Frequently Asked Questions

 
 

Common Questions

Rhode Island Connections Academy is an online public school program for students in grades K‒12 who reside in the state of Rhode Island. Rhode Island Connections Academy is tuition-free for families and is funded through the local school districts in accordance with Rhode Island law. This is a unique program that combines the strong parental involvement of homeschooling, professional expertise and accountability, and a flexible learning environment. Rhode Island Connections Academy provides the tools and support students need to learn in an online setting. Learn how to register.

Families choose Rhode Island Connections Academy because they trust us to give their children a unique, personalized school experience where students can learn and grow. 

Rhode Island Connections Academy provides a complete, full-time education for children—one that includes all the core courses, electives, and social opportunities K‒12 students need. Caring teachers specialize in online learning and work with parents. Together, they set individual goals and ensure that students learn. Rhode Island Connections Academy prepares children for a bright future—whether that includes college, technical training, or career readiness. 

Connections Academy programs are committed to providing a high-quality education that is personalized to meet a student’s individual needs. Using our accessible technology, we connect parents, teachers, and students from home or anywhere there is Internet service. Additionally, families benefit from unique flexibility in creating their schedule, something that typically isn’t possible in a traditional setting. Parents are also able to control their student’s learning environment, ensuring a safe and stimulating atmosphere. Check out the Connections Academy Resource Hub to learn more about the benefits of attending an online school program.

 

  • First-Class Curriculum: Our program features curriculum developed by leading educational publishers. Connections Academy families receive a combination of textbooks*, online textbooks, workbooks, comprehensive lesson plans, and exciting enrichment courses.
  • Exceptional Teaching: Connections Academy’s professional teachers work one-on-one with students and their parents to instruct, review assignments, and customize the curriculum. Our teachers provide extra help for struggling or gifted students.
  • State-of-the-Art Technology: Families receive online communication, planning, and learning management tools; online lessons and library resources; and technology literacy courses. Families may be eligible to receive a computer and subsidy for Internet access.

* Availability of print textbooks varies by state and course.

 

 

Although Rhode Island Connections Academy and homeschooling have some similar attributes, Rhode Island Connections Academy is not homeschooling. Rhode Island Connections Academy is an online public school program. Rhode Island Connections Academy provides a defined set of curriculum materials and uses certified teachers to evaluate student performance, including decisions concerning the child’s grade-level promotion. All Connections Academy students are required to take state standardized tests.

Visit the registration page for more information.

Connections Academy is always looking for hardworking dedicated individuals to join the team. Please review the current openings to see if a position is available near you. Connections Academy is proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Tuition & Costs

As an online public school program, Rhode Island Connections Academy is free for children of Rhode Island residents. The only costs are for school supplies and optional field trips, if scheduled.

No. All required books and instructional materials for courses are provided to students. Some texts are provided online, and other texts are in print form.

Curriculum

Connections Academy provides comprehensive lesson plans online and in print, along with a number of exciting elective courses. The proven curriculum incorporates materials developed by leading educational institutions, as well as lessons and other resources developed by curriculum specialists. The curriculum is aligned to the state standards.

Connections Academy offers core courses in language arts/English, mathematics, science, and social studies. The curriculum also includes art, physical education, music, home life, world languages, technology literacy, and other enrichment courses. At many school programs, gifted and talented, honors, and Advanced Placement®* courses are available for students who qualify. Course offerings vary by state and grade level.

* AP® and Advanced Placement® are registered trademarks of the College Board. Used with permission.

Connections Education is accredited by Cognia, formerly AdvancED, an organization representing 34,000 public and private schools and districts across the United States and in 70 countries worldwide. Many of the Connections Academy–supported school programs are accredited by one or more of six regional accrediting organizations for higher education institutions recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the United States Department of Education.

The curriculum is designed by experienced leaders in online learning. It meets national and individual state standards and has earned numerous awards from national organizations for educational content and learning technology. In addition, parents consistently rate the curriculum as high quality in our annual Parent Satisfaction Survey.

Students who receive Special Education services will continue to have these services provided by their resident school district. Rhode Island Connections Academy will provide general education courses in accordance with any IEP or 504 plan shared by the resident school district with Rhode Island Connections Academy staff. 

Yes. All online public school program students must complete the standardized tests that are required in their district. We also provide a test preparation program to develop the skills that students will need in order to perform well on many types of assessments. Your Connections Academy school program will arrange testing locations throughout the state and will inform you in advance of where and when your child is scheduled to attend.

Teachers and Learning Coaches work closely together to create a unique learning environment and to set goals for their students’ learning. Teachers use an individualized approach to learning throughout the year called Personalized Performance Learning® (PPL), which allows them to evaluate the needs of a student and customize accordingly.

Registration

Visit the registration page to get started!

Connections Academy is comfortable with a ratio of 4:1 (four children to one Learning Coach). An additional adult serving as Learning Coach is recommended for more than 4 students in a household. In the event that the additional adult is not a parent or legal guardian, a Designated Learning Coach Agreement must be completed by both the parent/legal guardian and Designated Learning Coach.

Check the registration page to find the following:

  • Grades offered.
  • Any geographical restrictions for attending in your state.
  • Types of documentation that may apply to your student that may need to be submitted.

 

The term "Learning Coach" is used to represent the role that the enrolling parent/guardian plays in the student’s educational experience. The enrolling parent/guardian chooses to serve as the "Learning Coach" which may include working closely with the teacher to ensure assignments are completed, schedules are met, and students are engaged and motivated. The parent/guardian may designate another trusted adult to act as a Learning Coach by completing the Designated Learning Coach online form.

