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Frequently Asked Questions About Great River Connections Academy

Important Notices and Questions about Attendance, State Testing, and Extracurriculuars

What is Great River Connections Academy's attendance policy?

Great River Connections Academy (GRCA) 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. GRCA 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 GRCA’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 Great River Connections Academy students, and where will my student be tested?

Great River 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.”

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

  • Kindergarten Readiness Assessment—kindergarten students
  • 3rd Grade English Language Arts—3rd grade students
  • Ohio’s State Tests—students in grades 3–8
    • English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science
  • End-of-Course Tests—high school students, Class of 2018 and beyond
    • English Language Arts I and II, Algebra I, Geometry (or Integrated Mathematics I and II), Biology or Physical Science (Class of 2018 only), American History, and American Government
    • The English I EOC exam is for students in classes 2022 or before. Students who entered ninth grade on or after July 1, 2019, are no longer required to take the English language arts I test.
  • Ohio English Language Proficiency Assessment—students identified as English-language learners
  • ACT 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, GRCA continuously strives to make state testing as stress-free as possible. In the spring of 2019, GRCA will be offering 25 testing sites across the entire state. Each testing site will provide multiple highly qualified staff members to ensure state testing runs smoothly and efficiently.

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

Is Great River Connections Academy a general education online public school?

Great River 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. GRCA 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 Great River 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. Great River 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 our Ohio online school FAQs, click on one of the questions listed below.

What is Great River Connections Academy?

Great River Connections Academy (GRCA), a tuition-free full-time public virtual charter school, has been authorized by the Ohio Council of Community Schools (OCCS) to serve students in grades K–12 throughout the state beginning in the 2018–19 school year.

How is Great River Connections Academy different from Ohio Connections Academy?

Like Ohio Connections Academy, Ohio’s highest-performing K–12 eSchool for the last seven years, Great River Connections Academy will use the nationally recognized Connections Academy® program and its award-winning curriculum, which supports Ohio Learning Standards and meets iNACOL’s National Standards for Quality Online Courses. Using the same program will enable administrators and faculty from both schools to collaborate easily and share best practices for delivering a high-quality, personalized education to Ohio students.

Great River Connections Academy and Ohio Connections Academy are separate eSchools, each overseen by its own governing board and school leader. Both virtual charter schools are authorized by the Ohio Council of Community Schools (OCCS), an organization that sponsors a combination of brick-and-mortar and virtual schools throughout the state. Drawing upon the resources of an experienced authorizer and a nationally recognized program, as well as a dedicated board and school leader, Great River Connections Academy can effectively establish and maintain the excellent educational standards Ohio parents expect.

Which students are eligible to participate in Great River Connections Academy?

Great River Connections Academy (GRCA) serves Ohio students in grades K–12. See the Eligibility section of the website for full details.

What kind of technology does my family need to participate?

Families enrolling in GRCA should visit the Hardware and Connectivity page for full details.

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, and collaboration with Learning Coaches and Connections Academy 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 Great River Connections Academy support students with disabilities?

Federal law requires Great River Connections Academy to provide its students, regardless of disability, with an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the school’s education program. Great River 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 Great River Connections Academy's education program, please contact the school’s special education director or the school’s 504 coordinator. You can also obtain 24-hour technical support by calling the Accessibility Hotline at 888-639-5960.

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

Connections Academy is a division of Connections Education LLC, which is accredited by Cognia, formerly AdvancED.

Read Additional Connections Academy FAQs