“My goal is to be a good mother to my children and have them see that it is never too late to study,” said Florencia Ibarra, one of three students who earned her high school diploma from Briya this June.
Ibarra, a mother of four from Mexico, started as a student in the Intermediate II class of Briya’s Family Literacy Program seven years ago. She has since improved her English enough to move to the Advanced I class and then to Advanced II, in which students are eligible to enter Briya’s National External Diploma Progam (NEDP).
The NEDP is an adult high school diploma program in which students work one-on-one with an adviser to demonstrate competency in a variety of areas. The program is performance based rather than test based, and the educational content is designed to be relevant to the life experience of adults.
The program provides students with the flexibility to work at their own pace and on their own schedule. This is significant for Briya students, who often have to balance raising children, working and attending class, among other responsibilities.
“Briya is a school that understands us as adults, parents, and students,” said Guadalupe Martinez, another 2015 graduate. “NEDP is not only at the school—I can also work at home. And the teachers support and help me when I need it.”
Earning a high school diploma from the United States helps open up many career and educational possibilities. The third 2015 Briya NEDP graduate, Wendy Evora, is continuing her education as a student in Briya’s Medical Assistant Program. Ibarra and Martinez both hope to get jobs working in an office.
All three 2015 graduates said they would encourage other immigrant parents to consider entering Briya’s program and earn their diploma.
“I would say to people that are looking for success that they will find help at Briya,” Evora said. “No matter what they are facing in life, the Briya teachers and staff are always there to help.”
“I think the most important thing is perseverance,” Ibarra said. “Nothing is impossible. I hope this helps others be confident and think that if somebody else can do it, they can too.”
Briya has been offering the NEDP—which is sponsored nationally by Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment Systems (CASAS) and locally by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)—since the 2010-2011 school year. Sixteen students have graduated from Briya’s program so far, and ten students are currently enrolled.