By KATHRYNE RUBRIGHT
Adults 22 and older who lack a high school diploma may be able to receive one through Ohio’s 22+ Adult High School Diploma Program, offered at Findlay Digital Academy.
The program is still in a “young pilot stage,” and potential participants should have half of their high school requirements completed already, said Sandy White, who coordinates the program for Findlay Digital Academy.
Findlay Digital Academy is an online school that offers dropout prevention and recovery for students in grades nine through 12. It is a community school, or charter school, sponsored by Findlay City Schools.
Students in the 22+ program do not need to complete all of their graduation requirements — only those not fulfilled when they were in high school.
The applicable requirements are determined by when a student entered ninth grade. No matter how long ago that was, the adult student will be held responsible for completing those original requirements, not the ones that apply to current high school students.
The program is open to Hancock County residents through Findlay Digital Academy, regardless of where they attended school.
Students have up to two full school years to earn their diploma in the 22+ program. If a student enrolls in mid-school year, they lose the first part of the school year.
If someone were to enroll next January, for example, they would have the second half of the 2018-2019 school year and all of the 2019-2020 school year to meet their graduation requirements. They would not be able to make up the lost time from fall 2018.
If a student fails to complete the program within two school years, he or she will not be able to re-enroll in the 22+ program.
They could pursue a General Education Development (GED) certificate instead, but nothing from the 22+ program would transfer toward that effort.
While a student with only a few credits left to complete could likely enroll mid-year without running out of time, White might advise someone with more credits to complete to wait until the beginning of the next school year so they could use the maximum possible amount of time.
“When they submit their application, I request the transcripts, and then I do an analysis of the transcript. And then I have a frank conversation with them as to where they are and what’s realistic,” White said.
Two adults have so far earned high school diplomas from Findlay Digital Academy this way. One is now enrolled in the nursing program at Owens Community College, White said.
About 10 students are signed up so far for this school year, White said.
“We don’t have an open lab (for adults) like we do for the regular students,” White said. “We try to give support as we can. The adults are more on their own than the traditional student, and the adults have to supply their own computer and internet connectivity.”
Support for 22+ program students can include assistance with technical problems and recommendations for academic resources. White also monitors progress to make sure students stay on schedule to complete their work within the two-school-year limit.
“A number of our adults are discovering as they get into the program that they are building new self-confidence and new self-esteem and they’re able to do more than they thought they were able to do,” White said.
“I had one student say, ‘I’m feeling proud about myself. And it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way.'”
Applications are available online at findlaydigitalacademy.com or at Findlay Digital Academy, 1219 W. Main Cross St., Suite 101.
Contact White with any questions at 419-425-8378.