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Earning a high school diploma is the first step to a brighter future

by Carol Pitts last modified May 20, 2022 09:58 AM
Smoky Hill Education Service Center's Lori Hamilton and KDOC educators support and mentor residents as they work to complete education goals.

A high school diploma is the gateway to employment and admittance to college and career education programs, yet it is not all that uncommon for individuals to come to the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) without completing high school.

KDOC offers the opportunity to earn the credits necessary for a diploma, and so far this year, at the end of the third quarter, a total of 39 KDOC residents will earn their Kansas High School diploma.

There are many staff members who assist in this important education program. Through the leadership of Lori Hamilton, Smoky Hill Education Service Center education coordinator for the KDOC project, the planning process has changed to bring about earlier identification of individuals who are near the credits needed to earn their high school diploma. Additional focus is also being placed on providing services for those who might need special education or Title I support.

Hamilton was recently honored (pictured at left with Holly Chavez, facilities services administrator for Topeka Correctional Facility) for her work with exceptional learners throughout KDOC.

Hamilton has also been invited to provide advice and guidance on a national level to the Correctional Education Association’s State Council of Directors on working with incarcerated special education populations.

“The entire team at Smoky Hill ESC are excellent partners for both our juvenile and adult education programs,” said Kansas Secretary of Corrections Jeff Zmuda. “The department’s strategic plan, Pathway for Success, emphasizes creating opportunities for our residents to be successful.  I am excited to see how our partnership can continue to flourish into the future.”

Another path for completing a high school education is through the GED program, offered throughout KDOC facilities.

“It is never too late to obtain this goal, and KDOC has staff and mentors who help our residents along their journey,” Zmuda said.

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