Night classes, which can be crucial for a student who works full-time, are now in session at Ardmore Family Literacy.
AFL, a local program dedicated to helping adults earn high school equivalency diplomas, received a three-year grant from the state Department of Career and Technology Education this year after partnering with Murray State College. AFL Executive Director Leslie Kutz said the grant made it possible to hire two more instructors and offer night and morning classes.
“It’s something we wanted to do for years, and from a budget standpoint we could not do it without those funds from the career tech,” Kutz said.
Classes started in February and last from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Kutz said the course mostly consists of students who are employed, but want to earn their GED.
“Several of them have good jobs already, but they know they cannot move up because they don’t have their GED,” Kutz said. “It’s a must for them.”
 The night class serves seven students, while day classes have more, but Kutz said nighttime students have been noticeably dedicated.
“It’s interesting because of the consistency in attendance,” Kutz said. “Everybody has been here every time.”
Kutz said during day classes, it’s not uncommon for things to come up that pull students out of class. Having to work, pick a child up from school, go to the doctor or other interruptions are all common.
“In the evening, they’re off work and they’re here,” Kutz said.
The night course has two teachers who work side-by-side to teach language, social studies, science and math, a unique approach with unintended benefits.
“It’s working really well,” Kutz said. “If one is teaching, the other can go around and work with them.”
Kutz said having two teachers in the room has been unexpectedly helpful when students are progressing at different rates. Teachers can coordinate, split the room and help students with different material.
“That other teacher is going to be able to step in with the students who are more advanced and keep advancing them while the teacher is still working with the others,” Kutz said.
The night classes add a new challenge, as night students still require the same guidance counseling that day students do. Kutz said she serves as a guidance counselor in most cases, which makes her days longer.
“They’ve taken the time to come in here, so you want them to believe it’s possible to get things,” Kutz said.
 The current semester will conclude in May and summer classes will begin in June.
“I kind of think the evening classes may be the way to go in the summer, and maybe not morning classes,” Kutz said. “But if people need daytime, we would do daytime too.”
In addition to the funding, the grant included access to assessments meant to track student progress, called TABE testing, and data tools to analyze the results. Kutz said since September, 20 students reached 100 class hours or more. Of those 20 students, 19 of them have improved in one or more subjects, and 13 have graduated.
“They are impressive stats,” Kutz said. “I was really pleased.”
Kutz said some graduates of the program come back to class just to keep learning, and one former student, currently enrolled in Murray State College through the University Center of Southern Oklahoma, comes back to brush up on core subjects.
“We want them to learn whatever it is they need to learn,” Kutz said. “That’s what we’re here for.”