Adam Frattasio, the GED-course instructor at the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office, celebrated his 600th student passing the GED test this month.
“It’s an incredible milestone, and it’s important because a lack of education is a very significant factor that leads to recidivism,” said Norfolk County Sheriff Michael G. Bellotti in an interview.
Frattasio has worked at the county jail for seven years, teaching a course for inmates who have not obtained their high school diploma.
Inmates are not required to take the course, but are encouraged to do so, said Bellotti.
“We encourage them by making it very clear what’s available to them and having professional staff to work with them,” said Bellotti. “The best way to encourage them is to have a program that is consistent, available, and effective.”
Inmates spend an hour and a half each day in class with Frattasio and can take the test once they are prepared.
Frattasio had other jobs before he came to work at the jail. He was a personal trainer, a sports writer, a coach, and taught in the public school system.
He said he always knew he would teach at a jail some day.
“I wouldn’t want to be teaching anywhere else,” he said in an interview.
Of his students who take the GED test, 92 percent pass.
“Every month when I do a GED test, I get a Christmas present,” said Frattasio. “I love handing them their GED. I feel like Santa Claus.”
Frattasio said his raw style of teaching matches the inmates because they are raw. He said certain people need to be prodded and pushed in order to succeed.
"If they let me pound at them, they'll get a GED in the end and then they'll say, 'That guy was alright,'" said Frattasio.
Bellotti praised Frattasio’s teaching achievements.
“He’s the best, he’s very committed, and he connects,” said Bellotti. “Teaching at the jail isn’t a job for him, it’s a calling.”
Sarah Favot can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.