ABC News and The Wall Street Journal Feature Virtual School

Highlight Benefits like Convenience, Cost-Savings

ABC News and The Wall Street Journal recently featured stories about online, virtual, schools like Connections Academy -- a growing trend in public education.

BALTIMORE, April 16, 2009 — The Wall Street Journal and ABC News recently featured stories about families choosing to enroll children in virtual public schools like Connections Academy ( Connections Academy is a virtual public school (also known as an online school, cyber school, or e-school) that delivers a high-quality, personalized education to students at home or other location outside the traditional classroom. Enrollment in Connections Academy for the 2009-2010 school year is going on now. Learn more about Connections Academy at

ABC News reported on the growing popularity of virtual school and how it is the right fit for some families. Connections Academy schools serve students in kindergarten through 12th grade with a high-quality, tuition-free, highly accountable program. The virtual school program serves a wide range of students, including those who are significantly ahead or behind in the classroom, students who benefit from highly individualized instruction, or students who want a more flexible school schedule. The school also appeals to previously home-schooled students and students who, for a variety of reasons, are better served outside the traditional classroom.

The Wall Street Journal article highlighted the cost-savings benefits of virtual education. With families now looking for every possible way to trim spending and cut back on monthly expenses, many with children in private schools are switching to virtual school like Connections Academy to eliminate the cost of tuition. Because Connections Academy is a public school, it is tuition-free. In the 2008-2009 school year, more than a million American K-12 students received some or all of their public school educations virtually, a 47% increase since 2005-2006. (Source: Sloane Consortium)

ABC News featured a family in Georgia, and The Wall Street Journal profiled the Ridenour family of Ohio, whose children attend Ohio Connections Academy, part of the national network of Connections Academy schools.

Parent Mary Anne Ridenour noted in the Wall Street Journal article that her primary motive for switching to the Ohio Connections Academy virtual school was finding a high-quality educational alternative for her children.  In addition, she observed that she is “saving $7,000 to $10,000 a year per child by switching to the virtual school.”  As Ms. Ridenour noted, these savings come from eliminating expenses such as:

  • private school tuition
  • private school uniforms
  • clothing—not being in classroom setting means her kids feel less pressured to have the most expensive, “coolest clothes”
  • gas—mom used to drive kids to school to spare them the long bus ride
  • school lunches—kids eat at home, plus kids eat healthier food
  • doctor bills—the kids rarely go to the doctor as kids don’t get sick, since they don’t pick up sicknesses that go around schools
  • upgrade to high speed internet—the Ridenour family previously had a dial-up connection, but the tuition-free Connections Academy virtual public school provides an Internet subsidy for a broadband connection (in most states) and
  • upgrade to top of the line computers—Connections Academy virtual school provides computers in most states

Parents from across the country praise the Connections Academy educational program, its exceptional certified teachers, and high-quality curriculum:

"The most important reasons that we chose Connections Academy were a combination of having support from certified teachers, AdvancED accreditation, learning can take place at home, and our child can move ahead at her own pace. Also, the education was personalized and the curriculum was top-notch."
- Connections Academy parent

“The Connections Academy program has helped my child one hundred percent. She has straight A's this year and her attitude towards learning has improved. She has a wonderful teacher and support staff. It has been one of the great blessings in our lives this year."
- B. Moore-Pontius, parent

“Connections Academy has brought my family into a world of enjoyable learning. The stress that once burdened my children has been lifted and now my children are learning at their own pace and retaining what they have learned. The teachers and staff are very helpful and are there for our children no matter what.”
- A. Hicks-Candler, parent

About Connections Academy
Connections Academy is a leading national provider of high-quality, highly accountable virtual public schools in fourteen states operated in partnership with charter schools, school districts, and state departments of education. Connections Academy schools deliver top quality, personalized education for students that combines certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences to create a supportive and successful environment for children who want an individualized approach to education. In Connections Academy's Personalized Performance Learning® approach, students use daily lesson plans and curriculum materials provided by Connections Academy. Teachers develop a learning plan for each student, utilizing a proprietary, web-based Learning Management System to deliver, track, and administer the learning. In 2008-09 Connections Academy serves students in Arizona, California (Southern and Central), Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri (through the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program), Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin. Connections Academy offers grades K through 12, though some schools do not offer all grades. For more information, call 800-382-6010 or visit