Thanks to a partnership between Smart Horizons Career Online Education and Florida’s Nassau County School District, students in Nassau’s alternative education program now have a new avenue for earning their high school diploma.

This partnership marks the first step in SHCOE’s implementation of its newly developed Parallel Path Program, which was created to provide an educational alternative for students struggling to pass required state assessments. The Parallel Path Program ensures that students who are academically at risk have a back-up plan for graduation.

“The partnership with the Nassau County School District is the first of many such Parallel Path partnerships we’re planning to establish with school districts around the country,” said Dr. Howard Liebman, CEO and Superintendent of SHCOE.

Founded in 2009, SHCOE is the world’s first AdvancED/SACS accredited online school district, offering an instructional program that enables students to earn an 18-credit high school diploma and a credentialed career certificate in one comprehensive online program. SHCOE offers students a choice of six different credentialed career certificates in areas such as Office Management, Homeland Security, Transportation, and Professional Skills.

Nineteen-year-old Janelle Porter of Nassau County is the first graduate of the Parallel Path Program. She received her high school diploma and a certificate in Childcare and Education in July of this year.

“I went to Fernandina Beach High School, but I didn’t have enough credits to graduate, so I had to enter Nassau County’s adult education program,” Porter said. “I was still struggling with my classes, so my adult education teacher helped me enroll in Smart Horizons’ online program.”

Porter liked the way the program was set up, and it made a difference in her grades and academic achievement.

“The Smart Horizons classes were more understandable,” she said. “The reviews before the practice test and the actual test were very helpful. My GPA went from a 1.5 to a 3.3 through this program.”

She said math was her favorite academic subject, and she is excited about pursuing a career using the Childcare and Education certificate she earned through SHCOE.

“My goal is to open my own daycare business,” she said. “I would definitely recommend Smart Horizons Career Online Education to other people. I was able to get through the work well, and the academic coaches were always available and very helpful.”