Alternative Learning Department - Parents and Students
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Alternative Learning Department

Parents and Students

Online learning and alternative learning options are offered by many school districts in the state. Work with your school to learn what options they offer and how to access them.

What are you looking for?

Is Online Learning Right for my Student?

The following qualities are good indicators of student success in online courses. Although the lack of one or two does not necessarily mean you won't succeed, you may want to talk with your advisor about what support will help you be successful.

  • Self-aware and informed. Understand what kind of learner you are and what online learning is like to make a good decision about your course. It is still largely text-based, so a social or hands-on learner will need to keep that in mind.
  • Self-motivated. Able to set and reach goals on your own. Inquisitive and interested in taking the course online.
  • Reading skills. Enjoy reading or are motivated to read on the given topic. Online students read lessons, read web resources for research, and read teacher responses.
  • Writing skills. Enjoy writing or are motivated to write on the given topic. Writing is the basic means of completing online assignments and interacting with the teacher and other students.
  • Independent learner. Able to read and follow directions without frequent teacher assistance. Teacher response is timely but not immediate.
  • Organized. Able to plan, prioritize, and organize tasks and assignments. Able to set a schedule and meet deadlines.
  • Problem solver. Do not give up easily in the face of a challenge. Resourceful and able to find solutions to questions on your own. Know when to seek help and do so.
  • Active Participant. Comfortable "sitting in the front row." Online learning is active and requires regular interaction with your teacher.
  • Time availability. Able to participate in the course along with your other activities. Online courses require at least as much time as a regular classroom course.
  • Computer access and skills. Have access to a reliable computer with an internet connection. Possess basic computer skills to use email, navigate websites, and manage files.

Options in my School District

Start with your local school or district. Go to your local school and ask your school counselor or principal about options. Some questions you might ask are:

  1. What does your school and district offer?
  2. How do you access this option?
  3. What are the student performance or attendance expectations?
  4. How will the school support the student?
  5. How well do students perform in this option?
  6. Is this the best option for this student’s needs?
  7. Are there community resources available?

Public School Options Outside my School District

If your local district does not have the type of program you are looking for, explore statewide options. These programs can enroll any student who lives in Washington State. They are often more flexible and have limited in-person contact.

Step 1. Review the list of public schools with online options.

Step 2. Contact a program about enrollment. Questions you might ask are:

  1. When is the open enrollment period?
  2. How would my student enroll?
  3. What are the student performance or attendance expectations?
  4. How will the school support the student?
  5. How well do students perform in this program?
  6. Is this the best option for this student’s needs?

Step 3. To enroll in a school or program outside your local district, you must request a Choice Transfer. A Choice Transfer releases your student from the local district and transfers the educational responsibility to the new school district. To make this request contact your local school district and ask for a Choice Transfer.

Options Outside the School Day

Credit recovery, summer instruction, or classes unavailable at your local school are reasons to need an online option beyond the public school day. For each of these reasons, you must coordinate with your local school.

Step 1. Contact your local school counselor or principal. Work with that person to decide what courses the student needs. Ask the questions listed under Options in my School District.

Step 2. Find out who pays for the course.

  • If your school is paying for the course, they coordinate enrollment with the online program.
  • If the student or parent is paying for the course there are extra steps to follow.
    • Ask your school counselor or principal about the district policy. Districts have policies about what online courses and credit values they will accept.
    • Work with your counselor to choose your courses. They may refer you to the course catalog, or the course provider to find an available course.
    • Confirm with your counselor that the course will meet the district policy. Confirm your school will accept the credit value upon completion of the course.
    • Contact the course provider. Ask the questions listed under Public School Options Outside my School District.
    • Ask the course provider how to enroll the student.
    • Inform the provider that the course is for a Washington state student. The course must meet Washington online learning expectations.
    • Follow the online provider’s enrollment and attendance policies.
    • Follow your local district policy for transcript acceptance. Work with your local school to transfer the course and credit when the course is complete.










Parents and Students

Upcoming Events

ALE Year End Reporting Webinar
May 9, 2019, 10:00 AM

Student Support Conference
May 23-24, 2019
Additional information


   Updated 10/1/2018

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