The state of Washington offers resident students the opportunity to take online public school courses for free. These online programs may serve elementary or high school students.
The list was built of schools that were found to meet the following criteria: classes must be available completely online, they must offer services to state residents, and they must be funded by the government. The virtual schools listed may be charter schools, state-wide public programs, or private programs that receive government funding.
List of Washington Online Charter Schools and Online Public Schools
- Insight School of Washington: This program is available for grades 9-12. It's designed to help high school students stay in school and earn a diploma. The program includes weekly contact with teachers and advisors. Students can explore career and college options. It is a free public school.
- Internet Academy: This was Washington's first online public school, funded by the Federal Way School District. It has courses for grades K-12. Washington state students have tuition waived and may take up to five full courses, which is considered full-time. Students may also be enrolled at a building school, but a tuition fee will be charged when the student is taking more than five courses combined between the building and Internet Academy.
- IQ Academy Washington
- Washington Virtual Academies: Available for K-12. WAVA offers individualized education that is tailored for each student. They are a public school. They offer language arts, math, history, art, and physical education as the core curriculum. They provide all of the textbooks and instructional materials needed. The program is self-paced and as flexible as it can be under state law. School outings and social events are scheduled as well.
About Online Charter Schools and Online Public Schools
Many states now offer tuition-free online schools for resident students under a certain age (often 21). Most virtual schools are charter schools; they receive government funding and are run by a private organization. Online charter schools are subject to fewer restrictions than traditional schools. However, they are reviewed regularly and must continue to meet state standards.
Some states also offer their own online public schools. These virtual programs generally operate from a state office or a school district. State-wide public school programs vary. Some online public schools offer a limited number of remedial or advanced courses not available in brick-and-mortar public school campuses. Others offer full online diploma programs.
A few states choose to fund “seats” for students in private online schools. The number of available seats may be limited and students are usually asked to apply through their public school guidance counselor.
Choosing a Washington Online Public School
When choosing an online public school, look for an established program that is regionally accredited and has a track record of success. Be wary of new schools that are disorganized, are unaccredited, or have been the subject of public scrutiny. For more suggestions on evaluating virtual schools see how to choose an online high school.