Frequently Asked Questions
Evaluating Our Program
Enrolling in Connections Academy
What is Connections Academy?
Connections Academy provides a new form of free public school that students attend from home or another location outside a traditional classroom. This is a unique program that combines the strong parental involvement of home schooling, expertise and accountability, and a flexible learning environment. Connections Academy provides all the tools and support students need to learn in the non-classroom setting. We currently operate schools in many states.
What grades does Connections Academy serve?
Connections Academy serves students in grades K–12 in most schools. Check your school's home page on this website to find out more.
How much does the program cost?
The program is free, including all of the books and curriculum. The only costs are the optional field trips, which are organized by your school's Community Coordinators and staff, and the replenishment of some school supplies, such as printer cartridges.
What does a Connections Academy family receive?
First-Class Curriculum: Our program features curriculum developed by leading educational publishers. Connections Academy families receive a combination of textbooks*, online textbooks, and workbooks, comprehensive lesson plans, and exciting enrichment courses.
High-Quality Teaching: Connections Academy's professional teachers work one-on-one with students and their parents to instruct, review assignments and customize the curriculum, including extra help for struggling or gifted students.
State-of-the-Art Technology: Families receive a computer, printer, and subsidy for Internet access**; online communication, planning, and learning management tools; online lessons and library resources; and technology literacy courses.
Community Connections: Connections Academy facilitates numerous activities, online, and in person. Community coordinators and school staff members plan field trips, special projects, and group meetings with other families in your area.
What curriculum does Connections Academy provide?
Connections Academy provides comprehensive lesson plans online and, for many courses, in print, along with exciting elective courses. Our proven curriculum incorporates materials developed by leading educational institutions as well as lessons and other resources developed by Connections Academy curriculum specialists. The curriculum providers include McGraw-Hill, Prentice Hall, Houghton Mifflin and The Calvert School to list just a few. Learn more about our curriculum.
What subjects does Connections Academy offer?
Connections Academy offers Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Geography. Our curriculum also includes Art, Physical Education, Music, Home Life, Foreign Language, Technology Literacy, and other enrichment courses. Course offerings vary by state and grade level.
Has any educational organization ever evaluated the program and its curriculum?
AdvancED has accredited the Connections Academy program.
How much time do students spend on the computer?
The amount of time a student spends on the computer varies by grade. Younger students spend approximately 10%, middle school students spend about 30%, and high school students spend about 50% of their time working on the computer.
What computer skills do Connections Academy students and Learning Coaches need?
Students and Learning Coaches do not need advanced computer skills to attend Connections Academy schools. We make it easy to become completely familiar with our system by providing orientation courses to students and parents. Connections Academy also provides a supplementary technology literacy program that allows students to develop additional technology skills.*
*Time on the computer may vary based on the use of print textbooks or online textbooks. The availability of print textbooks varies by state and course.
What do current parents think about Connections Academy?
Every year we ask Connections Academy families to rate our program. During the 2010-11 school year,
- 97% agreed or strongly agreed that the curriculum is high quality.
- 95% agreed that the students are satisfied with the Connections Academy program.
- 95% were satisfied with the helpfulness of their teachers.
- 95% agreed that using our Education Management System (EMS) is improving their learning experience.
- 96% were satisfied with the variety of the learning activities provided by our program (computer-based, textbooks, project, etc.).
- 94% recommended Connections Academy to others.
Can I get in touch with a current parent?
Yes, we encourage you to contact a Connections Academy parent to share their perspectives on our program. Go to the Contact a Parent section of the website to access the backgrounds of several Connections Academy parents. If you would like to get in touch with one of the parents, complete the online form provided, and we will arrange an email or phone call.
Are there opportunities to meet other Connections Academy families?
Yes. Connections Academy understands the importance of students and parents interacting with others in the program and in the community. We facilitate numerous activities, online and in person. Community coordinators and school staff plan field trips, special projects, and group meetings with other families in your area. Online discussion groups and private email system allow you to communicate with other students or parents from all Connections Academy schools.
