Credit: Northwest Mississippi Community College information
Photo: Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Adult Education team in Senatobia are (L-R) Adult Education Director Jennifer Williams, Lead Instructor Lauren Carlini, College and Career Navigator Ashton Smith, Data Manager Brittany Simmerman, and MIBEST Navigator Elizabeth Kairit. (Photo by Alyssa Pirani)
Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Adult Education program celebrated their 1,000th student enrolling in the 2022-2023 academic year. The program has been on an upward trajectory for the past few years with higher enrollment and graduation rates.
Northwest’s Adult Education program is funded by the State of Mississippi and AccelerateMS grants, which help by making classes available for free for all students in seven locations– Senatobia, Batesville, Bruce, Oxford, Byhalia, Hernando and Southaven.
Grants like the Dollar General Literacy Foundation grant help pay for student testing so that students struggling financially can take those tests without any financial burden.
Brittany Simmerman, data manager for Adult Education, reported that the graduation rate improved from 205 in 2020-2021 to 277 in 2022-2023.
The Adult Education team attributed caring and showing up for students as their key to success and excellence.
“It’s about how you talk to them,” Simmerman said.
Northwest’s Director of Adult Education, Jennifer Williams, said that the power of a phone call telling them that they’re missed can often be a determining factor of the students’ success and retention. Williams explained that they care about these students beyond just their time at adult ed, but also helping them transition into their careers.
“We really want them to transition to Northwest,” Williams said.
Williams said that College and Career Navigator Ashton Smith takes students on tours, helps introduce them to faculty, and helps them prepare for college life, that for some, they may not have even thought was possible before.
“We’re a clean slate,” said Lauren Carlini, lead teacher for Adult Education.
Carlini explained that many students have a variety of backgrounds and challenges to overcome, sometimes making it difficult for them to focus on the task at hand of getting their High School Equivalency (HSE). But at Northwest, they get to leave that behind and it doesn’t matter what’s happened in their past; this is a chance for them to make a difference in their futures.
If you would like to enroll in the Adult Education program or learn more about it, please check out the website at https://www.northwestms.edu/programs/adult-education.