Second Graduating Class Earns High School Diploma Through Innovative Library Program

San Diego Public Library’s Career Online High School Offers Residents Brighter Future

SAN DIEGO – Last evening, Wednesday, February 3, the San Diego Public Library held a graduation ceremony for its second graduating class of the Career Online High School (COHS) program. There were six graduates with 49 students currently enrolled in the program and 23 others taking prerequisites to determine their readiness for the program. COHS is offered by the library in partnership with Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, and provides adult learners the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma and career certificate.

“The program really addresses students that have dropped out of the educational system and haven’t been able to reengage,” said Misty Jones, Library Director for the San Diego Public Library. “Students not only get an accredited high school diploma, but also a career certificate. The San Diego Public Library is proud to help students achieve their goals and succeed.”

“Governor Brown realizes the important role libraries play in California’s education system and workforce development,” said State Librarian Greg Lucas, who recognized the graduates. “Libraries have always been an integral part of the community. For those who want to complete their high school education and prepare for a career, having a library card can be their first step to success.”

Career Online High School empowers students to embrace their futures,” said Chuck Leachman, Executive Director of Strategic Accounts for Gale. “Earning a high school diploma and career certificate opens doors to better opportunities for these learners and we’re proud to work with libraries, and our partner Smart Horizons, to make this program available.”

Graduate commencement speaker Emily Kindel didn’t always like being in the classroom and found high school difficult. It was even harder to focus on school after her older brother passed away. She left school during her junior year to help care for her mom and she worked entry level jobs. But, Emily wanted a chance at a better, more secure future by completing her high school education. Now that she has her diploma Emily wants to go to college and become a marine biologist.

The San Diego Public Library (SDPL) launched Career Online High School in January 2015 following Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer’s announcement about the program at his State of the City address. The first graduation of three students was held on August 26, 2015.  COHS was made possible by a partnership with the San Diego Public Library Foundation and Gale, a leading provider of library resources and part of Cengage Learning.

Through the generous support of Library Foundation donors, scholarships are awarded for Career Online High School to qualified learners looking to earn a high school diploma and advance their careers. Once enrolled, COHS pairs each student with an Academic Coach, who offers ongoing guidance and encouragement, evaluates performance, and connects the learner with the resources needed to demonstrate mastery of the course material. Classes are supported by board-certified instructors and students have 24/7 access to the online learning platform. 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. Students are able to graduate in as few as six months by transferring in previously earned high school credits but are given up to 18 months to complete the program.

Residents can learn more about Career Online High School at San Diego Public Library or by visiting the library’s Web site at To support scholarships for local residents to take advantage of Career Online High School, you can contact the San Diego Public Library Foundation at