Questions? Call Us! 866.999.7853 STUDENT LOGIN

Program Enables At-Risk Students to Graduate High School and Matriculate Into Florida Post-Secondary System

Florida-based accredited online Parallel Path Program helps students stay in school—putting them on a path to post-secondary education and better job opportunities

The Parallel Path Program from the AdvancED/SACS accredited Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE) school district is designed to allow at-risk students the opportunity to stay in school and earn a high school diploma. It’s a way for Florida’s youth to avoid the stigma and consequences of not earning a high school diploma, and to enter the state’s post-secondary school system or workforce.

The numbers are impressive. The Parallel Path Program’s graduation rate is 91 percent; 81 percent of SHCOE graduates plan to attend college, and many have matriculated into community colleges across the state. Some of the colleges include: Broward College, Daytona State College, Hillsborough Community College, Indian River State College, Miami-Dade College, North Florida Community College, Palm Beach State College, and Seminole State College. Because students earn an AdvancED/SACS accredited high school diploma and not a certificate of completion, they are eligible to meet college admission requirements.

High School dropout statsAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, the state of Florida has over 2.7 million dropouts.2 High school dropouts are more likely to live in poverty, be unemployed, go to prison, and be a burden on taxpayers.3 It is an epidemic that directly and dramatically impacts Florida communities. On the other hand, it is estimated that every additional 1,000 high school graduates equates to $200 million in higher tax revenue and less government spending,4 and 800 additional post-secondary students.1

“The ROI for taxpayers of the state is huge in terms of the number of students matriculating into the state post-secondary system and then moving onto middle-wage jobs,” said Dr. Howard Liebman, SHCOE Superintendent. “It also creates savings for taxpayers related to unemployment, health care, and housing costs. This is a win-win for everyone involved.”

The Parallel Path Program offers an accredited, WIOA-approved high school diploma and career certificate through the SHCOE school district. It was designed to reengage at-risk students, poor test-takers, alternative learners, and current dropouts back into the education system, and on the path to post-secondary education, jobs, better earning potential, and brighter futures. It also teaches them a specific trade in areas such a child care, commercial driving, retail customer service, food and hospitality, or office management.

Students have the opportunity to complete the program while remaining enrolled in their local high school. Dual enrollment means they can still earn a diploma from their current school, walk with their graduating class, and participate in school sports and activities. But, they have a safety net in case they are not able to meet all of the district’s graduation requirements.

The SHCOE high school program is also offered in the State of Florida public library system, and is available in 28 Florida libraries. In addition, it is employed by public library systems in states around the country, including California, Illinois, and Colorado.


For information on the Parallel Program, visit the website.

Or download the infographic showing student outcomes and testimonials.

1Smart Horizons Career Online Education, graduate exit surveys, 2009–2016
2U.S. Census Bureau, 2016:
3World Education Organization,
4The Alliance for Excellent Education