Adult Education Program History
The Adult Education and Literacy (AEL) has existed in St. Joseph for 63 years.
Ruth Huston began her journey with the St. Joseph School district as a cadet teacher in 1929. She taught at the Young School and Hosea Elementary School before becoming principal of Washington School in 1946. It was during her tenure as principal of the Washington School that she started the night high school program out of concern for her students who were located in a low-income, heavily populated area.
According to Miss Huston, many of the boys and girls were left unsupervised in the evening. Some students were getting into scrapes with the law, some became pregnant and others lost interest in school altogether. Therefore, Miss Huston approached the superintendent with the prospect of a night high school in 1954. He agreed with her proposition. At this point in time, this was a program that helped students recover credits to graduate on time. This alternative program continues to serve high school students today at Webster Learning Center.
Adult education classes were first located at the St. Joseph Junior College, but then moved into 1000 S. 9th Street. The program soon expanded to include students in neighboring counties. In 1957, the State of Missouri began issuing certificates to students who did not graduate from high school but passed the General Educational Development(GED) test.
Locally, it was Miss Ruth Huston who became the first teacher in the district to be certified to teach and in the beginning, administer the GED test. She accomplished this along with teaching night high school, a full-time career as principal of Washington School, and later becoming principal of Hall School. Miss Huston's distinguished career in education did not end with her retirement in 1974. She continued to teach and work in the night high school program for ten more years. She died on July 24, 2000, at the age of 91.
Adult Basic Education, now called Adult Education and Literacy, was moved to the decommissioned Naval Reserve building in 1995 after outgrowing its previous location. Since 2009, the AEL program has been located at Webster Learning Center.