Barbara Dreyer, Connections Education Founder and CEO, Wins AdvancED’s 2011 Excellence in Education Award

“Corporation and Distance Learning Excellence in Education Award” from K–12 Accrediting Organization Cites Leadership, Innovation in Online Learning

Barbara Dreyer portrait

BALTIMORE, MD (May 18, 2011)—Barbara Dreyer, co-founder and CEO of Connections Education, a leading provider of K–12 online learning solutions, has been honored by AdvancED with its 2011 Excellence in Education Award. AdvancED awarded Dreyer its “Corporation and Distance Learning Excellence in Education Award,” saluting the virtual education leader for her “unparalleled leadership in promoting and advancing excellence” in online learning.

AdvancED is the worldwide leader in educational accreditation and research. The organization introduced its Excellence in Education Awards in 2009 to recognize individuals for their achievements in education. Nominees were judged on a variety of criteria, including: generating a common vision and mission for higher expectations among students, faculty, and the education community; demonstrating a record of significant and distinguished contribution to the education profession; providing a lasting positive impact on student learning; serving as a role model and mentor for students and/or future generations of educators; and making a significant professional contribution to the organization.

Ms. Dreyer won AdvancED’s 2011 Excellence in Education Award in recognition of her leadership, commitment and vision that have made possible the remarkable growth of not just Connections Education, but the entire virtual K–12 public education field. A pioneer in virtual public education, Ms. Dreyer has consistently been an advocate for expanding access to online learning for students in grades K–12. She has also long promoted the need for high standards and transparency and accountability for virtual schools. Ms. Dreyer was one of the first to strongly advocate for accreditation as a benchmark for quality for virtual school providers and for individual virtual school programs.

“I am extremely honored by this award and thank AdvancED for this recognition, which I accept on behalf of all of the teachers, administrators and corporate staff nationwide who work with Connections Academy and Connections Learning programs  to make a positive impact on their students’ lives,” Ms. Dreyer commented. “I applaud AdvancED for its commitment to establishing industry standards in the area of accreditation for virtual public education, and look forward to our continued collaboration to ensure quality online learning solutions for all students.”

Since 2001, Ms. Dreyer has promoted quality virtual education and been a driving force in establishing industry standards in the areas of accountability, accreditation, teacher quality and professional development. When she helped to launch the first two Connections Academy schools a decade ago, the concept of a high quality, highly accountable virtual public education was a novelty to many parents and educators. Today, Connections Academy schools have a well-established track record for delivering academic and emotional success for a wide range of students, and with this achievement have redefined the very notion of public education. In the 2011–2012 school year, 23 Connections Academy schools expect to serve approximately 40,000 K–12 students across 22 states.

While expanding the national network of Connections Academy schools, Ms. Dreyer has also grown the size and scope of the company, to meet the burgeoning demand for quality K–12 online learning products and services. The company recently renamed itself Connections Education, to reflect the expanded depth and breadth of the company’s virtual education offerings. The company’s Connections Academy full-time virtual public schools continue to operate under the same name. A new division, Connections Learning, serves educational institutions and other organizations, both in the U.S. and internationally, with e-learning solutions such as hybrid and blended programs, online summer school, online courses, and more. The company’s online private school, Pearson Online Academy, continues to serve students nationwide. Yet as Connections Education expands, its mission remains the same—to advance quality education through technology and to help students reach their potential.

About Connections Education
Connections Education is a leading, fully-accredited provider of high-quality, highly accountable virtual education solutions for students in grades K–12. Since 2001, the company’s Connections Academy division has delivered individualized learning to students through virtual public schools and a private online academy. In the 2011-2012 school year, 23 Connections Academy virtual public schools will operate in 22 states and expect to serve more than 40,000 students from across the U.S. The Connections Learning division meets the needs of schools, school districts, and other institutions looking to develop and enhance their online learning programs.  Connections Learning delivers a full range of targeted digital learning solutions to the K–12 education community including online courses, a program for homebound students, a digital learning platform, and more.  More than 300 schools, school districts, state departments of education and other educational institutions, serving tens of thousands of students throughout the United States and beyond, are already utilizing Connections Learning products and services. Connections Education is committed to expanding quality education through technology and helping students achieve both academic and personal success.