Alissa Graunke

Alissa Graunke

Science Teacher, Grades 9–12

Bachelor of Science in Zoology, Oregon State University; Master of Science in Biological Sciences, California Polytechnic State University; Science Teaching Credential, California Polytechnic State University  

Alissa Graunke began teaching in 2018 at a brick-and-mortar school in California. She joined Oregon Connections Academy in 2021 as a high school science teacher, and teaches environmental science, biology, and chemistry. 

Why I Became a Teacher

"I always knew I wanted to be a teacher from an early age. My mother was a teacher, so I spent a lot of time surrounded by teachers and in school buildings. I loved learning and thrived because of the connections that I had with my teachers. I was inspired by teachers’ ability to foster passion in young people so, for me, I never considered pursuing anything other than a career in education. 

The Online School Experience at Oregon Connections Academy

Online school provides such a wonderful opportunity for students. There is no bell schedule, so they can complete their schoolwork at times that make sense to them. They are much more self-reliant and can manage their own time, which is empowering. With the tools in our online platform, students can select which lessons to focus on and develop their own strategies for completing their work. Our website offers many tools and resources, and students are learning to problem-solve and answer their own questions. The amount of self-advocacy I see from my students is impressive. 

I think that peer interaction for students is incredibly important, and I incorporate those opportunities in my LiveLesson® sessions. I also offer daily office hours, which have become an additional opportunity for students to gather and hang out. I have a group of students who regularly attend office hours just to chat.  

I encourage students to try hands-on applications of what they’re learning in my science classes. I love to offer fun science experiments to try at home. I find experiments that don’t require any special equipment so that everyone has an opportunity to explore and learn. 

“I really enjoy paving the way for students to discover the many wonders of nature.” 

—  Ms. Graunke

Message for Prospective Families Choosing Online School

Online school gives young people an opportunity to take more ownership of their learning. Some might struggle with shifting the responsibility onto students, but I have seen that once students get familiar with our system, they are able to really thrive. 

Hobbies and Interests

I live in Oregon with my husband, our 3-year-old son, and our two dogs. I love being outdoors, and some of my favorite activities are hiking, birdwatching, going to the beach, and going on bike rides. I also love reading, especially fantasy and science-fiction novels. I enjoy traveling and have visited over 30 countries so far!"