Spokane schools increase graduation through online options

Superintendent John Glenewinkel of East Valley School District (EVSD) in Spokane wanted to tackle his district's high school dropout challenges and expand educational opportunities to all students. Like his colleagues in school districts around the country, Glenewinkel is faced with leading a school district serving a community struggling with the economic downturn. But he is nonetheless focused on the mission of continuing to improve student achievement. One way he found to do that was through customized online educational opportunities from Aventa Learning.

Since 2002, Aventa Learning has partnered with more than 1,000 school districts around the country to help all students stay on the path to academic success. Aventa Learning offers one of the largest catalogs of online courses available today, including core curriculum, electives and world language courses for middle and high school, as well as Advanced Placement and credit recovery courses.

“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,” said Superintendent Glenewinkel.

East Valley wanted to provide a continuum of learning options for every student from those who are completely home-schooled to those who are in juvenile detention or other institutions. With Aventa Learning’s extensive online course catalog and willingness to customize its offerings, the district has been able to achieve that goal.

“We have been able to educate more than 300 students through our EV Online Learning Program who otherwise might have dropped out," said Glenewinkel. “Aventa Learning has one of the best online products available. But it takes more than just a computer hook-up to provide students with a successful online educational experience. What really impresses me about Aventa Learning is that the company puts students first.”

EVSD is also reaching out to the homeschooling community with Aventa Learning’s online offerings. Superintendent Glenewinkel noted, “At some point, homeschooled students often outpace their parents in subjects, such as math, foreign languages and science, and so we can offer them the opportunity to take Aventa courses through our HomeLink Program.”

Another special population that EVSD is serving through Aventa Learning’s online courses is teen parents. “Many teen mothers have trouble getting to school in the morning because of morning sickness or the time it takes to get a child ready,” said Barbara Cruse, Principal of the Washington Academy of Arts and Technology, which houses all of EVSD’s alternative programs. “Through our EV Online Learning Program, we utilize the Aventa courses to offer online courses in the morning and then they come to school in the afternoon.”

Cruse added that they also use Aventa Learning’s original credit online courses and credit recovery program to reach out to students who are professional athletes or have health issues, and that even students who had previously dropped out have returned to graduate.