Parallel Path – A Win-Win Scenario

Andrew Metzger, Guest Blogger

Smart Horizons as an organization is fortunate to have professionals from varied backgrounds and experiences. As a way for the LTS blog to broaden its horizons and offer more insights and opinions, I’ve asked other members of the corporate family to guest blog.

Mr. Metzger has worked as both a courseware developer and marketing specialist for Smart Horizons. He also serves as Executive Director of the Choral Society of Pensacola, which is an affiliate organization of Pensacola State College, and is the performing arts writer for the Pensacola News Journal. Please welcome Andrew Metzger to the LTS blog!

Parallel Path – A Win-Win Scenario!

Thanks to an innovative program titled Parallel Path that is offered through Smart Horizons’ Lifetime Training Solutions (LTS), both nonprofit organizations who serve youth and school districts have a new and effective avenue for helping students complete their high school coursework.

Parallel Path was developed to provide an educational alternative for students who are credit deficient, struggling with state assessments, in need of non-traditional education, working, or teen parents. The program offers these students the opportunity to earn credits toward graduation by enrolling them in Smart Horizons Career Online High School (SHCOHS). Established in 2009, SHCOHS enables students to earn an AdvancED/SACS accredited high school diploma and a credentialed career certificate in one comprehensive online program. The career certificates encompass valuable training in such in-demand professions as Childcare Education, Office Management, Protection Services, Homeland Security, Transportation Services, Retail Customer Skills, and Food & Customer Service Skills.

Standardized TestingParallel Path can be seen as a highly practical backup plan for academically at-risk students. Students who enter the program remain enrolled in their school districts and have the option of passing state assessments and meeting their school district’s requirements for graduation.

I feel uniquely qualified to sing the praises of SHCOHS—the online entity that lies at the heart of the Parallel Path program.

As a lifelong professional writer, I was privileged to write courses for SHCOHS in science, English and economics. Working within this framework for three years, I experienced first-hand not only the excellent design components built into this leading-edge online school, but also the high professional standards embodied in every aspect of SHCOHS.

I have also written a large quantity of public relations materials for the company that included interviews with both SHCOHS students and SHCOHS personnel. Comments gleaned from these interviews speak volumes about Smart Horizons and its value as the foundation for a program like Parallel Path.

Student endorsements:

  • “I’ve liked the availability and the pace of this program. I love how the lessons are written and explained and how it all made so much sense to me.”
  • “You might say my current occupation is stay-at-home mom and student, but I would like to work in a medical office when I’m done going to school and receive my career certificate in Office Management. From the time I was a little girl, I’ve seen myself working in an office setting—a person of purpose and dedication.”
  • “I love that you’re working at your own pace. It’s not stressful at all, and I actually feel it’s more hands-on. It’s safe to say that I’ve learned more doing SHCOHS than I did in regular high school.”
  • “It’s so great to be able to take these courses online with me being a mother of two and having to take care of a house. It’s just so convenient. You can pick your own time to go online and I love the way the program is set up.”
  • “Every time I had a problem, someone was there for me. They would either e-mail or call me and fix anything necessary to keep me going.”
  • “I’ve actually enjoyed the educational courses SHCOHS has designed. Trust me, enjoying classes is something new for me. A certificate toward a profession with a high school diploma is an extra bonus, and from my experience, the student services are top notch—there when you need them from beginning to end.”

Comments from SHCOHS academic coaches:

  • “I’m the students’ biggest cheerleader and motivator. Academic support—helping a student who might be struggling with a course—is certainly a big part of what I do. But my job can also involve tasks such as making sure we’ve received a student’s transcripts and other paperwork, or reaching out to students to check on their progress if they haven’t been online and actively participating in their courses for a while. As academic coaches, we are both ears and eyes for the students and we’re always ready to listen.”
  • “I believe every student is entitled to an education and I believe SHCOHS does a great job of meeting educational needs and making every effort to see to it that students are successful in reaching their goals, which include earning their high school diploma and career certificate. It’s an online education model that is accessible, supported, and available no matter where you are.”
  • “From an employee standpoint, I appreciate the network of support provided by my team and my superiors. In an online learning environment, we are each out here as individuals working and learning. The support and connectedness that I have found at SHCOHS is what sets it apart for me. I have worked at other online high schools and I have not had the genuine sense of caring, the attentiveness to students and staff, the prompt responses to resolve technical issues, and the learning network that SHCOHS provides.”

With SHCOHS as its foundation, Parallel Path provides an effective and nurturing academic environment for at-risk students. At the same time, both school districts and nonprofit charitable and service organizations are provided with an effective tool for furthering their goals to assist these students. A genuine win-win scenario!

Andrew Metzger
Guest blogger
Lifetime Training Solutions

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