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Frequently Asked Questions about Ohio Connections Academy

Important Notices and Questions about Attendance, State Testing, and Extracurricular Activities

What is Ohio Connections Academy's attendance policy?

Ohio Connections Academy (OCA) students are required by the Ohio Department of Education to work 920 hours during a full school year.* To meet this requirement, students must work 5.5 hours and complete 4–6 self-guided lessons each school day (the number of lessons is based on the student’s current grade-level requirements), for a total of 27.5 hours and the completion of 20–25 self-guided lessons each week. OCA students are able to work any day of the week (Saturdays and Sundays included) and during the hours that work best for them. Parents/Learning Coaches will record all online and offline hours for their students when they are working on their daily self-guided lessons through Connexus®. Any additional activities cannot be recorded as hours until the student is caught up and current on all daily coursework.

* Students enrolling after OCA’s first day of school will have their total required attendance hours reduced based on their actual enrollment date.

What standardized tests are required for Ohio Connections Academy students, and where will my student be tested?

Ohio Connections Academy works tirelessly to be in full compliance with all state laws and mandates on a daily basis. According to the Ohio Department of Education, “Federal and state laws require all districts and schools to test all students in specific grades and courses. There is no law that allows a parent or student to opt out of state testing, and there is no state test opt-out procedure or form. If a parent withdraws a child from participation in certain state tests, there may be consequences for the student, the student’s teacher, and the school and district.”

Ohio Connections Academy administers the following Ohio State–Mandated tests:

  • Kindergarten Readiness Assessment — Kindergarten students only
  • 3rd Grade English Language Arts—3rd grade students
  • Ohio’s State Tests — For Students in grades 3–8
    • English Language Arts & Mathematics
    • Science (Grades 5 and 8 only)
  • End-of-Course Tests—High School Students, Class of 2018 and beyond
    • English Language Arts II, Algebra I, Geometry (or Integrated Mathematics I and II), Biology or Physical Science (Class of 2018 only), American History, and American Government
  • Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment — students identified as English-language learners
  • SAT College Readiness Exam—11th grade students
  • Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities—students completing an alternative curriculum

Mandated State Testing – Site Locations: The law states that testing sites need to be located within 50 air miles of where our students reside; however, OCA continuously strives to make state testing as stress-free as possible and will offer many test site location choices across the state. Each testing site will provide highly qualified staff members to ensure state testing runs smoothly and efficiently. SAT Testing will be located at a few specifically designated locations in some of Ohio's larger cities.

For more information, please visit the Ohio Department of Education’s state testing web page.

Is Ohio Connections Academy a general education online public school?

Ohio Connections Academy is a general education online public charter school that serves students in grades K-12 throughout the state of Ohio. The school offers a rigorous curriculum based on Ohio's Learning Standards, as well as various advanced learning options. OCA is not sanctioned as a dropout recovery school by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). If you are in need of a dropout recovery school please visit this link to the ODE's website where you may search, review and learn more about the public drop out recovery schools that are available to students in Ohio.

Can Ohio Connections Academy students participate in their district extracurricular activities?

Yes, Ohio law allows all community (charter) school students the opportunity to participate in many of their resident district extracurricular activities. Ohio Connections Academy is an authorized community school in the State of Ohio. ORC- Sec. 3313.537B.1.

According to the law, “extracurricular activity" is defined as a student activity program that a school or school district operates that is not included in the school district's graded course of study. The list of extracurricular activities will vary by school district and parents should check with their resident district to confirm which specific activities are offered and their student is eligible to participate in. ORC- Sec.3313.537A

What about interscholastic athletics?

Yes, Ohio allows community school students the opportunity to participate in resident district sports. Students would still need to meet the eligibility and transfer law requirements defined by the Ohio High School Athletic Association along with any resident district rules. The student would then need to tryout and make the team.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has provided official guidance on Community School students' opportunity in high school and middle school to participate in interscholastic athletics. View the guidelines for participation.

Additional FAQs

To get the information you need from all of our Ohio eSchool FAQs, click on one of the questions listed below.

