Oregon Connections Academy Earns 'Outstanding' Grade—Highest Possible Rating—on 2008–09 School Report Card from Oregon Department of Education
Oregon's Largest Virtual Public School Also Posts Exceptional Test Scores, Surpassing State Average and Other Statewide Virtual Schools
SCIO, OR, November 12, 2009 — Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), the state’s largest virtual public school has been honored with an “Outstanding” grade—the highest possible rating—on the 2008–09 School Report Card issued Tuesday by the Oregon Department of Education. Approximately 2,500 students are currently enrolled in ORCA, which serves students from across the state.
Oregon law and the federal No Child Left Behind Act require the Oregon Department of Education to produce and issue annual Report Cards for schools and districts. Each public school in the state receives an overall rating of Outstanding, Satisfactory, or In Need of Improvement that utilizes data on:
- Student achievement
- Improvement in student performance
- Participation in statewide assessments
Included in the report card are the recently released final results from the 2008–09 Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) tests that show Oregon Connections Academy students outperforming students from the state’s other two statewide virtual schools in almost every test at every grade level and consistently meeting or beating overall state scores.
“We are thrilled that ORCA has earned an ‘Outstanding’ grade on its 2008–09 School Report Card from the Oregon Department of Education,” commented ORCA Principal Jerry Wilks. “And the timing couldn’t be better. This honor follows ORCA’s exceptional performance on the state’s standardized tests. I’m incredibly proud of our students’ academic accomplishments. But I’m not surprised that the Report Card and OAKS test results show that ORCA delivers a superior public education, since we hear this every day from our parents and students. By combining strong parental involvement, the expertise of our dedicated teachers, the accountability of publicly-funded education, and the flexibility of online classes, ORCA truly provides Oregon families with an outstanding public education alternative.”
The OAKS test results demonstrate ORCA student achievement across all tested subject areas which compare favorably to state averages and to the state’s other two virtual schools in reading, math and science.
The release of ORCA’s new “Outstanding” Report Card grade and OAKS test scores follow two other recently-issued public reports underscoring the school’s ‘gold standard’ academic performance. In June, ORCA announced it achieved 2008–09 adequate yearly progress (AYP) goals set forth under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. And an independent survey of ORCA parents revealed that 93% of parents gave the school an “A” or “B” grade. In addition, 96% of parents rated the curriculum as high quality; over 96% of parents recommend ORCA to parents with students who are not enrolled in the school.
“Over the past several months there has been a lot of legislative controversy surrounding ORCA,” noted Jeff Kropf, President of the Board for ORCA. “In July 2009 the Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 767, putting a temporary moratorium, or ‘time-out,’ on the growth of full-time virtual schools in Oregon. It also implemented an enrollment cap on ORCA and created an Online Task Force to consider additional regulations and requirements for full-time virtual schools - all of which limit school choice and the right to a quality virtual school option for Oregon families. ORCA’s Outstanding School Report Card grade and stellar OAKS test results are clear indicators that ORCA is succeeding in delivering quality education and supporting academic achievement for students from across our state. It is especially gratifying to know that the Oregon Department of Education recognizes ORCA’s accomplishments.”
About Oregon Connections Academy
Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA) is a public virtual charter school that serves students in grades K–12 throughout Oregon. The school opened in August 2005. ORCA is authorized under state law by the Scio School District 95C. The school is operated by Oregon Connections Academy, a nonprofit corporation, through a contract with Connections Academy, LLC, to provide its educational program and other services. The school is governed by an independent Board of Directors.
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 2009-10, Connections Academy will serve students in Arizona, California (Southern and Central), Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Connections Academy offers grades K through 12, though some schools do not offer all grades. Connections Academy also serves K-12 students in all states through its private virtual school, National Connections Academy. For more information, call 800-382-6010 or visit www.ConnectionsAcademy.com.