly E. Pelkey, program coordinator.
An informational session and registration night for 2020 classes is slated Jan. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Westfield Athenaeum. The gathering will take place in the Lang Auditorium.
Pelkey noted that approximately 95% of students reside in Westfield with others from surrounding towns. Students who have participated in the program have ranged in age from 16 to 80.
Instructors cover a variety of subjects including math, social studies, science, English and writing.
“We have eight students that have received their HiSET for 2019 with others in various stages of testing,” said Pelkey. “For 2019, we have served more than 80 students with the free HiSET preparation classes.”
Pelkey added that the program also offers basic and intermediate public computer classes which served 35 students this year. A free computer class was also provided at the Westfield Senior Center.
“All programming is free,” said Pelkey, noting the program does not receive state funding.
“All funding is from grants, local businesses and private donations,” she said. “Our testing success rate stands at 86% consistently.”
Since 2008, Pelkey said of the 249 students who tested, 216 reported back they had received their HiSET.
In 2020, Pelkey said three levels of free HiSET preparation classes are planned at two sessions – in the spring and fall – as well as several computer classes.
“Classes are conducted Mondays and Wednesdays for the HiSET prep from 4 – 6 p.m. and 6 – 8 p.m., and the computer classes are typically Thursday evenings from 5 – 7,” said Pelkey.
Current HiSET instructors are Mark Styspeck and Teresa Wilson, while Jane Toomey serves as computer instructor.
“If you are interested, or you know someone that needs their high school equivalency credential, or would like to sign up for our computer classes, call (413) 564-8340,” said Pelkey.