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Senior Sleuth: Adult ed program begins at Castle Rock

Castle Rock Charter School has a new adult education program called Del Norte Diploma Now!, and 31 students have already enrolled.

Are you 19 or older and live in Del Norte County?  Do you need to earn your high school diploma? Castle Rock’s free independent study program, with one-on-one instruction, is flexible enough to fit most schedules. Also, you can meet at a convenient location, to be arranged between you and your instructor.

To find out about the program, contact the Del Norte Workforce Center, 464-8347, 286 M St., or Castle Rock Charter School, 464-0390, 1260 Glenn St.

Castle Rock’s former adult ed program, which began when the school opened in 2001, was terminated in 2006 when the state cut off funds to charter schools for adult education. Still, that earlier program was tremendously successful, and it is expected that the new program will be also.

The current program is funded by WIA, the Workforce Investment Act. Castle Rock’s former principal, Jeff Napier, who just took over as the Del Norte Unified School District’s assistant superintendent of business services, went to a conference where he heard about the program. He then worked with the Del Norte Workforce Center to get it adopted.  

The new interim principal at Castle Rock, Suzie Dooley, helped start the charter school in 2001, at which time the adult education program was in effect.

“It was surprising before when we started the program, how many people in Del Norte County had not gotten their high school diploma,” she said. “Back in the day, one could make more money in the lumber or fishing industry than would be possible with a college degree.” 

Dooley said that being part of the adult ed program back in 2001–2006, was one of the most exciting things she’s done.

“It changed family’s lives.  They were able to get jobs.  People felt good about themselves again.”

One of the graduates was 78.

Dooley has been in education for 30 years. During the past five years, she was an administrator and was traveling. She’s happy now to be back at Castle Rock.

“We’re so thankful we have the Workforce Center to work with because otherwise we wouldn’t have this program,” she said. “This wouldn’t be happening for people because the state wouldn’t allow it.  We need the avenue of going through the Workforce Center, which allows the students to enter the charter school.  We have to have that as our entry point because of the Workforce Investment Act.  That’s what opened the doors to all this.”

The adult ed program prepares students to pass the high school exit exam, the CAHSEE, and to earn 210 high school credits. It has the same requirements as Del Norte High School and Sunset High School, except students are not required to take 10 units of geometry.

According to Dooley, “One of the biggest things we do is research every high school credit from every high school the students have attended.”

And in addition to the one-on-one individualized instruction, there is a math lab, taught by a college graduate from Santa Barbara. The school may also initiate an English lab.

In order to enroll as a Del Norte Diploma Now! student, you need to apply at the Del Norte Workforce Center at 286 M St., Crescent City.  It is  in the west end of the building, which it shares with Rural Human Services. Hundreds of people visit the Workforce Center every month to seek jobs, get job training and counseling, get unemployment benefits, etc.

Tim Hoone, director of the Del Norte Workforce Center, said anyone who walks in is eligible for the free monthly three-week job skills class, taught by Teresa Zwan.  There are 10-12 students in each class, and three-quarters of them normally get jobs.  The computer lab is open Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to noon, and 1-5 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to noon, for additional help with writing  resumes, etc.

Hoone said that at any given time there are approximately 30 jobs available on the website that the Workforce Center shares with Rural Human Services, ruralhumanservices.org. He would like to invite businesses to advertise openings free, and to get help in preparing ads for the Triplicate.

Senior Sleuth runs every two weeks. Reach Joan Miles at 464-2729 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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