Online H.S. curriculum offers high-tech challenges

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, as many as one third of high school graduates that go to college are not prepared for post-secondary education - requiring community colleges and four-year institutions to dedicate time and resources to remedial, non-credit courses. An online high school in Washington state is addressing this problem with a challenging curriculum that promotes independent thinking, creativity and originality. And it's free.

Located in White Salmon, Washington, Columbia Tech High School is part of the White Salmon Valley School District, located in the Columbia River Gorge, about a one-hour drive east of Portland,Oregon. Columbia Tech now offers a tuition-free online program, Giant Campus of Washington, which offers both core curriculum and elective concentrations in digital arts, computer science, and business & innovation. The program is available to students statewide.

“The availability of full time enrollment with Giant Campus of Washington is an educational milestone for Washington state,” said Jerry Lewis, Superintendent, White Salmon Valley School District.

Giant Campus students must earn 24 credits to graduate, which exceeds the Washington state requirement of 19 credits – and provides a competitive advantage at college application time. Students have the opportunity to learn and practice technology skills required for many of today’s top occupations in game design, marketing, and computer programming.

Coursework is entirely online, with every lesson, question-and-answer session, quiz, assignment and teacher-student interaction happening via a virtual learning environment. A variety of virtual campus activities, such as field trips, after-school clubs, student organizations and contests, help students learn teamwork, collaboration and problem-solving skills. Online guest speakers and a news hub keep students up to date on various technology and business topics of interest.

This fall, in addition to core English, mathematics, science and social studies courses, the program will offer multiple electives, including digital arts, computer-aided drafting, web design, digital video production, computer science and green design and technology.

Giant Campus of Washington is an extension of Giant Campus’ national education programs, including Giant Campus Academy, a tuition-based, private online school.