Alison Thomas is a K‒8 teacher at Willamette Connections Academy. She graduated from the University of Nevada in 2005 with a degree in broadcast journalism. In 2009, Ms. Thomas earned her teaching credential from Western Governors University, and then completed her master’s degree in teaching elementary reading with American Public University in 2017. She joined the Connections Academy® family in 2009, and shares her story below:
“I have spent most of my teaching career in kindergarten and first grade, and now I support Willamette Connections Academy students, families, and staff as an advisory teacher,” said Ms. Thomas. “I love the family feel of our school. We’re united as a staff to serve our families well. I also love the creativity and experience everyone brings to the table.
“What I find as a benefit of virtual school may be a surprise to most. I have built better relationships with my students and families now than I ever did in a brick-and-mortar classroom. I like getting to work with the student, parent, and sometimes extended family to find success. I also like that the parents get to witness the ‘lightbulb moments’ that we, as teachers, used to see in the classroom.
“Learning how to learn and be a successful virtual learner is a critical component to education now. I love helping students and families build good routines that they can carry with them year after year. I also love seeing the students take more and more ownership of their learning, both when they become more proficient using the computer independently and when they are able to read more. Teaching students to become their own advocates and teaching them to manage their time are skills that will help them forever.
“We would love to partner with you to educate your student, but please know it truly is a partnership. No matter the age of your student, we want and need you to be involved. The teachers will do the tough stuff, but we need you to commit to helping us help your student. Once we build that partnership, the sky is the limit.
“When I am not online with my students, families, and coworkers, you can find me out playing with my six-year-old daughter. We love to spend time with family and friends. I also love to read, work out, and travel.”
The teachers will do the tough stuff, but we need you to commit to helping us help your student. Once we build that partnership, the sky is the limit.