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Academic programming within the Ohio Central School System (OCSS) consists of two high school programs which are chartered, recognized and funded by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). The curriculum provided is consistent with the graduation requirements established by ODE under ORC 3301.07 and 3313.60. Any inmate within the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is eligible to pursue a high school diploma through the high school options program or through the regular high school program at London Correctional Institution. Additionally, high school options are provided through the high schools in the communities where the inmates attended.
Additionally, General Educational Development (GED) instruction is offered in all of the 32 prisons in Ohio. Students are instructed in reading, math, writing and language skills. Upon completion of the requirements, the inmate is eligible to take the GED and, if passed, he/she is encouraged to transition to Career Technical Training, Advanced Job Training or Apprenticeship for further skill development so that reentry into the workforce becomes more attainable upon release.
For those students who are not ready for GED training, Pre-GED and ABE training are available. The ABE program targets those inmates who read below a literacy level. They are provided with intensive reading instruction as well as math, writing and language in order to increase their skills to a point where they can advance to the Pre-GED and GED levels. Pre-GED is further instruction to enhance reading, math and language so that the inmates can eventually take and pass the GED.
With few exceptions literacy units are provided at each institution for those inmates who are functionally illiterate. Programming is provided in the living unit where both the inmates needing instruction and their tutors are housed. Over the course of a day 60 inmates are provided one-on-one instruction by 30 tutors under the direction of a literacy teacher. The tutors are trained in a variety of methods as a part of the ProLiteracy America training program to complement the instruction of the literacy teacher. The instructional focus of this program is on basic skills in both reading and writing.
Throughout the school system, Special Education services are provided for those inmates who have special needs as defined by Special Education Law, IDEA 2004. Inmates who come into DRC with active or inactive Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) are served immediately in an education program which meets the student’s needs. Additionally, a student can be referred by DRC staff, by teachers, or by him/herself for special education testing and possibly educational services as part of Child Find. Special Education teachers are provided for such services.
PowerPath for Education and Employment is also provided for those students with special needs who may not fall under IDEA 2004. Testing followed by accommodations for the hearing impaired, visually impaired, visual stress syndrome and attention difficulties gives the student a chance to succeed in the classroom when he/she may not have had the opportunity to do so in the past. If accommodations are necessary as identified by the PowerPath testing, an action plan is developed for and with the student so that he/she is aware of what is needed for success.
For those students who are under the age of 21 and who are in need of supplemental services, Title One is available. In the areas of reading, math, and language, classes of ten students receive supplemental instruction given by a Title One teacher to what is being taught in the regular classroom. This instruction is provided through federal funds in order to help students overcome deficiencies in learning.
Additionally, throughout education programming, character education development is offered. The purpose of the Character Education curriculum is to provide the students with the necessary social and emotional skills to succeed in their daily lives both in and out of the correctional setting. Since successful reentry into society is a goal of education, this curriculum provides the essential transitional skills necessary to meet this goal.