Annual Parent Survey Shows Overwhelming Satisfaction with Oregon Connections Academy Virtual Public School, Teachers and Curriculum

2016 survey shows 10th consecutive year of top marks from parents & highlights top enrollment factors: families want school options, greater flexibility

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Mill City, OR (August 12, 2016) — Ninety percent of parents with students enrolled at Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA) give the online public school an “A” or “B” grade and 91% recommend the program to new families, according to results from the school's 2016 Parent Satisfaction Survey.

Now in its 10th year, the third-party survey provides valuable feedback to help tailor and improve the online school program. The 90% "A" or "B" rating by Oregon Connections Academy parents has remained steady since the survey was launched back in the 2006-07 school year.

ORCA is the state's leading tuition-free online public school serving students in grades K-12 across Oregon with a top-tier, personalized education.

Oregon Connections Academy parents say the school deserves high marks for its academic rigor, program flexibility, and the high quality of its teachers. “It’s great to see 91% of parents with students enrolled in ORCA recommending our school to other parents," said Allison Galvin, Oregon Connections Academy Executive Director. "That word of mouth is helpful to families considering enrolling their children in a virtual school.”

The 90% satisfaction rating for Oregon Connections Academy stands well above the traditional public school scores, in which only 70 percent of public school parents gave the school their oldest child attends an “A” or “B” grade, according to the 47th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools*.

The survey not only measures parent's satisfaction with their online school experience but also reveals reasons why families are choosing ORCA for their children. When asked why students were going to school completely online the top responses from families included: 46 percent wanted a change from their local school; 45 percent required or wanted greater flexibility; 35 percent wanted a safe learning environment; and 23 percent of parents wanted to be more involved in their child’s education. Other families specifically cited health concerns (20%), bullying (9%), or extracurricular activities (3%) as an incentive for enrollment.

"Our family has a wide range of needs that are all met beautifully by Oregon Connections Academy," said Preston Baxter, from Independence, Learning Coach for four ORCA students. "Some of our children work quickly and enjoy extra challenges given by their teachers, others have special needs. In all cases, our teachers and the support staff have been wonderful at helping to tailor the program to the specific needs of each of our children."

Like every school, quality teachers are vital to success. In 2016, 97 percent of Oregon Connections Academy parents reported satisfaction with the helpfulness of their child’s teacher and 94 percent of parents agreed that teachers improved their child’s learning experience.

“We are an active, outdoorsy, on-the-go family, so the flexibility of an online curriculum is tailor-made for our lifestyle," said Jen Reinmuth-Birch, from Wilsonville, Learning Coach for two students. "If we want to spend the day kayaking, or participating in a community service event, or watching a concert in the park we can do so as a family, knowing the boys have the freedom to complete their schoolwork around our priorities as a family – not the other way around."

To meet stringent state education standards, Oregon Connections Academy combines a rigorous standards-aligned curriculum with responsive and helpful state licensed teachers. This year, 95 percent of parents rated the curriculum as high quality and 91 percent of parents agreed they are satisfied with the variety of learning activities provided by ORCA.

Some of the other highlights from this year’s survey include:

  • 95% of parents say their child/children are satisfied with ORCA’s program
  • 92% of parents agree that their child/children are making good progress at ORCA
  • 92% of parents agree that the program is flexible
  • 92% of parents agree that the use of technology is improving the learning experience
  • 90% of parents agree that their child/children are enjoying the program
  • 89% of parents agree that their child is able to learn at his/her own pace

Oregon Connections Academy offers diverse course options for students, including many world languages, digital technology, career technical courses, as well as honors and AP courses. The school also offers a broad assortment of clubs, ranging from robotics and gaming to poetry and National Honor Society.

Enrollment for the 2016-2017 school year is going on now. Free information sessions, parent meetings and other events are taking place across the state for families interested in learning more about Oregon Connections Academy. For more details visit: www.OregonConnectionsAcademy.com/Events or call (800) 382-6010.

Survey methodology
Connections Academy conducts the annual Parent Satisfaction Survey to find out how parents, guardians and Learning Coaches grade the program in several key areas. The 2016 survey was conducted from January 1 to February 26, 2016 by Shapiro + Raj, an independent market research company which created the questionnaire, collected the data, and tabulated the results. No individual responses were accessible to Connections Academy. Parents of all students enrolled at the time of the survey were invited to complete the survey online. A WebMail invitation was sent to each parent, and one response per household was submitted. Thirty-six percent of the more than 44,300 households with students enrolled in a Connections Academy school at the time of the survey responded to the survey.

*Joan Richardson and William J. Bushaw, “The 47th Annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools: Testing Doesn’t Measure Up for Americans,” Phi Delta Kappan (2015): 20.

About Oregon Connections Academy
Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA) is a tuition-free, high-quality, highly accountable statewide online charter school that serves students in grades K–12. The school is authorized by the Santiam Canyon School District. All Oregon Connections Academy students participate in the award-winning national Connections Academy program that combines high-quality resources from leading publishers with cutting-edge yet easy-to-use technology and hands-on materials. Oregon Connections Academy provides students with the flexibility to learn from anywhere there is an Internet connection and with an innovative online school curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. The combination of Oregon-certified teachers, a proven curriculum, unique electives, technology tools, and community experiences creates a supportive and successful online learning opportunity for families and children who want an individualized approach to education. Oregon Connections Academy is accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), an accrediting division of AdvancED. For more information, call 800-382-6010, or visit http://www.OregonConnectionsAcademy.com.