High school dropouts in the Eatonville School District can still graduate by tapping into some extra help.
The district is working with American Academy, a Utah-based company that offers its services nationwide, in a program called Will Graduate. Dropouts are re-enrolled in school, are given a laptop computer and can choose from more than 230 online courses to complete their education and earn a district-issued diploma.
The students can study and complete their assignments at home on a schedule and pace that suits them. If they need help, they can speak at any time with technology specialists, certified teachers and mentors. And it’s all free for the students because they are enrolled with the school district.
An education advocate assigned to the Eatonville district is Brian Storie, who has beein in the role for 13 years as a specialized counselor. Eatonvlle is the 90th district nationally to work with American Academy. Storie explained that he meets with participating students each week to check their progress and contacts them regularly to offer help and encouragement.
The program in Eatonville began in March and has 23 students at various stages of progress. Its first graduate was scheduled to receive his diploma last week from district superintendent Rich Stewart during a small ceremony at Eatonville High School that included cake and refreshments, Storie said.
He said the new graduate, an example of how students can overcome the setbacks of dropping out of school, “is a humble, low-key individual who is not used to attention.”
Will Graduate is open to students in grades 9 through 12. They need to have finished eighth grade and must be younger than 21 before the district can approve their participation.
The students can earn up to six credits per year and generally take about the same amount of time to finish the Will Graduate program as they would to finish graduate in the traditional fashion. They can finish faster by taking additional courses..
American Academy recommends that students spend about 25 hours per week on their school work. Their time commitment and progress on monthly course requirements depends on how well they understand and complete the work. Some students will spend less than 25 hours a week, and some will need more time, officials said.
Most of the content for courses is online, but some of it also comes on CDs for language courses and novels for English courses. Such materials are either shipped directly to students or can be checked out from their local advocate.
More information about the program is available from Storie at 253-753-7491 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Enrollment specialists can be reached at 360-312-7002.