High schools are always changing. During my time in high school, I was a member of the unlucky class required to take standardized testing junior year, and then again senior year when the state decided to change the grade level being tested. Washington State students, however, aren’t just presented with the inconvenience of extra testing, but with the added pressure of another course.

In 2011, the Washington State Board of Education implemented a new graduation requirement for high school students. Students were now required to take a course on Washington History in order to gain understanding of everything from the state’s development to its geography, geology, climate, economy, culture and government. However, this added requirement has caused issues for students graduating between 2012 and 2015, who are unable to fit it into their schedule.

However, there is hope. Beginning in October 2012, a new resource became available to Washington State students—the Red Comet online platform. This accredited education provider now hosts the course, “Washington State History,” which will aid students struggling to find the time to fulfill the requirement. It is an online course that is self-paced, where students have four months to log on and complete all the cyber coursework whenever is best convenient for them. The Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction oversees this virtual school.

The managing director of Red Comet, Dr. Jay Srinivasan, says there have been very positive results, and that students, teachers and parents were excited that a free online course fulfilling this requirement was available for students who otherwise would not be able to graduate on time. Today, over 300 high schools have utilized Red Comet and its 15,000 available high school and AP-level courses to offer digital learning opportunities to their students. Online learning isn’t just limited to Washington State; all around the nation online learning for high school students is on the rise. Indeed, by 2014, an estimated 10 million American high school students are expected to be utilizing online academies for high school course credit. The convenience and availability provide ample possibilities for students in the future, with the world of online learning right at their fingertips.

“Online high school courses grow in popularity,” Boston.com, accessed on January 22, 2013. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2010/05/30/online_high_school_courses_grow_in_popularity/
“Washington State Puts Required History Course Online,” EducationNews.org, accessed on January 22, 2013. http://www.educationnews.org/online-schools/washington-state-puts-required-history-course-online/