Will my child be required to take standardized tests, and where?
Yes. All students must complete the standardized tests that are required in their state or district. We also provide a test preparation program to develop the skills that students will need to perform well on many types of assessments. Your Connections Academy school will arrange testing locations throughout the state and will inform you in advance of where and when your child is scheduled to attend.
How do I enroll in Connections Academy?
Visit your school's enrollment page and initiate your enrollment. After you complete the initial steps, a Connections Academy Enrollment Counselor will guide you through the rest of the enrollment process.
When does the school year start and end?
School year start and end dates vary by school. Check your school's home page for the correct start and end dates.
Can I enroll my child after the school year has started?
Yes, in many states you can enroll after the start of the school year. Most schools have enrollment deadlines at some point during the year, however. Check your school's home page for more information, or call us for a consultation, particularly if you want to start late in the school year.
Can my child attend the program part-time or during the summer?
The Connections Academy public schools are offered on a full-time basis. International Connections Academy, our accredited online private school, offers a part-time program and online summer school in addition to a full-time program.
Are Connections Academy schools non-profit?
Connections Academy public schools are operated under contract to non-profit organizations that are either charter schools, school districts, or governmental entities. National Connections Academy is a private school.
Is the Connections Academy program homeschooling?
Although Connections Academy and homeschooling have some similar attributes, Connections Academy is not homeschooling. All Connections Academy schools are public school programs. Connections Academy schools provide a defined set of curriculum materials that have been specifically aligned to local standards and use certified teachers to evaluate student performance, including decisions concerning the child's grade level promotion. All Connections Academy students are required to take state standardized tests and the schools are accountable for the students' performance to regulatory authorities.
What hardware and software do I need to access the Connections Academy educational management system?
There are some specific software requirements necessary to use our educational management system. Please refer to our system requirements page for complete details.
Will I need to purchase books or materials for courses?
No, all required books and instructional materials for courses are provided to students. Some texts are provided online and other texts are in print form.
What does Connections Academy do to help students remain safe while participating in this program?
Connections Academy knows that for students to achieve at the highest levels, they need not only a great academic program, but the freedom to learn in a safe and comfortable setting. Parents and Learning Coaches also play a key role creating this environment to assure their child’s well-being. Together, we can provide a great virtual school experience in which our students can thrive. Below are some of the most important resources we provide to ensure students are safe and focused on learning:
All Connections Academy-provided computers are equipped with heightened Internet security settings and Internet filtering software that can be activated upon request by calling the Technical Support line at 800-382-6010. If you are using your own computer, Technical Support can help you configure Internet security settings and find additional Internet filtering software.
We provide an Internet Safety Course for students and parents and Learning Coaches, which contains valuable information about practicing safe behaviors online. This course is also required training for all Connections Academy school staff.
Staff trainings regarding student safety are a critical part of the Connections Academy professional development plan. The Connections Academy course, Students in Distress: Recognizing and Responding, is designed to help teachers and other school staff become familiar with the signs of distress such as bullying/cyber bullying, neglect and abuse, depression or other issues that would keep them from doing their best and to know how to respond promptly and professionally.
Regular, required contacts between teachers and students help teachers get to know each student individually. Educators who know their students are better able to note behaviors or attitudes that may indicate problems.
Connections Academy strictly prohibits any form of bullying/cyber bullying, harassment, hazing, or other destructive actions that may cause emotional and/or physical harm to students. School policies regarding these prohibited behaviors are documented in the School Handbook: General Portion and the State Specific School Handbook Supplement.
Each Connections Academy course contains a summary of web links for that course so parents and Learning Coaches can quickly and easily review all sites their student may access from each course, and note any links that they may not wish to have their student access.
What are the job opportunities at Connections Academy?
We are always looking for hard-working, dedicated individuals to join our team. Please review our current openings to see if a position is available near you. We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer.
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