Stephanie Smeja is a science teacher at Arkansas Connections Academy (ARCA). She joined Arkansas Connections Academy in 2018 but has been teaching since 2010. She earned her bachelor of science in middle-level education, as well as a master of science in educational theory and practice, from Arkansas State University. She shares her story below:
“I was the one who would take a zero on an assignment because I was so afraid to get in front of the class, even if I had the project done. The feeling stayed with me. I decided to become a teacher because I understand feeling like something is impossible or too difficult to overcome. I want to help students overcome that feeling.
I really love the people at ARCA. Everyone is welcoming, staff and families alike. The benefit of teaching at an online school is that there is much more opportunity to assist students one-on-one, so I can spend my time helping individuals and families in a more personalized way, rather than trying to take a one-size-fits-all approach.
ARCA provides a wide variety of educational experiences, from the core curriculum to the impressive array of electives to fit any interest. With field trips and personalized help, the school is designed to meet state requirements while inspiring students’ interest. The school community is special because the unique environment allows for closer relationships between the school and families. In a typical brick-and-mortar school, teachers may see students every day, but because many students need attention, it is very difficult for teachers to check in with each student and family regularly. Our schedule is designed so that we can do just that.”
Outside of work, Ms. Smeja enjoys spending time with her son, husband, and dog. They like to stay busy and take advantage of all the great trails in and around northwest Arkansas to go walking and biking, along with all the other great activities the state of Arkansas has to offer.
ARCA can provide a path to support the individuality of your child and help him or her grow and succeed through personalized support.