Florida Connections Academy Approved as District Virtual Instruction Program Provider

One of Only Two Providers Approved by Florida Department of Education Under Rigorous New Evaluation Criteria, Among Nation’s Most Stringent

BALTIMORE, MD (April 12, 2013) Connections Education, a leading virtual education provider, has announced that Florida Connections Academy (FCA) has been approved by the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) as one of only two virtual instruction program providers approved to directly serve Florida’s public school districts. The term of the approval is the next three school years, 2013–2016. FCA’s approval is notable because the FLDOE has instituted rigorous new evaluation requirements to select providers based on legislation enacted over the past two years that are among the most comprehensive in the nation. FCA applied, and was approved to serve students in grades K–8.

Florida state law in 2009 established a requirement for all school districts to provide a full-time virtual instruction program to their public school students in grades K–12. Districts have a variety of options to provide this program for their students, including contracting with a provider approved by the state. Under this law, the FLDOE is required to provide school districts with a list of providers approved to offer virtual instruction programs. 

“We are very proud that Florida Connections Academy has been chosen by the Florida Department of Education as one of only two approved district virtual instruction program providers, under its new evaluation criteria,” commented Connections Education co-founder and chief executive officer Barbara Dreyer. “We applaud the Department for its thoughtful approach to the evaluation and assessment of virtual learning programs. The FLDOE continues to play an important leadership role in this critically important arena of virtual public education, and with its new virtual provider evaluation requirements, has set the standard for other states to follow.”

The FLDOE’s naming of FCA as an approved provider reflects FCA’s long history of successfully serving Florida students:  

  • In 2008, FCA had already served Florida students for five years, when it joined forces with Florida Virtual School to offer a full-time online school option to students in grade K–5.
  • In 2011, the alliance was renamed Florida Virtual School Full-time and began serving students in grades K–12, with Florida Connections Academy providing FLVS with most of the teaching and curriculum for grades K–8, and Florida Virtual School providing the teaching and curriculum for grades 9–12. All grades are delivered using the Connections Education proprietary Connexus® education management system. 

“Florida Virtual School congratulates Florida Connections Academy on its approval as a virtual instruction program provider to districts,” said Julie Young, president and chief executive offer for Florida Virtual School. “This honor is a wonderful acknowledgement of Florida Connections Academy’s long-standing commitment to providing high quality virtual public education to Florida families.”

“I want to congratulate all our teachers, counselors, educators and staff members, without whose talent, dedication and hard work, winning this honor would not be possible,” observed Esilda Ross, FLVS FT principal for grades K–8. “This public recognition from the FLDOE is their accomplishment.”

About Connections Education
Connections Education is a leading 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 2012-2013 school year, 24 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. Connections Education is part of the global learning company Pearson (NYSE:PSO).