Angela loves the flexibility, curriculum, teachers, and social opportunities that Georgia Connections Academy provides to both of her students who are in the Gifted and Talented program.
My family has been with Georgia Connections Academy (GACA) since the 2011–2012 school year. We currently have two children enrolled in the program. We chose GACA for my son in the first year it was available here in Georgia. Early on in elementary school, my son struggled with the traditional brick-and-mortar environment. He was diagnosed in first grade with ADHD. Being pressured by the school, my husband and I agreed to medicate our son in the hope that it would help him in the classroom. He was tested and was found to be on the gifted scale, but, because of his behavior, he was not accepted into the gifted program. We made the choice to pull him out of traditional school in sixth grade. After that, I homeschooled him. By this time, we had two younger children whom I was working with as well, a first grader and a three-year-old.
GACA made its debut in the year my son was going into eighth grade. He had made great progress being outside of the brick-and-mortar environment, but I was concerned that I was not covering everything required by the state of Georgia. I also worried that he would fall behind in his education. After looking into the GACA program, my husband and I made the decision to enroll our three children in kindergarten, third grade, and eighth grade. It was the best decision we made when it comes to schooling our children. My son, now a senior who is back in a traditional brick-and-mortar high school, is enrolled in all Advanced Placement classes and has a 3.8 GPA. He decided to go back to traditional school strictly because of his desire to play high school football, but the transition from GACA was made seamless by the teachers and staff at the school. I truly believe that GACA was what paved the way for his success in high school. The teachers at GACA helped him use his uniqueness to fuel his mind and challenge himself.
As for the two children I still have enrolled in the program, they are able to have the same benefits at GACA as they’d find in traditional school. Both my seventh and fourth grade students have received speech therapy via LiveLesson® sessions. My fourth grade student was recently diagnosed with ADHD, but my husband and I have been able to keep from medicating her because of the flexibility of the GACA program. Our concern for our middle daughter was that she was shy and very unsure of herself, so we were concerned that not being in a traditional school would make this worse. Quite the opposite turned out to be the case, however, since she has been able to take control of her learning. Her teachers have taught her to work to her strengths. As a result, she has come out of her bubble. She is more confident not just in school but also in every aspect of her life. She joined several clubs and was a team leader on several projects this past year.
Both of my girls are enrolled in the Gifted and Talented program at GACA even though each has a very different learning style. While my fourth grader enjoys the LiveLesson sessions as well as the online tools through Grolier Online, Discovery Education, and other educational sites, my seventh grader thrives using the lesson content and the additional reading material provided by the teachers via the message board.
As for socialization, we attend welcome events, field trips, and G-labs to visit teachers and administrators as well as the wonderful friends we have made along the way. During the week, my students stay connected with their friends via the LiveLesson sessions they attend together, WebMail, and phone.
The teacher, administrators, and other staff at GACA are wonderful. They keep in contact via phone, WebMail, and LiveLesson sessions. As the Learning Coach, I am kept in the loop daily about my children’s progress. For example, I’m told if they are struggling with a concept. There are no surprises at the end of the semester, when it is too late to go back and try to catch up on learning material that was not understood. Because the teachers do not have to worry about doing “crowd control” in a traditional classroom, they have more time to dedicate to helping your student. Our family feels truly blessed that we are able to cater to the needs of our children as well as see to it that they are getting a wonderful education. I would recommend GACA a hundred times over.