For some high school age students, the road to graduation is not a smooth one. But without a high school diploma, career options are limited. This year, ESD 112 is piloting a program with Vancouver Public Schools and Battle Ground Public Schools to get students back on track with a road map for their future.

In partnership with the Juvenile Detention Center and the Clark County Skills Center, the Open Doors program will help students earn a high school diploma or GED along with technical skills to help them pursue further education or a career.

“Earning a GED by itself doesn’t guarantee employment,” said Kevin Johnson, Director of School Programs for ESD 112. “We are helping re-engage kids who have had barriers to school success by giving them viable options and training for their future. We are focused on preparing them for success in a career path or other opportunity,” he added.

Open Doors is personalized to each student’s specific needs and future goals with the flexibility to accommodate individual schedules. Students may be referred from juvenile detention and required by the terms of their parole to attend classes. Others may be unlikely to graduate from their home school because of extreme credit deficiencies. And some may have other life issues that preclude them from being successful in school. Open Doors finds a path for each of them to be successful, whether it is flexible hours, assistance with financial aid forms and other paperwork, or a path to a specific career through training at the Clark County Skills Center. Classes are offered at both ESD 112’s Vancouver campus and the Juvenile Detention Center with an option to co-enroll in the Skills Center, which offers practical training in more than a dozen career pathways.

Already the program has been so successful that there is a waiting list of students who would like to participate. Future plans include expansion to other ESD 112 region school districts.