Annual Survey Results Reveal Why K–12 Students Attend Virtual Public Schools; Indicate Strong Satisfaction

--Connections Academy’s 2015 parent survey: 93% recommend Connections-supported schools to others, 95% say “high quality”--

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Baltimore, MD (June 17, 2015) — Connections Academy, a leading provider of fully online K–12 schools, has released results today from its annual parent survey; shedding light on why parents enroll students in online public school and how satisfied they are with the virtual school experience.

Among the top reasons families choose Connections-supported virtual public schools: 46% stated the family/student’s need for more flexibility than is possible in a traditional school; 43% want a change from their local school; 34% desire a safe learning environment (encompassing both physical and social safety); 26% of parents want more involvement with their child’s education. Other parents specifically cited health concerns, bullying, and their child’s pursuit of sports or arts as a driver for enrollment. The results are similar to last year’s findings, with some small shifts. In 2015, slightly more families indicated “flexibility” as a reason for enrollment (46% in 2015 VS 44% in 2014); slightly fewer families “wanted a change from their local school” (43% in 2015 VS 45% in 2014).

Quality and high levels of satisfaction are also key themes among the results with 93% of parents stating that they would recommend Connections Academy to other families, 95% agreeing that the curriculum is high quality, and 96% expressing satisfaction with the helpfulness of their child’s teacher. Survey data is from the 2015 Connections Academy Parent Satisfaction Survey, an annual third-party survey now in its 13th year. All families with students enrolled at the time of the survey were invited to participate; 38% of families responded to the survey, totaling more than 18,000 respondents.

In terms of letter grades, 90% of parents gave their Connections Academy online public school an “A” or “B” grade. This compares to an overall public school rating (from the 46th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools), in which 67% of public school parents gave the public school their oldest child attends an “A” or a “B” grade.*

“Beyond satisfaction as evidenced in enrollment growth, the parent survey provides vital information that helps shape the online school programs we deliver. Being responsive to families is central to our mission; we take the results very seriously,” commented Dr. Steven Guttentag, president and co-founder of Connections Academy. “Parents today have choices when it comes to K-12 education; they are forging individual education pathways that best meet the needs of their children. It’s really gratifying to hear directly from these parents that they love Connections schools, their teachers, the curriculum, and that we’re helping so many young people find success.”

In the 2014-15 school year, 29 Connections Academy-supported full-time online public schools served over 60,000 students in 25 states. The new North Carolina Connections Academy joins the list of Connections-supported schools in the 2015-16 school year. Additional highlights from the 2015 Connections Academy Parent Satisfaction Survey:

  • 91% of parents agree that their child/children are making good progress at Connections Academy
  • 89% of parents agree that their child/children are enjoying the program
  • 93% of parents agree that they are satisfied with the variety of learning activities provided by the program
  • 92% of parents agree that the program is flexible
  • 93% of parents agree that the use of technology is improving the learning experience
  • 84% of Connections Academy parents say they are more satisfied with the virtual school than their child’s previous school
  • 92% of parents agree that the teachers improve the learning experience

Overall, parents continue to give Connections Academy schools high marks for academic rigor, program flexibility, quality teachers, and for delivering high levels of student achievement. Although no individual survey responses were accessible to Connections Academy, parents were invited to share their thoughts. Selected parent quotes include:

“The teachers and support staff are wonderful. I feel like they truly care about the students and their learning. They go above and beyond to make sure the student is succeeding. This has been the best educational experience I have ever had for my children…” – Iowa Connections Academy parent

“My son is excited about learning again and his teacher is attentive and kind to him. I feel like he gets all the help he needs, I also like the flexibility of his schedule.” – Arizona Connections Academy parent

“My child enjoys the live lessons and working at his own pace. He also likes that he does not have to stop working on a lesson because the clock says it is time for another class to start.” – Oregon Connections Academy parent

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 2015 survey was conducted from January 13 to February 28, 2015 by Shapiro and 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-eight percent of the 47,000 households with students enrolled in a Connections Academy school at the time of the survey responded to the survey.

Enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year is going on now and information sessions are taking place across the country for families interested in learning more about Connections Academy virtual public schools. Visit http://www.ConnectionsAcademy.com to learn more.

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 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. In the 2015-16 school year, 30 Connections Academy-supported full-time virtual public schools will serve students in 26 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 www.ConnectionsAcademy.com. Connections Academy and its parent company, Connections Education, are part of the global learning company Pearson (NYSE:PSO).

*William J. Bushaw and Shane J. Lopez, The 46th Annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools, “Betting on Teachers.” Phi Delta Kappan, September 2014.