Connections Education Opens Blended High Schools
News Release: CONNECTIONS EDUCATION TO OPEN NEW “BLENDED” HIGH SCHOOLS FOR THE 2012-2013 SCHOOL YEAR Nexus Academy Schools are a Tuition-Free, Public High School Option; A Rigorous College-Preparatory Curriculum Combining the Best of Online Learning with an Exciting Campus Environment. High School Redefined for 21st Century Learners Baltimore (May 21, 2012) — Connections Education (www.ConnectionsEducation.com), a leading provider of high-quality, highly accountable online andblended learning, will open high schools in Fall 2012 that offer students acomprehensive high school experience (including 18 Advanced Placement and many more honors level courses), in a more personalized, innovative and flexible school setting. The new Nexus Academy schools are tuition-free, open enrollment public high schools focused on college prep. In the 2012-2013 school year, Nexus Academy schools will open in Ohio (planned for Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo), Michigan (planned for Lansing and Grand Rapids, pending final authorizer approval), with additional schools planned around the country in future years. Nexus Academy schools will serve no more than 250 to 300 high school students in grades 9-12 *, ensuring maximum personal attention to each student. Enrollment is underway for the upcoming school year and information sessions for interested students and their families will take place in early June and throughout the summer. A temporary website is available at http://www.nexusacademyinfo.com/ and interested students and their families may call 888-533-6360 tolearn more. At Nexus Academy public schools, students will attend a uniquely designed physical campus where teachers interact with students both online and on-site, while campus-based “Success Coaches” help guide students through Connections Education’s comprehensive online high school curriculum. Students will be provided with a mobile computer and other technology tools; allowing them to work anywhere within the Nexus Academy school as well as beyond, 24/7. “I wish I had this option when I went to high school!” said Mickey Revenaugh, co-founder of Connections Education and executive vice president for Connections Learning. “Nexus Academy schools are going to provide a unique, engaging and high-quality public school experience that prepares students for success beyond high school in a truly intimate and personalized way. I expect Nexus Academy schools will appeal to a wide range of students – from those who are ready to accelerate through high school to those who are looking for a more flexible and efficient academic setting that allows them time to pursue career, artistic or athletic interests.” The new blended high schools will have a strong focus on academics and college readiness, and will foster an appreciation of lifelong learning. Students will have access to core academic courses in Math, Science, Social Studies, and English as well as Advanced Placement and Honors courses. Foreign language offerings will include Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, German, Latin, and Sign Language. Interesting electives will round out students’ educations and offer opportunities to explore different subjects like Digital Arts, Introduction to Entrepreneurship, Engineering Design, Marine Science, and Game Design. Students may also participate in clubs and activities including Digital Storytelling, Debate and Chess, a Yearbook, an Environmental club, and much more. A robust education management system, Connexus®, will tie the online community together and provide students with access to lessons anywhere they have an Internet connection — on-site, at home, at libraries and museums. The blended model allows for the first time, a truly customized education in an intimate, personalized environment without sacrificing any of the breadth of courses or specialized instruction and services that you would find in schools ten times as large. Following a design custom-created by Godshall Kane Architects LLC, a Pennsylvania-based firm that specializes in school spaces, Nexus Academy campuses will include “team” areas with casual seating for both collaborative and individual work, seminar-style classrooms where students meet with teachers in small groups,hands-on science and art labs, a café, and a fitness center outfitted with gym equipment and offering unique fitness options through qualified personal trainers. Revenaugh continued, “Environment is very important and we are taking great care to develop settings that welcome teens, speak their language, and ignite learning (their way). We have been really inspired by some amazing renovated loft and industrial spaces, like Tyler Village in Cleveland – we envision bright, open spaces to foster creative thought and productivity.” Students will attend school on a morning or afternoon shift, ensuring an optimal student-to-staff ratio while allowing time in the school day for internships, college dual enrollment, and pursuit of personal passions such as sports or performing arts. Nexus Academy schools are part of the Connections Education family, the e-learning pioneer that, for the past ten years, has helped transform education in the U.S. with Connections Academy full-time virtual public schools. Nexus Academy schools will leverage Connections Education’s curriculum, a best-of-the-best collection of learning materials from leading publisherssuch as Pearson and McGraw Hill, as well as proprietary instructional tools and resources developed by Connections Education’s expert curriculum specialists. Students will work with dedicated, certified teachers who are specially trained in the area of online learning and will have access to guidance counselors to help them navigate college and career decisions. In keeping with Connections Education’s focus on accountability, Nexus Academy schools are being launched in partnership with the nation’s leading “best practice” charter authorizers: Ohio Council of Community Schools and the Central Michigan University Center for Charter Schools. Each school has its own distinct school board and will be using the Connections Education curriculum. Connections Education is accredited by AdvancED. “Today’s teens grew up with computers, cell phones, and social networks. Nexus Academy schools combine the best of online and onsite learning–personalizing and empowering–for an option that will be very well received,” commented Tom VanderArk, author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World, founder of GettingSmart.com, and member of the board for iNACOL (International Association for K-12 Online Learning). Leveraging technology as a tool for learning, Nexus Academy schools will deliver a personalized and more flexible approach to learning and will appeal to a variety of students including: NetGen teens looking for a technology-enhanced way of learning, students who want more challenge and to move at a faster pace or those who need more time with certain subjects, and students seeking an individualized school experience with a more balanced peer dynamic. For more information about Nexus Academy schools, call 888-533-6360.
I am a student in Dr. Setser's ECI 509 course at NCSU. He led us in the direction of this blog, and I enjoyed reading this post. I taught math in a public high school for 5 years and I am now the online teacher in a blended learning program. The success that I have witness has been amazing! Classroom teachers and students that have never been successful in math have achieved so much through the program due to the individual nature allowed in the blended environment. I am definitely an advocate for blended learning. I am in interested in learning about the experience of students enrolled in Nexus Academy. It sounds like there is so much potential there.
I am curious about the training that the online and classroom teachers go through for this program. How are they prepared to teach in this environment?
I am very excited to see this opportunity for students and it is very successful!
Tom Vander Ark
Thanks Ashley. Connections will staff Nexus with a mixture of new hires and some experienced using the Connexus platform--some local and some remote. New Connections teachers go through extensive training and then a high degree of support/monitoring during their first semester.
Here's another blog on benefits of flex models: http://www.gettingsmart.com/gettingsmart-staging/blog/2012/05/10-reasons-every-district-should-open-a-flex-school/
Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.