Richland online academy opens to students statewide

Now called Pacific Crest Online Academy, program will accept middle and high school students from across the state
Richland SD Pacific Crest Online Academy
Pacific Crest Online Academy (Courtesy: Richland School District)

RICHLAND, Wash. — A local school district that seized on the pandemic push for digital learning programs has now created a robust online academy that may soon attract middle and high school students from across Washington state.

Last year, when students were fully remote, Richland School District created a K-12 online learning program for families who did not want their children to go back to school in-person. The option endured during hybrid learning and even now with most students back in classrooms.

This year, officials built on the program’s success as well as the district’s wish for a dedicated online learning experience. The academy applied with the state and was accepted to be a multi-district online academy for grades 6-12, removing enrollment caps on students from outside the district.

The academy once known as Richland Virtual School is now Pacific Crest Online Academy, a new name approved by the Richland School Board that serves to attract students who do not live in the city.

District spokesman Ty Beaver says Pacific Crest will have more classes, clubs and activities:

  • Multiple secondary class offerings, including AP and Honors courses
  • Clubs, activities and other social activities
  • Monthly progress reports
  • Streamlined online learning platforms

“Our students, families and staff have worked hard during this inaugural school year to build an engaging, collaborative and welcoming learning environment,” says Principal Andre Hargunani. “We’re excited to start this next chapter of our school’s adventure and have more to join us for the ride.”

Enrollment, the district says, has steadily stayed above 500 students; many families have signed up for the next school year.

If you’d like to learn more, an information session via Zoom is set for 6:30 p.m. on May 13; details at

Pacific Crest Online Academy opens to grades 6-12 beginning in the 2021-22 school year. Plans are in the works to include K-5, too, down the line.

Nov. 2020: Richland School District fourth, fifth graders will go back to online learning only

Sept. 2020: Richland mother share difficulties with remote learning and special needs children

July 2020: Richland School District votes to start fall semester virtually

March 2020: Richland schools to close on Monday, stay closed until late April