Aberdeen district expands learning options

Growing non-traditional formats

The Aberdeen School District is expanding their less-traditional programs to help more students, young and old, get their diploma or GED. Educators are attempting to reach students who might fall through the cracks of a traditional school.

The pandemic has shown educators that students learn in many different ways, and that there is rarely a one size fits all solution to education. To help address this challenge the district plans to open what it is calling the Harbor Learning Center in the Hopkins school building at 300 N. Williams Street with the 2021 school year. A new principal will oversee multiple programs to assist students struggling with grades 3 through 12. A partnership with Grays Harbor College will also offer GED/diploma and continuing education services.

Lynn Green, director of the district’s Career Technology Education department, explained to the board of directors at their recent meeting that not everything about the Harbor Learning Center is new, “But we’re definitely putting together a nice spectrum of learning activities and learning options for our students.” Current Miller Junior High School Principal Lisa Griebel has accepted the position as principal.

Expanding a Successful Program

Beginning this Fall, Harbor High School will extend its nontraditional, contract, and mastery-based learning services to 7th and 8th grade students. Thousands of people have graduated from Harbor High School with their diploma over the years. Green said the parenting program, and child care services, have helped many of their students get over the challenges that might have otherwise kept them from graduating. Harbor High is not considered an alternative learning center by the state. Students must meet the same graduation requirements as AHS students, and can enroll in other programs, such as Running Start and the Skills Center.

Expanding Online

Grays Harbor Academy, the district’s online school, will continue serving students in grades 3 through 12 offering education through the program Edgenuity and at each student’s own progress. Grays Harbor Academy is an OSPI approved alternative learning experience school that is entirely online. Students must meet the same requirements as those at the high school to graduate.

Expanding to Those Seeking Their GED

The district this year is also submitting a letter of intent to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish an Open Doors Youth Re engagement Program that would help people age 16 to 21 prepare for their GED exams, and, with approval from the state, could also offer GED testing. The Open Doors Youth Re engagement Program would open this September, serving students age 16 to 21 who are ‘credit deficient’ for graduation requirements.

A partnership with Grays Harbor College will also provide an Education Opportunity Center to provide educational support for the adult community. The site will be operated by Grays Harbor College staff, and housed at Harbor Learning Center, offering GED and continued learning programs.

Expanding Their Outreach

More details are expected on each of the district’s new offerings in the coming months. A list of “next steps’ for the district includes submitting a letter of intent for the Open Doors program, applying to become a GED testing site, transitioning staff and leadership to the new model, establishing financial sustainability, and finally launching an awareness campaign.