Keeping Online School Students Connected
Even in virtual school, Minnesota Connections Academy (MNCA) students are connected to a community. They meet regularly in online LiveLesson® sessions and have opportunities to share ideas, compare experiences, and have fun learning together with other members of their community. Students are always able to choose the level of social interaction they’re comfortable with—whether in a Connections Academy online club or in their own community.
MNCA offers many ways for virtual school students to meet and learn through field trips, online school clubs, talent networks, and special school events. These socialization opportunities give students a chance to explore the world around them and form friendships with other students. They also help students in our online learning community gain social confidence, learn teamwork, and develop leadership and communication skills. And, they’re just plain fun!
Allowing Flexibility for Extracurriculars
Many students attending MNCA are busy with activities in their communities. As students of an online charter school, they are not eligible to participate in sports or extracurricular activities in their local school district, but our program gives them the scheduling flexibility to take advantage of opportunities through other community organizations. Many students participate in club or travel sports, volunteering, scouting, 4-H, community theater, performing arts, or faith-based activities. We encourage every student to find and explore interests outside of the classroom that also help build confidence and character.
Working with Families
Families are a crucial part of an online student’s educational experience. We recognize that the same routine does not work for every student and family. That’s why MNCA gives you the freedom to design a schedule that may include volunteer work, sports, performing arts, and other pursuits.
Parents, in particular, perform a very important role, as they often play the role of the Learning Coach, keeping their student on track and regularly communicating with teachers.
Families can connect with teachers, school counselors, community coordinators, and other parents both online and in person through:
- Open houses and Learning Coach training online and at local teaching centers
- Secure Message Boards where parents can post questions, tips, and resources for helping students succeed
- The Virtual Learning Connections blog, where Learning Coaches find tips and information about a variety of topics for busy virtual schooling families
- Club ORANGE, a network of Minnesota Connections Academy parents who are highly involved in the MNCA community
Participating in the Online Learning Community at Large
At MNCA, we also want students to understand that they’re a part of a broader virtual learning community. So, with help from Learning Coaches and community coordinators, we arrange volunteer activities and participation in other community events throughout Minnesota.