Headshot of Ms. Blankinship

Jennifer Blankinship

Special Education Teacher

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, Northern Arizona University; Master of Arts, Education, New Mexico State University; Teacher Certification, Special Education, Santa Fe Community College            

Jennifer Blankinship started her teaching career in 2017 at New Mexico Connections Academy. She joined Iowa Connections Academy in 2023, where she teaches special education to students in elementary and middle school. 

Why She Became a Teacher

According to Ms. Blankenship, “I didn’t become a teacher through a traditional pathway. I started with a degree in psychology and worked as a certified pharmacy technician for many years. I always thought I might become a teacher, but it wasn’t until I went through struggles with two of my own kids that I knew I wanted to help other families navigate their way through special education. 

“I then went back to school to get a master’s in education followed by my certification in special education. . . . Students are my favorite part of the job. . . . I love getting to know them and help them succeed!” 

The Online School Experience at Iowa Connections Academy

Reports Ms. Blankenship, “I like to start out the school day by having a good ‘dad joke’ to get students laughing or have a rebus puzzle to get them thinking in a fun way. I also like using [an innovative teaching platform called] Nearpod. It allows students to have a more interactive experience. 

“At Iowa Connections Academy, students take control of their learning. This helps teach them how to be self-disciplined, which in turn will help them learn how to be productive and responsible adults.”

Message for Families Interested in Online School

If there’s one thing Ms. Blankenship would tell parents thinking of enrolling a child in this school, it’s that “the most wonderful thing about being here is having the ability to be flexible with your student’s schedule. It does take more self-discipline, but by having a routine you will help make your student successful.” 

Students who might be shy or have had trouble in a brick-and-mortar school feel more free to open up online.

— Ms. Blankenship

Ms. Blankenship’s Personal Interests

According to Ms. Blankenship, “I like to travel and/or explore where I live. I also enjoy hiking, swimming, biking, and movies.”