South Carolina Connections Academy Receives Palmetto Silver Award for 2012–13 School Year; Only Virtual School in the State to be Honored

Second Year School Receives Award, Recognized for Closing the Achievement Gap on State Testing


COLUMBIA, SC (April 12, 2013) South Carolina Connections Academy (SCCA), leading statewide virtual charter school, is a recipient of the Palmetto Silver Award for the 2012–13 school year. SCCA was honored by the South Carolina Department of Education for closing the achievement gap on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) in grades three through eight. 

SCCA, one of the state’s first virtual charter schools, was the only online school in the South Carolina Public Charter School District to receive an award this year. There are a total of 17 charter schools, including six virtual schools, in the public charter school district, and an additional 10 charter schools are set to open in the 2013–14 school year. This is the second year SCCA has received a Palmetto Silver Award recognition.

The Palmetto Gold and Silver Awards program (PGS) was established under the Education Accountability Act of 1998 to give recognition to schools for high levels of academic achievement and high rates of improvement. The PGS recognizes schools based on criteria in the statewide Accountability Manual approved by the Education Oversight Committee (EOC) for both general performance and work towards closing the achievement gap on the PASS. Within those two categories, a school may be awarded either the gold or silver designation. The PASS measures student performance against the South Carolina Academic Standards, and includes tests in five subject areas—writing, English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies, although not all tests are administered at every grade level.  

“We are extremely proud of the academic progress our students have made on the PASS and the gains we have made toward closing the achievement gap,” SCCA Executive Director Allison Reaves said. “Receiving this Palmetto Silver Award is a testament to our exceptional teachers and their effective instruction, as well as our highly-motivated students and their learning accomplishments. SCCA is honored to be a recipient of this award and will continue working to empower students to reach their highest academic potential.”

SCCA is a fully-online public school that delivers a high-quality, personalized education to students in grades K–12 across the entire state of South Carolina. SCCA’s full-time virtual school program combines certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences to create a supportive environment for children who want an individualized approach to education. Students work with certified teachers online and on the phone, while a parent or other adult “Learning Coach” monitors progress in the home. SCCA currently serves 3,200 students from across the state. As a public school, there are no fees to attend. Enrollment for the 2013–14 school year is currently open— students in grades K–12 from anywhere in South Carolina can enroll. 

In 2011, SCCA was awarded the Palmetto Silver Award for its performance growth on the PASS in grades three through eight. This award marked the first major academic accolade for the South Carolina Public Charter School District, which was created through the South Carolina Charter School Act and opened its first school in August 2008. 

Information sessions are underway for parents and students interested in learning more about South Carolina Connections Academy. For more information, visit www.SouthCarolinaConnectionsAcademy.com.

About South Carolina Connections Academy
South Carolina Connections Academy (SCCA) is a tuition-free, K–12 online public charter school providing a high-quality, highly accountable education option to students statewide. SCCA delivers superior, personalized education to students, with the freedom and flexibility to experience its 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. SCCA is authorized by the South Carolina Public Charter School District and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI). SCCA opened in 2008 and is one of the state’s first virtual charter schools. SCCA is one of 24 Connections Academy virtual public schools serving students in 22 states in the 2012–13 school year. In addition, Connections Academy serves students worldwide through the online private school, International Connections Academy. Connections Academy schools 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).