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Barton County Academy enrollment opens Monday
Adults can earn high school diplomas
new slt barton academy
Barton County Academy Site Director Becky Gillette shows some of the computers where students will be learning English as a Second Language this fall. The Academy, located at 1010 Taft Street in Great Bend, also allows students age 19 and older to earn a high school diploma. Enrollment begins Monday, Aug. 6. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

It’s never too late to complete a high school diploma or learn to speak English. Barton County Academy will soon be taking fall enrollments for people who are 19 years of age and older and want to earn a high school diploma. Site Director Becky Gillette said the office in Great Bend will begin enrollment on Monday, Aug. 6. The office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until school starts on Aug. 22.
“At this time, our enrollments are done in person,” Gillette said. “We have moved our Academy to 1010 Taft St., just north of 10th Street behind the Fastenal building.”
Adults in Great Bend, Ellinwood and Hoisington can attend classes on a flexible schedule. They will be sponsored by the public school districts in those communities and will earn diplomas from their sponsoring high schools.
“In order to attend the academy for free, a student will need to spend at least 6.5 hours here at the school on two separate days starting on Aug. 22,” Gilette said. After that, they can set a schedule at the academy during the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Fridays.
“Because most of our programs are done online, there is a lot of flexibility as to the time a student puts into the work,” she said. They can come to the academy, where there are computers, two certified instructors and two paraprofessionals, as well as a childcare coordinator and free childcare. Or they can study online at home or at a public library, “wherever they have internet access,” she said.

ESL too
“We also have more traditional classes for those who would like to work on their English.” The English as a Second Language program features face-to-face instruction as well as the Rosetta Stone computer program. While most of the students’ first language is Spanish, Gillette said the academy has also helped students who speak Vietnamese, Cambodian or Chinese.
The Barton County Academy should not be confused with Barton Community College’s Center for Adult Education at 1025 Main St., which offers Adult Basic Education classes and prepares students to take the General Education Development test.
“This is not for GED applicants,” Gillette said.