South Carolina Connections Academy Approved to Open for 2008–2009 School Year

New Public Virtual Charter School Serving Grades K–12 Students is First in State; Option for Families Seeking High-Quality, Tuition-Free, Personalized Education

Columbia (February 25, 2008) — South Carolina students will have an exciting new public school alternative this fall that delivers exceptional schooling to students in a unique “school without walls.” South Carolina Connections Academy (SCCA), South Carolina’s first statewide virtual charter school for grades K-12, was authorized earlier this month by the new South Carolina Public Charter School District. SCCA can enroll students from anywhere in the state and will offer a high-quality, highly accountable, tuition-free, public education alternative. SCCA is now accepting registrations for students entering grades K-12 in the 2008-2009 school year, who may be selected by lottery given the school’s first year enrollment cap of 500 students.

SCCA will have its administrative offices and teaching center in the Columbia area, but will serve families from across the state. Informational meetings to introduce SCCA and its curriculum to South Carolina families will be held in communities across the state and online starting in early March. Additionally, families seeking more information about SCCA can call 1-800-382-6010 or visit The school will open its virtual doors in August 2008.

SCCA is South Carolina’s first virtual charter school. It combines South Carolina-certified teachers, a standards-aligned curriculum, unique technology tools, an extensive selection of electives and clubs, and community experiences to create an individualized alternative to the bricks-and-mortar classroom. All SCCA students will participate in the nationally certified Connections Academy program that includes a print-rich curriculum that combines high quality textbooks from leading publishers with cutting-edge, yet easy-to-use, technology resources and hands-on materials. Learning from home, students will work closely with their parents, or other “learning coaches” and a licensed South Carolina teacher using detailed daily lesson plans that can be personalized to meet individual student needs.

Interaction between teachers and students will be frequent. Accountability is central to the school’s mission and students must meet the same levels of accountability and complete the same state standardized tests as traditional public school students.

“Like many states experiencing growth, South Carolina faces exceptional challenges in continuing to provide quality public education to its residents throughout the state. Since Connections Academy uses technology, we are able to bring an outstanding public education to the students – no matter where they are located. Connections Academy is uniquely suited to deliver a highly personalized program that meets the full range of student needs outside of a traditional classroom model,” said Barbara Dreyer, president of Connections Academy. “The fact that almost 3,500 families have already been in touch with us to express their interest and support is very exciting and we look forward to working with the Governing Board of the South Carolina Connections Academy to prepare for the school’s opening this August.” There are currently about 10,000 students currently enrolled in similar Connections Academy high-tech, high-touch public “schools without walls” in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland (Baltimore County), Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

Theresa Edwards, Chair of SCCA’s Charter Committee,commented, “SCCA is a groundbreaking step towards improving education in South Carolina. One of the most important things to note is that SCCA is public, tuition-free, education. Families seeking an alternative now have an option that meets the needs of their individual students. Limitations that may be imposed by location are gone; replaced by flexibility, personalization, and the highest of academic standards. My son is in a national pilot program for Connections Academy and I can tell you first hand that the school is amazing. Not only is he enjoying academic success, but he is empowered by the individual learning approach. The state heard our request for choice and took positive action -- SCCA is one of the best things to come our way in a long time. I look forward to fall with enthusiasm and encourage all South Carolina families to learn more.”

SCCA is expected to serve a wide range of South Carolina students, including those who are significantly ahead or behind in the classroom; students who would benefit from more individualized instruction; or who require a flexible school schedule.

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 unique Personalized Performance Learning® approach, students use daily lesson plans and curriculum materials provided by Connections Academy. Teachers develop a learning plan for each student, whose progress is tracked through a proprietary, web-based Learning Management System. In 2007-08 Connections Academy serves students in Arizona, California (Southern and Central), Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri (through the MoVIP program), Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Maryland (Baltimore County), Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. South Carolina will be added in August 2008. In 2008-09 Connections Academy will offer grades K through 12, though not all schools include all grades. For more information, call 800-382-6010 or visit