What is Ohio Connections Academy?

Ohio Connections Academy (OCA) is a tuition-free K–12 public virtual school that students attend from home. It brings a fully accredited public education directly to your family’s door—anywhere in Ohio. Learn more.

How much does online school cost?

At OCA, students receive a great public online education at no charge. There are no materials fees and no tuition charges.

What grades does Ohio Connections Academy serve?

Ohio Connections Academy serves grades K–12.

How is Ohio Connections Academy (OCA) different from other online K–12 schools in Ohio?

Ohio Connections Academy is the only program of its kind to be accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC), an accrediting division of Cognia, formerly AdvancED. Many parents who have explored other online K–12 schools in Ohio also say OCA provides more intensive teacher support and better technology tools to truly personalize the educational program for your child.

Does Connections Academy provide services and accommodations for students with disabilities?

For students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) Connections Academy provides a continuum of virtual special education services that range from consultation, curriculum accommodation and modification, collaboration with learning coaches and general education teachers, to virtual direct instruction. Connections Academy provides students with IEPs with related services that may include virtual speech language and virtual occupational therapy, as determined by the IEP team. For eligible students with disabilities who do not require special education, Connections Academy develops (as needed) and implements Section 504 plans that detail appropriate accommodations and modifications..

How does Ohio Connections Academy support students with disabilities?

Federal law requires Ohio Connections Academy to provide its students, regardless of disability, with an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the school’s education program. Ohio Connections Academy is committed to providing its students with equal access to its education program. We provide students with accessibility through resources tailored to each student’s individual abilities and needs, including assistive technologies and individualized support. If your student is in need of assistance in order to fully participate in Ohio Connections Academy's education program, please contact the school's special education directors for information about special education or section 504's at rmanakkal@oca.connectionsacademy.org. You can also obtain 24-hour technical support by calling the Accessibility Hotline at 888-639-5960.

What technology is provided in Ohio?

By law, all students in Ohio are eligible to receive the loan of a laptop computer. Each family that requests technology also receives a subsidy for Internet access. See the Technology section of the website for details.

How do I request a transcript?

Complete this form to request an official school transcript. Fax or mail this form to Ohio Connections Academy. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Can my student earn college credits at OCA?

Students at OCA have many opportunities to prepare for the college experience. Learn about OCA's College Board-approved Advanced Placement courses and College Credit Plus program.

Has any educational organization ever evaluated the program and its curriculum?

Ohio Connections Academy school is accredited by  The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Connections Academy is a division of Connections Education, which is accredited by Cognia, formerly AdvancED.

How does OCA compare to other e-schools?

OCA has been the highest performing e-school in Ohio for more than 7 years running. In 2015, OCA received the Momentum Award from the State Board of Education, which recognizes schools for exceeding expectations in student growth.

How does Ohio Connections Academy evaluate students entering their first year of primary education?

Ohio Connections Academy recommends an evaluation of students enrolling in Kindergarten or first grade for the first time to determine his or her needs. Read more about the process of evaluation on the Title Programs Compliance page or contact your school counselor to learn more.

How do I enroll my student in online school?

To start the enrollment process for Ohio Connections Academy, please review the information for the relevant school year in which you would like to enroll here, then proceed to Get Started.

How does OCA work with students who speak languages other than English?

At OCA, a student's ability to speak English will be assessed (if it has not already been assessed by his or her previous school) before the student is assigned to the TESOL (Teacher of English to Speakers of Other Languages).

All students are placed within the general curriculum and receive supplemental support from an English Language Teacher. Depending on the student's age, grade level, and ability, he or she will be placed in a small group or one-on-one LiveLesson session with the English Language Teacher two to three times per week. Support sessions with core content teachers will be arranged as needed. The length of the LiveLesson sessions will vary based on the student's age and ability.

The English Language Teacher will work with the student's core content teachers to adapt the curriculum pacing to the student's ability level and to ensure that it is still challenging for the student, yet encourages growth.

Read additional Connections Academy FAQs