Tuition-Free Virtual Academy in Arkansas

Arkansas Connections Academy (ARCA) is a tuition-free virtual public school that students in grades K–10 attend from home. The school will add one grade per year, ultimately serving students in grades K–12. Working with Connections Education, which is accredited by AdvancED, ARCA brings a full-time public education directly to your family’s door—anywhere in Arkansas.

Authorized by the Arkansas Charter Authorizing Panel

Arkansas Connections Academy submitted its application for an online public charter school to the Arkansas Department of Education. On November 17, 2015, the Arkansas Charter Authorizing Panel approved ARCA. On January 14, 2016, the Arkansas State Board of Education met and approved the decision made by the Charter Authorizing Panel.



What Is A Virtual School? The Benefits of Online Learning

Get a comprehensive overview of the virtual school experience at Connections Academy schools.

The Virtual School Experience

We share a common goal with parents: to ensure that students become productive, successful, and confident adults. Arkansas Connections Academy's full-time virtual school program helps students build on their individual strengths and interests in a setting that is both safe and connected to a larger community.

Below are a few of the driving forces behind this unique approach:

Free Online Education, Outstanding Curriculum

At ARCA, students receive a great public online education at no charge. There are no materials fees and no tuition charges. Our online school classes meet and exceed all national and state standards while also integrating the best texts, materials, and resources available to create a curriculum that keeps students engaged in new and creative ways. 

Exceptional Teachers

The teachers are the foundation of the Arkansas Connections Academy experience. They are talented, passionate, certified, and specially trained to excel in online teaching. Teachers are drawn to our virtual school in Arkansas because they care about kids and believe that personalized, one-on-one instruction really works.

Individual Attention

Each and every student has unique abilities, and all students perform better when they receive individual attention in a nurturing learning environment. These guiding principles are the foundation of Connections Academy's Personalized Performance Learning® approach. Using this method, online teachers get to know the learning style, skills, and interests of each student so they can give every student the best opportunity to excel. This approach also allows students to accelerate learning in areas of strength or receive extra attention in areas of weakness.

Parent-Supported Learning

When parents take an active role in education, students prosper. As virtual school Learning Coaches, parents can be closely involved in their children’s daily education. They’re able to see real progress every day and work with dedicated teachers to keep their students on track. Parents say this involvement is one of the most gratifying aspects of an online school program.

Easy-to-Use Technology

Connections Academy’s user-friendly system, Connexus®, lets students access a welcoming and collaborative learning experience anywhere they have an Internet connection. Parents love how easy it is to schedule lessons and access grades, too!

Socialization, Community, and Friendships

Learning online doesn’t mean learning alone. Even in a virtual setting, students meet regularly in online LiveLesson® sessions and have opportunities to share ideas, compare experiences, and have fun learning together. There are even chances to attend in-person gatherings, activities, and field trips. And the flexibility of the virtual school program allows plenty of opportunities for students to pursue and explore other extracurricular activities outside of Arkansas Connections Academy or through Connections Academy's clubs!

Darla Gardner

Meet the Principal

Darla Gardner

I began my career in education 16 years ago as an elementary teacher. Over the years, I have taught various grade levels. Most recently, I was the assistant principal at Oklahoma Connections Academy. I am now thrilled to be a part of Arkansas Connections Academy (ARCA). Education is the key to our students’ success and ARCA’s virtual learning environment offers them personalized learning and flexibility so that they can achieve that success. My vision for ARCA is to work with our families in a supportive, nurturing environment as a team to help them have a rewarding academic experience.

Education:

  • BS, Elementary education, Northeastern State University
  • MEd, School administration, Northeastern State University