Online Learning Helps Students Balance Schoolwork and Stardom

--Connections Academy students share their experiences during Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) panel--

Children in front of ASCD logo

Los Angeles, CA — On Monday, March 17, 2014, students from schools supported by Connections Academy in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina spoke at the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) national conference in Los Angeles to share their experiences balancing virtual education and performing arts. The panel, titled “Actors and Dancers and Artists, Online: Prodigies Speak Out About Virtual School,” was moderated by Mickey Revenaugh, co-founder of Connections Academy and executive vice president of Connections Learning by Pearson. The student panelists discussed the curriculum and flexibility of a virtual school and how they manage their academic schedules while pursuing extra-curricular activities that require a significant amount of time outside traditional school hours.

Participants of the panel included Colin Miller, actor from South Carolina Connections Academy, Sean Van Meter, musician from Georgia Connections Academy, as well as Florida Virtual School Full-Time students, dancer River McBride and her musician sister Zoe McBride. The panelists explained a typical day as virtual students, including their flexible school schedules, and how they manage to make time for demanding auditions and performances. “I typically have close to 20 shows per month,” said piano player Sean Van Meter who has such a close relationship with his Connections Academy teachers he even played the piano at his teacher’s wedding. “I’ve had lots of opportunities because of virtual school that I never would have had before.

Students shared their stories of defying the socialization stereotype of online schools and the opportunities provided by Connections Academy to interact with their teachers and peers including field trips, LiveLesson® sessions and virtual office hours. Student River McBride shared, "My hometown teacher is awesome. She responds to my questions so quick, sometimes within seconds!" Learning Coaches—parents, or other adult caretakers—in attendance also expressed their gratefulness for the individualized lesson plans, the ability for students to work above their grade level, and the close interaction they have with their student’s teachers. “I have a better connection with teachers than ever before,” said Colin’s Learning Coach and mother. Moderator Mickey Revenaugh added: “Schools supported by Connections Academy follow public school [requirements], the only difference is students don’t report to one building—school comes to them.”

About Connections Academy
Connections Academy is a leading provider of high-quality, highly accountable virtual schooling for students in grades K through 12. Through tuition-free public schools, and full-time and part-time private school programs, Connections Academy delivers superior, personalized education for students, with the freedom and flexibility to experience our online learning community from anywhere. The combination of certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education. Among the schools supported by Connections in the 2013–14 school year are 25 Connections Academy virtual (online) public schools that operate in 23 states. It serves students worldwide through the online private school, International Connections Academy. Connections Academy offers grades K through 12, though some public school programs do not offer all grades. For more information, call 800–382–6010 or visit Connections Academy and its parent company, Connections Education, are part of the global learning company Pearson (NYSE:PSO).