The Educational and Vocational Services Department offers offenders learning experiences that can help them change their lives for the better. In addition to our Adult Basic Education program that allows students to work toward their high school credential, we also offer an Advanced Education course and a College Readiness program in which students may learn about how to successfully navigate higher education.
The chapter 452 functional literacy program is offered to all offenders serving a sentence of more than ninety days. The offenders are given the opportunity to take an assessment test to determine individual instructional needs and current levels of performance in order to ensure proper placement in educational programming. Offenders who test below an eighth grade reading level shall participate in educational programming for no less than ninety days. Offenders who refuse to be tested are asked to sign a refusal form to be submitted to the Parole Board. Chapter 452 requires that the Parole Board be notified of those offenders who are and are not in compliance with Chapter 452. Any offender who refuses testing is prohibited from participating in any other educational programming. An offender may request reconsideration for testing at any time during incarceration.
The Adult Basic Education program is offered by staff and qualified volunteers to offenders who, when tested, have not achieved a level necessary for successful High School Equivalency program completion. In this program, more emphasis is spent on attempting to raise the basic mathematics and English skills on an individual basis.
This program is designed to help student offenders gain a facility in reading texts and various printed materials with which they come in contact. Emphasis is placed on developing reading comprehension, vocabulary, and study skills. This program meets the needs of those offenders who want to be in compliance with Chapter 452.
The High School Equivalency program is offered to offenders who wish to receive high school equivalency credential studies while confined in the facility. Success in this program is achieved by daily attendance at formal mathematics and English classes where, depending on the individual's needs, a student is permitted to work at his own speed and level. The high school equivalency examination is administered free of charge to offenders.
The ESL program is offered to offenders who wish to improve their command of the English language. NSO staff and volunteers facilitate this program weekly.
This supplemental course is designed for and targeted toward “the most academically needy” of offenders between the ages of 18-21. Program services include academic, vocational, and self-help groups. The goal of these programs is to assist students in their on-going education endeavors, their ability to find success within those programs, and their future careers
The College Readiness Program is one of the most demanding academic programs available at NSO. It is offered to offenders who are highly motivated and committed to further their education once they are no longer incarcerated. Offenders must have a high school diploma or high school equivalency to participate in the College Readiness Program. All classes offered are on a “pre-college level” that assists in preparing offenders with the academic skills, study skills and confidence to enter college. Classes offered include: reading & writing, math, and college readiness.
The speaking skills taught in this twelve week course teach offenders methods of better communication. They will develop the ability to build stronger personal relationships and a better understanding in the workplace. Students will develop confidence in self when in any negotiation and their personal development will soar.
This eight-week course prepares individuals to make appropriate decisions in managing their personal finances and enhancing their money management skills. This class focuses on learning how to budget money, how to open and maintain a savings and checking account, and how to obtain and analyze credit records.
This education program is an ongoing course for pre-trial offenders that focuses on discussions and media related to contemporary issues.
Eight week course with a focus on short stories, poetry, movies and the interpretation of song lyrics. Topics to be discussed are how music influences society, the meaning behind movies and the role that each character plays in the movie, and short stories and their relevance to our lives.