ISAEP Program

Bobbie Eller, Instructor
Holly Stoneburner, GED Testing Administrator 


The student GED preparation program, also called ISAEP, provides an option for students 16 and 17 years of age who are not experiencing success with their regular school program and are at risk of dropping out of school. In this program students remain enrolled as students in Frederick County Public Schools and attend classes at Dowell J. Howard Center to prepare to pass the GED examination. ISAEP students work toward mastering academic and vocational skills. Before testing, students must have completed both the academic and vocational requirements outlined by the State of Virginia. 


To be considered for the ISAEP Program, an individual must: 
  1. be a student in Frederick County Public Schools
  2. be 16 or 17 years of age
  3. meet entrance requirements
Prior to entry into the program both parent and student must meet with the student support specialist assigned to the student's high school or middle school. At this meeting, program requirements are explained and the student's educational options are discussed.

Before the student may enter the program, the student will be assessed to determine his academic abilities. Students take the TABE (Test of Adult Basic Education) and a GED Practice Test. Students must read at a 7.5 grade level and obtain a 410 on each of the GED Practice tests to be eligible to enter ISAEP. Students who have a 7.5 grade level in reading and have a combined score of 2000, but do not have a 410 on each subtest of the GED Practice Test may enter a pre-ISAEP program. All students take a vocational assessment to determine vocational interests and abilities before entering the program.

After the initial testing is complete and the student qualifies to enroll, student and parents/guardians meet with the ISAEP instructor, vocational instructor and a Dowell J. Howard administrator to review the results of the testing and to learn about program requirements and policies. At that time, parent and student may choose to enroll in the ISAEP program. Until this meeting is held, the student remains in attendance at the home school.

 A limited number of students may be enrolled in the ISAEP program at any given time. Even if a score of 2000 is obtained, a student may have to wait to enter until a place becomes available. In the meantime, it is to the student's advantage to continue to attend high school to continue to develop academic skills.


Academic progress is assessed on a regular basis. The student is considered academically ready to take the GED test when a score of 2500 is achieved on the GED practice test with a minimum score of 450 on each sub-test. The student must also be reading on at least a 7.5 grade level.

In addition to receiving a qualifying score in the practice exam, students must successfully complete thevocational component of the ISAEP program before taking the GED exam.  

The vocational component consists of career exploration, understanding the economic impact of getting a GED instead of a high school diploma, developing an understanding of how business and industry operates and mastery of the Virginia Workplace Readiness Skills.
Students work on some of the Workplace Readiness Skills during class time. The remaining requirements are completed through one of three options:
  1. Successful completion of Workplace Skills coursework, demonstrated competency in all Virginia Workplace Readiness Skills and 40 hours of real-work experience.
  2. At least 120 hours and 4 weeks of successful work experience as determined by the employer.
  3. Acceptance in approved advanced technical training; an approved higher education program; or acceptance in a branch of the U.S. armed forces; successful completion of Workplace skills coursework, and demonstrated competency in all Virginia Workplace Readiness Skills.
For options 1 and 3, The Vocational Teacher will rate the student on mastery of the Workplace Readiness Skills.

The GED Test

When both Vocational and Academic components have been met, the student will be registered to take the GED test. In order to do this the student must have a social security card and government issued picture. There is a $20.00 student fee due when the student enters the program that helps defray the costs of materials and testing. FCPS covers the remaining costs for each student. However, if a student is scheduled for a test and fails to appear on the day of the test without giving 24 hours prior notice, the student will have to pay the full cost to reschedule the test(s). The cost of a full battery of tests to the general public is $43.50 which includes the first time test takers fee of $8.50. Individual tests cost $7.00.

After taking the GED exam, if the student does not pass all 5 parts of the exam, he/she must return to class and instruction will focus on improving those areas not passed. Once a student passes the exam, he/she is considered a completer. Students who pass the GED examination receive a GED Certificate from the State of Virginia. GED students do not participate in high school graduation. However, a recognition ceremony is held in June for everyone who has gotten their GED through the Dowell J. Howard Center in the preceding school year. 

Attendance & Tardy Policies

Good attendance is mandatory in this program. In the ISAEP Program there are specific attendance policies that the student must follow. Students must attend a minimum of 15 hours of GED preparation each week. The student must also be employed or engaged in career training for at least 10 hours a week. If the student is not employed, he/she must attend an additional 10 hours of career skills training each week. If students do not meet their attendance requirements, they may be sent back to the home school, where they may not be able to receive credit for coursework if they have missed too much of the class.

Parents are responsible for transportation to and from the program. Please refer to the class schedule for session times. Classes are scheduled in three hour sessions. Each student must schedule 5 three hour sessions each week with the instructor. No student may attend classes more than six (6) hours a day. Students must remain in class for an entire session.

Parents should call 540-667-8997 if their student will be absent from school and unable to attend their 15 hours in any given week.

Students will only be excused from a session early if the school week has been shortened by a snow day, holiday or teacher workday. All of the student's hours need to be complete for the week in order for them to leave a session early because of a shorter school week.

Students are expected to arrive to class on time. Students who are habitually tardy will receive disciplinary action.


This program is operated under the belief that all students are capable of learning, and that all students want to complete some level of education. Due to life's influences, the standard educational schedules and methods are not successful for all students. This program can provide closure in one's educational experience, and open the possibility for continuing education.

The ISAEP provides an educational experience for at-risk students which can prepare them for continued learning, successful employment and responsible citizenship.

Class Schedule

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Session 1 Session 3 Session 5 Session 7 Session 9
11:15 a.m. - 2:15 p.m. Session 2 Session 4 Session 6 Session 8 Session 10

Students must attend at least 5 sessions per week, for a total of 15 hours. Each session is 3 hours in length and students must be in class for the entire session. If a student cannot attend a scheduled session, he/she should call the ISAEP teacher to schedule a make-up session. Those not employed for at least 10 hours a week must also attend career transition classes for an additional 10 hours a week.
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