Gerry M image learning coach at Tennessee Connections Academy

Gerry M

Learning Coach

Gerry is the mother and Learning Coach of Nora, a student at Tennessee Connections Academy. Their bricks-and-mortar school just wasn’t working for Nora. She struggled socially, the constant motion and discussion of her classmates often caused sensory overload, and she was miserable going every day. Virtual public school seemed like the perfect solution, and it has been. Gerry’s story is below.

The Joy of Picking the Right School

Once we saw how happy Nora was with the setup, we honestly cried. I remember sitting in the living room with my husband and he looked at me and said, “She seems so happy. I don’t remember the last time she was so happy. I think we made the right choice.” We haven’t looked back.

Nora and I really enjoy working on English together and discussing the different readings and how we interpret them. I enjoy reading Nora’s essays to get her take on the literature, which is so different from mine, and I love how I can see her teacher’s comments as soon as the essays are graded.

Gerry M and her family visiting Stonhenge

Frequent and Helpful Teacher Communication

The emails I get from Nora’s teachers are great, and I love that I can set up meetings with them any time. We have found the most valuable form of communication to be the teacher message boards. They have so many resources to help Nora when she is struggling, plus options for different projects.

Although Nora doesn’t participate in any of the clubs that Tennessee Connections Academy offers, the school’s online format has allowed her to manage her time so she can do more outside of school. She’s been able to be in community plays and spend more time with family doing fun, educational things during the day, and then catch up on her lessons in the evenings or even on weekends. Family is very important to us and because of work schedules it was hard for Nora to see her cousins and grandparents as much as she wanted.

Advice for New Connections Academy Families

Connections Academy was initially a struggle because we never had so much flexibility—but we’ve definitely adapted, and Nora has learned to manage her time much better. She has also learned to advocate for herself more in reaching out to teachers to get help and advice, which is something we knew she really needed to work on as a life skill.

The best piece of advice I could give a new family is to read those teacher emails, attend LiveLesson® sessions with your child, and become familiar with teacher message boards, especially in the beginning. Connections Academy might seem overwhelming at first because it’s so different, but the teachers send you everything you need for success. Once you know where to find the resources, things get so much easier!

Connections Academy might seem overwhelming at first because it’s so different, but the teachers send you everything you need for success.

— Gerry