You will have access to Connexus®, our education management system, at any time of the day including weekends and holiday breaks. This level of flexibility helps you to design a learning day that works best for your family.

Communication is the most important element in succeeding with online learning. If you or your student experience any problems along the way, contact us immediately. Many kinds of support are available for students and families, including registration help, computer/technical support, academic assistance, and school counselor support. We are ready and willing to assist you—give us a call or send us a WebMail message. Communication is key throughout your entire experience with Connections Academy.

Local schools serve one district. Connections Academy serves students from multiple districts statewide. Not all districts statewide accept the same documentation.

During the registration process, submission of academic documentation such as a report card, unofficial transcript, schedule, or current progress report, helps to ensure that your student has an accurate and personalized course placement to start with Connections Academy.

That depends on you. The sooner you complete online registration forms and submit the required documents, the sooner your student will be registered. It typically takes two weeks or more to complete the entire registration process.

TIP: Log in to your caretaker homepage daily to review the student’s registration status and the verification of documents you submit.

Please allow 1-2 business days for your submitted documents to be processed.  You can check on the status of your submitted documents by checking your students Enrollment Details page.

You can change your information by logging into Connexus. On your caretaker homepage, click on the "Change Contact Information" link. Or, you can notify the student’s teacher who can submit the change for you.

Rhode Island Connections Academy is able to offer the accommodations outlined in this Courseware Accommodations form.

Socialization

Every year, we ask Connections Academy families to rate our program. This year, once again, parents who completed online school program reviews gave us high marks for helping students succeed academically and personally. See the results of the latest Parent Satisfaction Survey.

Just like in a bricks-and-mortar school, the most successful students have parents who are involved in their education. We recommend that a parent or other trusted adult serve as a Learning Coach to support the student’s learning. Each family does this differently, and the role largely depends on the age of the student. For instance, students in high school are encouraged to work more independently, whereas elementary-age students will need more support while completing lessons. Some of the ways families may support learning include providing daily structure, communicating with teachers, and helping students stay on track.

Throughout a student’s education, Connections Academy teachers take the lead in ensuring student success. When first getting started, the Connections Academy Family Support Program provides ample resources to help families become acquainted with the online learning structure. Learn more about the responsibilities of a Learning Coach.

Yes. We understand the importance of students and parents interacting with others in the program and in the community. There are a number of opportunities for you to take part in activities, both online and in person. Community coordinators and school staff plan field trips, special projects, and group meetings with other families in your area. Online discussion groups and the private email system allow you to communicate with other students or parents from all Connections Academy school programs.

Additionally, Connections Academy’s Club Connections brings together families across the country who are reaching out to their local communities to spread the word about Connections Academy.

We connect currently registered caretakers, parents, and families so they can:

  • Engage and interact with other caretakers through our Facebook group.
  • Promote their school program virtually and within your community using digital resources and promotional items.
  • Advocate for school program choice by supporting legislative efforts and referring new families.

 

Connections Academy knows that for students to achieve at the highest levels, they need not only a great academic program, but also the freedom to learn in a safe and comfortable setting. Parents and Learning Coaches also play a key role in creating this environment to ensure their child’s well-being. Below are some of the most important resources Connections Academy provides to ensure that students are safe and focused on learning:

Throughout a student’s education, Connections Academy teachers take the lead in ensuring student success. When first getting started, the Connections Academy Family Support Program provides ample resources to help families become acquainted with the online learning structure. Learn more about the responsibilities of a Learning Coach.

  • All Connections Academy–provided computers are equipped with heightened Internet security settings and Internet filtering software that can be activated upon request by calling the Technical Support line at 800-382-6010. If you are using your own computer, Technical Support can help you configure Internet security settings and find additional Internet filtering software.
  • We provide an Internet safety course for students, parents, and Learning Coaches. The course contains valuable information about practicing safe behaviors online. This course is also required training for all Connections Academy school staff.
  • Staff trainings regarding student safety are a critical part of the Connections Academy professional development plan. The Connections Academy course Students in Distress: Recognizing and Responding is designed to help teachers and other school staff become familiar with the signs of distress, such as from bullying/cyberbullying, neglect and abuse, or depression, or other problems that would keep students from doing their best. The course also teaches them how to respond promptly and professionally.
  • Regular required contact between teachers and students helps teachers get to know each student individually. Educators who know their students are better able to note behaviors or attitudes that may indicate problems.
  • Connections Academy strictly prohibits any form of bullying/cyberbullying, harassment, hazing, or other destructive actions that may cause emotional and/or physical harm to students. School policies regarding these prohibited behaviors are documented in the School Handbook: General Portion and the state-specific School Handbook Supplement.
  • Each Connections Academy course contains a summary of web links so parents and Learning Coaches can quickly and easily note any links that they may not wish to have their student access.

 

Technology Requirements

The amount of time a student spends on the computer varies by grade. Younger students spend approximately 15–30%, middle school students spend about 50–75%, and high school students spend about 80–90% of their school day working on the computer.*

* Time on the computer may vary based on the use of print textbooks or online textbooks. The availability of print textbooks varies by state and course.

Students and Learning Coaches do not need advanced computer skills to attend Connections Academy. Through our Learning Coach Success series, parents are given the opportunity to attend a variety of sessions on subjects about anything from becoming acquainted with technology, to where to find resources in Connexus®, our education management system. We also provide a technology literacy program that aids students in developing additional skills.

There are some specific software requirements necessary to use Connexus, our online education management system. Please refer to the Computer Requirements page for complete details.

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