Rachel R

Rachael R

Learning Coach

Rachael is the mother and Learning Coach to Maddie, who is a high schooler at Maine Connections Academy (MCA). A professional surfer, Maddie spends a lot of her time at the beach training for surfing competitions. Rachael was looking for a school that would provide Maddie with more scheduling flexibility and a supportive and knowledgeable teaching staff. Her search ended with MCA, and her daughter has excelled and become a self-driven learner. Read below to hear more about their story.

When Maddie was preparing to enter middle school, Maine had not yet approved virtual schooling for the state. Our family knew we needed a flexible online schooling option that would allow us to keep up with our travel schedules, including Maddie’s competitive surfing schedule.I began evaluating several private online options such as Pearson Online Academy.

When Maine approved online schooling for the 2014–15 school year and I learned that MCA would be the first virtual school, I was thrilled. I knew that the Connections Academy curriculum and high-quality teachers would provide the caliber of education we were looking for.

[Maddie] has become much more proactive in contacting teachers when she needs help and looking ahead to her schedule to see how she should manage her time.

— Rachael

Parents of students in bricks-and-mortar schools always ask questions such as, ‘Well, what about social interaction?’ and ‘How does your daughter make friends?’ The funny thing is, when you see a group of teens hanging out together, they are all usually on their cell phones checking in on social media or sending messages to each other. Those kids may all be in the same room, but they are all using technology to stay connected with someone else. Maddie has neighborhood friends, friends from surfing competitions on both the East and West coasts, and friends from our local school district where she played lacrosse for several years—technology has helped to facilitate all those friendships.

As a Learning Coach and concerned parent, I am always checking Maddie’s planner, grades, and attendance. Since she has become a stronger and more independent online learner, however, I have been able to step back more. I still monitor progress and even help out with certain things like reviewing portfolio work, but I no longer have to make suggestions as to how she needs to approach things or organize herself. She has become much more proactive in contacting teachers when she needs help and looking ahead to her schedule to see how she should manage her time. Occasionally, I will reach out to a teacher if I have concerns or questions, but I do not feel the need to do that very often, as I feel there is plenty of communication between Maddie and her teachers.

Since MCA offers a lot of course options, including AP courses, Maddie is able to pursue her interests. As of now, Maddie is still not sure what she would like to do in the future. She loves language arts and writing, but is also interested in science. I think MCA will prepare her for whatever path she chooses.”

Rachael R and family