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Open Doors program provides path for all students to achieve success

A new Clover Park School District re-engagement program is having a big impact on students who didn’t succeed in a traditional class setting. The Open Doors program – co-located at Clover Park High School – is for students aged 16-21 who are credit deficient and provides flexible learning opportunities in a classroom or online.

Senior Zach Milligan was on the verge of being homeless before joining the Open Doors program. The program connected him with partner resources and he now has a steady place to live and can learn at a pace that fits his schedule.

“This program helped me settle down so I can come here and learn,” said Milligan. “The flexibility of the program allows me to learn at my own pace.”

Milligan has enlisted in the U.S. Navy and will join the Navy once he receives his diploma, which he’s expecting to earn in June.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Carrington has also benefitted from the Open Doors program and plans to graduate this year. He took some time off from school for personal reasons.

“This program is the best thing that’s happened to me for a while and it’s helped me to get my life back on track,” said Carrington. “I’d like to be a paramedic or firefighter so I can help people and make a difference.”

When Open Doors started this school year, there were fewer than 20 students enrolled. Now, more than 140 students are enrolled in the program. Students can attend class with instruction that includes computer-based and teacher-led curriculum in the morning, afternoon or all day depending on their work or home life. The district also provides an online-only option through Graduation Alliance for students who can’t attend class in person. All students meet weekly with a counselor who checks in with them to see how they’re doing.

“We meet them wherever they’re at in life and counsel them on their best learning options,” said Jennifer Clement, supervisor of secondary initiatives. “Whether it’s in person or online, we want to make sure each student has a chance to graduate when they’re finished.”

The program is funded through Washington’s 1418 Open Doors legislation, which assists districts with providing flexible and individualized educational opportunities for youth who have faced challenges being successful in traditional school environments.


Open Doors

Senior Zach Milligan meets with supervisor of secondary initiatives Jennifer Clement to discuss his academic progress. Milligan is part of the Clover Park School District’s Open Doors re-engagement program.