12.17.14: Enrollment surges in program to re-engage high school students
12.17.14: Enrollment surges in program to re-engage high school students
Posted on 12/17/2014

Sarah Price left school during her senior year in Spokane to move to Puyallup last spring with her eight-month-old son.


During the day, her family watches her child while she takes classes toward her goal of earning a General Education Development (GED) certificate in the Puyallup Open Doors program.


Price is among 125 students enrolled this fall in Puyallup Open Doors — a program that gives students who have left school or face significant challenges in completing high school an opportunity to earn their diploma or GED certificate.


Enrollment has skyrocketed since Puyallup Open Doors launched last fall with the first two dozen students.


“This program really works for my schedule,” Price said. “My mom and sister help out with babysitting while I am here, and I do classes online when he naps or goes to sleep at night.”


Price plans to go to college to become a licensed practical nurse. “I want to start a career and support my son,” she said.


Most of the students enrolled in the program attended junior high or high school in Puyallup; however, some have waivered into this district from neighboring school districts or from out of the area.


The program, which features a spacious computer lab where students can work quietly on their classes, is housed inside a building that the district has leased on South Hill Park Drive near the Best Western Hotel.


Students must be between ages 16 and 20 by September 1 to qualify for admission, and they are asked to attend the onsite computer lab twice a week during a two hour morning or afternoon class session.


Puyallup Open Doors is staffed with certified teachers who can help students with core academic areas of math, language arts, social studies, and science.


Elective classes such as digital photography, world languages, health and fitness, and computer applications are also offered, with access to teacher support through Spokane Virtual Learning.