Washington District Turns to Online Learning To Stem Dropouts

East Valley School District of Spokane, WA, has partnered with Aventa Learning to offer a range of online courses aimed both at reducing the number of students who opt to discontinue their high school education and at expanding learning opportunities for all students.

EVSD said it wanted to provide a broad range of credit opportunities for all types of students it serves, including those who are exclusively home schooled, children in juvenile detention seeking to reform their lives through educational pursuits, adults who have dropped out but wish to complete their studies, and even professional athletes and teen mothers. Aventa offers a variety of middle and high subjects to fulfill both core curriculum and elective requirements, as well as courses for those seeking Advanced Placement and credit recovery.

Said EVSD Superintendent John Glenewinkel, "What really sold our school board members on Aventa Learning was when students told them that the online courses allow them to complete their high school educations with a sense of dignity, at their own pace, and to overcome issues that might have prevented them from graduating."

Barbara Cruse, principal of EVSD's Washington Academy of Arts and Technology, which houses all of EVSD's alternative programs, added, "Through the online courses, we have been able to bring back older students who had dropped out, and they have now graduated."

Another opportunity the Aventa courses offer is for home-schooled students to advance at their own pace, in spite of obstacles home-schooling may present. "At some point," Glenewinkel explained, "homeschooled students often outpace their parents in [certain] subjects, such as math, foreign languages and science, so we can offer them the opportunity to take Aventa courses through our HomeLink Program. We have been able to increase our home school enrollment and think it will continue to grow."

Cruse commented that what makes the program work overall is that Aventa works with the district and its students. The company, she said, is willing and able to make the accommodations and tailored modifications necessary to make EVSD's online program accessible and workable for all students with all types of educational needs.

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Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.