A boy and a girl work together on a laptop

Mary Hall

Sally and her son Jacob

Mary Hall is the mother of Elizabeth, a high school student at Minnesota Connections Academy (MNCA). Her family was researching alternatives to a bricks-and-mortar school when they discovered MNCA. She shares her story below:

“Though Elizabeth had wonderful teachers at her former school, the classroom had a large number of students, and she was becoming increasingly disengaged from school, sometimes literally falling asleep in class. Switching to Connections Academy has worked well for her because the curriculum provides a fairly comprehensive structure that we can augment depending upon what captures Elizabeth’s attention. She can spend more time on a lesson if needed and zoom ahead if she comprehends the subject matter quickly. Schooling from home allows more leeway in her schedule so she can pursue musical interests (bagpipes, Latvian kokle), travel, get involved in extracurricular activities, and just relax with friends.

Elizabeth is doing very well at Minnesota Connections Academy because she is part of a team. Her teachers have been excellent. They work hard and clearly care that the students are successful and enjoy school.

As a Learning Coach, I will sum up some important things I have learned and that I recommend to help families achieve their goals at an online school:

  1. Every year your student gets older, has different challenges, and encounters a large amount of new information. Find a balance in your coaching that helps your student stay organized, on track, and still growing in independence.
  2. Students need coaching on how to communicate with teachers in a polite, friendly, and efficient way. This is a learned task, and one that is essential.
  3. Read the directions—both you and your student! As a project nears completion, reread the directions with your student to ensure the goals are being met. This promotes discussion of the subject matter, which is very beneficial for your student because it helps make the material more ‘real.’
  4. In your job as a Learning Coach, take the time to know what is happening in each class. A student will not be successful if they are simply plunked in front of a computer and totally left to their own devices.

Connections Academy is a team effort, and with Learning Coach involvement and effective student communication with teachers, your student can enjoy school while they learn a whole lot!”

Elizabeth is doing very well at MNCA because she is part of a team. Her teachers have been excellent.
— Mary