School District Guide

This section guides school disticts through information necessary in planning and implementing an online learning policy and program.

  1. Online provider approval process. Do you need to be approved?
  2. Funding for online courses. How to qualify for funding.
  3. Model policy and procedures. Developed by OSPI and WSSDA for your use.
  4. Model provider agreements. Developed by OSPI to use when contracting with multidistrict online school program providers.
  5. Using non-approved providers. Review the conditions and assurances that must be made.
  6. Responsibilities. Make sure you are meeting the requirements for the program type(s) you offer.
  7. Special Education guidelines. Make sure you are in compliance.
  8. Getting started with online learning (pdf). A tool to guide you through implementing an online learning program.
  9. Practices for success. Learn strategies to prepare students for online learning and set them up for success.
  10. Frequently asked questions. Find answers to a number of questions, especially those operating online school programs. Topics include:

Online provider approval process

Your district's online school program may qualify to need approval. Use the Approval Eligibility page to check. Note that even if your program doesn't need to be approved, districts are still required to incorporate the approval criteria into program design.

Learn more about the approval process and criteria in the Approval Process section. The review process is also described in WAC 392-502.

Funding for online courses

School districts may claim state basic education funding, to the extent otherwise allowed by state law, for students enrolled in online courses or programs only if the online courses or programs are:

  • Offered by an approved online provider; or
  • Offered by a school district online learning program if the program serves students who reside within the geographic boundaries of the school district, including school district programs in which fewer than ten percent of the program's students reside outside the school district's geographic boundaries; or
  • Offered by a regional online learning program where courses are jointly developed and offered by two or more school districts or an educational service district through an interdistrict cooperative program agreement.

Beginning with the 2013-14 school year, online courses or programs must be offered by an approved online provider in order for school districts to claim state funding to the extent otherwise allowed by state law. An online provider is any provider of an online course or program, including multidistrict online providers, all school district online learning programs, and all regional online learning programs. (Note that prior to the 2013-14 school year, only multidistrict online providers are required to maintain approved status.)

Districts may claim state basic education funding for non-approved providers if the course meets the criteria for district use of non-approved providers.

(The funding rules are specified in WAC 392-502-080.)

Programs that qualify as Alternative Learning Experiences (ALE) should review and comply with the Alternative Learning Experience accreditation and definition changes as per SSB 5410, Section 9. For more information about ALE, please see Guidance for ALE.