HOT TOPICS: ONLINE EDUCATION
WENATCHEE — Sixteen-year-old Josh Sanborn hasn’t heard a class bell, pushed through a high school hallway or shaken a teacher’s hand in seven months. For him and thousands of other students statewide, the school day starts with a power button.
Sanborn, who lives in Wenatchee, is enrolled as a full-time student this year at Insight School of Washington, an online high school offered through Quillayute Valley School District in Forks.
Local schools booting up their own online offeringsOMAK —The Omak School District last week became the region’s first home base for a statewide online school. Dozens of students, local and statewide, logged on for the first day of school Friday at Washington Virtual Academy-Omak.
Omak Superintendent Art Himmler sees the online school as a way for the 1,700-student district to offer a wide variety of classes it can’t afford otherwise. Online classes also bring in students who need more flexibility than a traditional school can give: Students with autism or social problems, students with medical issues, students who work and American Indian students who miss school for cultural events.
Lawmakers beef up accountability for online schoolsOLYMPIA — A new law will cut off public funding for statewide online schools in two years unless they meet new state standards.
Five online schools are already approved through national accreditation. For dozens of other online schools, approval applications are due by August.
Links from online forumHere are some links provided by attendees of our online forum on online schools:
Omak’s online school measures expansion in kilobytesOMAK — Walking down the halls at Omak schools, there’s no evidence of the district’s 1,000 new students this year. The once 1,400-student district has grown to nearly 2,500 students in 12 months — about half the size of the town.
“It’s a huge deal, it’s like half of our district just got added to what we had before,” Superintendent Art Himmler said. He noted Omak’s closest neighbor Okanogan, a 1,000-student district. “It’s like we just added an Okanogan School District.”
Clicking to class: Why learn online?WENATCHEE — While other high school students sat in fifth period class Feb. 11, Andrew Kibbe of Yakima laced up his ice skates at the Town Toyota Center.
The 16-year-old finished his school work for the week early, which is one of the perks of being an online student at Washington Virtual Academy–Omak, the region’s first open online school.