The Pima County Adult Probation Department's literacy program awarded 30 students with GEDs this week.

They are among 2,100 people who have earned their General Educational Development diplomas through the department's program, called LEARN, which stands for Literacy, Education And Research Network.

The program reached its 25th anniversary this year, and Deborah Tinajero, the program manager for LEARN, said it has helped educate more than 10,000 people through GED courses, and teaching English and other life skills.

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While it's operated through the Adult Probation Department, one doesn't have to be on probation to participate, she said.

"The few requirements we have are that the individual be 18 years or older. They do not have to be on probation, and that works for some who are on probation who want to bring a sibling, or a spouse, or a parent along, so we do take students from the community," Tinajero said.

graduates in cap and gown thumb

Students gather at the completion of their education.

Every student who goes through the GED program begins with education at the individual skill level.

"We don't have traditional classes," she said. "We tailor what we do in independent study, and we work in a one-on-one setting with them to help them progress through the program."

The program works for people who have not succeeded in traditional schooling, or who need a different approach, she said.

“Much of what they do is on one of the computer programs we have, and we also offer and encourage them to use independent study time, which is out of books," Tinajero said. "We have lessons that are planned and written down by the teacher based on the testing experience."

The 30 people who graduated this week finished their GEDs in the last year, Tinajero said. The program holds one graduation ceremony each year for everyone who reaches that achievement.

The LEARN literacy and GED program is one of several educational opportunities Pima County Adult Probation offers. More information is available at the probation office's number, 290-1535