Dr. Howard Liebman, CEO and Superintendent of Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE), is pleased to announce the first SHCOE graduate at the Lowell Annex Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida.

Established in 2010, SHCOE is the world’s first AdvancED/SACS accredited online school district, offering students the opportunity to earn an 18-credit high school diploma and credentialed career certificate in one, comprehensive online program. The Florida Department of Corrections named SHCOE as an official provider of online education for inmates in Florida prison facilities in February of 2012. Pilot programs went live at the Madison Correctional Institution in April of 2012 and at the Lowell Annex, a women’s facility, in May. These programs are the first online secondary education programs at any correctional facility in the United States.

“From the time we received our AdvancED/SACS accreditation in February of 2011, we had this goal of serving inmates in correctional facilities,” said Dr. Liebman. “We held ceremonies for our first graduates at the Madison facility in November of 2012, and now we’ve reached another milestone with our first graduate at Lowell. I believe our innovative online high school program, specifically designed for correctional institutions, offers an effective approach to lowering recidivism and preparing inmates to rejoin society in a productive manner. SHCOE is on a path to becoming the leading provider of online secondary education and career training for corrections facilities across the United States.”

The Lowell graduate, whose first name is Glenda, began her SHCOE coursework in mid-2012 and completed her studies last month, earning both her high school diploma and a credentialed career certificate in Office Management.

“I liked being able to read the material as it was being read to me and taking notes on the material as needed,” Glenda said. “It was easier to learn the information from the computer because I could go at my own pace and did not have to move along with a group like in a traditional high school class. When I was in high school before, I disliked history, but l enjoyed learning it through the Smart Horizons Career Online Education program. The online high school program is very well-designed.”

Glenda has two children and she expressed the hope that getting her high school diploma and certificate will motivate her children to go back to school.