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Second Chance Offered Through New High School Diploma Program in Public Libraries

The world’s first accredited, private online school district has arrived in Montgomery County. Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) is the first library system in Maryland to offer the Career Online High School to qualified residents – and it’s free.

“This program prepares students for today’s workforce and offers a second chance to those who are not able to finish high school in the traditional sense,” explained MCPL Director Parker Hamilton during a press conference with Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett in the Executive Office Building on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Going beyond a GED, candidates earn a high school diploma and a career certification through an accredited high school. The coursework begins in one of eight high-growth, high-demand career fields (across a wide spectrum from child care and education to certified transportation), before progressing to the core academic subjects. Each student is paired with an Academic Coach, who helps develop an individual career plan, offers words of encouragement, evaluates performance, and connects the student to the appropriate resources.

“Career Online High School is one of the first initiatives under MCPL’s Workforce and Business Development umbrella that will prepare residents for the workforce,” said Hamilton.

Classes are supported by board-certified instructors, and students have 24/7 access to the online learning platform.

One of the students, Jessica, takes her laptop with her everywhere she goes. Whenever she has the opportunity, she studies. “You open it up and there you are,” she explained. She was working long hours with two jobs and didn’t have time to go to class. When she researched her options, she found the online schools were too expensive.

After admitting that she didn’t appreciate school when she was younger, Jessica said, “It’s been hard. I can actually appreciate what I have.” Knowing how difficult it is without a degree, she believes, “Failing is not an option.”