WOODINVILLE — Keaton Whittaker is not your average student. She’s been headlining in musicals in Seattle and on Broadway since she was 8. Over the years, all that performing took a toll on her school work.
“I was constantly doing shows and having to miss school and it wasn’t working. I was not there enough to be able to get a consistent education,” said Whittaker.
Her counselor at Inglemoor High School referred Keaton to Northwest Liberty School.
“The reason kids come here is we have choices. We meet a lot of student needs, students that are struggling, who need academic triage,” said Bob Hagin, founder of the school.
Hagin is a former public school teacher of 20 years from the Northshore District. He got frustrated with the system and decided to start his own school in 2008.
“What’s best for the student is what I seek, and if that means taking all your classes at Northwest, we can do that. If it means taking one, we can do that. As long as you get to the finish line, that’s the important part,” said Hagin.
John Davidson is one of those success stories. He wasn’t doing well in large class sizes and came to Northwest Liberty because he needed more one-on-one attention.
“My math ability improved exceptionally and I did two years’ worth of math in one, whereas before I could barely pass the WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning test) by the skin of my teeth,” Davidson said.
John just earned his diploma.
Since this online hybrid school opened, the on-time graduation rate at nearby Inglemoor, Woodinville and Bothell high schools has increased by 5 percent.
For Keaton Whittaker, it has allowed her to pursue her dream.
“I loved being able to go at my own pace online. I could speed up and go a little bit faster and also do it anywhere. If I was at rehearsal and I had a computer, I had school, so it was great,” she said.
Classes at Northwest Liberty School start at $149 and go up, depending on the course load needed. A 50% discount is offered to students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.