From education to employment

Giving the Gift of Literacy: Gale and San Diego Public Library Rollout Adult High School Diploma Program


As the season of giving kicks into high gear, adults in and around San Diego now have the opportunity to earn their high school diploma through their local public library. The San Diego Public Library (SDPL) has launched Gale Presents: Excel Adult High School, an accredited online diploma completion program from Gale, part of Cengage Group. This program is designed to help busy adults earn their high school diploma online at their own pace and convenience. SDPL already has two students who have graduated from the program and 10 more who are enrolled with scholarships.

According to U.S. Census Bureau, 10% of adults in the city of San Diego, age 25 or older don’t have a high school diploma. Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that high school graduates earn 25% more than those with no diploma.

SDPL invested in Excel Adult High School to support its commitment to lifelong learning and to offer workforce development programs that help foster economic growth within its communities.

“The San Diego Public Library is dedicated to supporting and empowering residents in their lifelong learning endeavors,” said Misty Jones, Library Director at the San Diego Public Library. “Gale Presents: Excel Adult High School opens up another dimension of services that complements our existing online offerings, such as our online tutoring services. The program’s flexible format allows adult learners to continue their education while balancing the responsibilities of family and work in an increasingly digital world. The program’s success exemplifies that it’s never too late for people to achieve their educational goals and dreams.”

Excel Adult High School is now available at SDPL’s 36 branch locations to qualified adults (19 or older) who are looking to advance their careers, prepare for workforce entry or continue their education. 10 scholarships are currently available and while there is no cost to students to join, enrollment is limited and requires a library card.

The First Graduate

SDPL recently celebrated its first Excel Adult High School graduate, who earned her diploma at her own pace, with support from success coaches and tutors. “I’ve wanted to pursue the completion of my diploma for a long time, and it has always hung heavy over my head,” said Sam S. “I am very grateful for this program, and the fact that I could do it anytime, at my own pace was huge. Some days I could knock out eight hours of studying and some days it was just 30 minutes. It was a perfect fit for me and my current life.”

Sam has decided that high school is only the beginning of her educational journey. “I actually am going to focus on finishing my bachelor’s degree now that I have my diploma and continue my career in education,” she said.

A Second Chance

Harley C., a student currently enrolled in the program is excited at another opportunity to get his high school diploma and is committed to making it happen this time. “Gale Excel Adult High School is a second chance at a first mistake,” he said. “I really want this diploma. I’ve put it off far too long and I am ready to make this my first priority above all other responsibilities.”

To serve San Diego’s Spanish-speaking population of nearly half a million, Excel Adult High School has English language learner (ELL) tools built into each course. It provides side-by-side translation to many languages, as well as a built-in audio reader to help students who need comprehension assistance.

“In today’s competitive workforce, and at a time when uncertainty is the norm for so many, a high school degree is essential for financial health and career advancement,” said Shawn Clark, senior vice president of Gale’s domestic learning business. “San Diego Public Library’s commitment to lifelong learning, along with their partnerships with workforce development centers, city colleges, and Gale, are giving families and communities a better economic foundation for career success. Gale is thrilled to be a part of this journey that will surely change lives.”

Once accepted and enrolled, students have up to 24 months to finish the program. It can be completed even sooner by transferring previously earned high school, GED®, HiSET® or TASC credits. After completing the program, students earn an accredited high school diploma (not an equivalency).

Gale Presents: Excel Adult High School provides:

  • 21.5-credit curriculum aligned to national standards.
  • 24/7 online access to self-paced classes on intuitive platform.
  • live, unlimited one-on-one tutoring and ongoing support from success coaches.
  • courses with built-in tools for ELL. Non-native English speakers have access to course translations in 135 languages.
  •  more than 100 core academic, elective and college-level courses to select from.
  • opportunity to earn up to 21 free college credits through ACE (American Council on Education) courses.
  • Counseling team to assist with course selection, college planning or career guidance.

San Diego residents interested in learning more about the program can visit here.

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