Connections Education: Creating Powerful Experiences for Learners

Connections Education is a leading, fully accredited provider of high-quality, highly accountable virtual schooling for students in grades K–12. Connections supports full-time online and blended public schools, school districts and other institutions, as well as its virtual private school families in the U.S. and abroad.

Among the schools supported by Connections in the 2015–16 school year will be 36 Connections Academy virtual public schools and Nexus Academy blended schools that operate in 26 states—expecting to serve more than 60,000 students. Each school serves a diverse student population. There are gifted students, traveling athletes, performing artists, bullied and home bound learners, and thousands of other students whose parents chose learning at home.

USA Olympic Diving team member Jordan Windle appreciates the flexibility of online learning through International Connections Academy—a fully online private school for students worldwide. Jordan is able to travel to diving events and rigorous practices while also completing courses that he feels will prepare him for college.

Connections Education takes pride in its ability to offer students a personalized learning pathway by providing high-quality teachers, support for families, a proven curriculum, technology tools and social events. With Connections Education-supported schools, students are engaged in their learning. (See a summary of Pat and Tom’s conversation with Connections teachers on innovation mindset)

Co-founded in 2001 by entrepreneurs and educators Barbara Dreyer, Steven Guttentag, and Mickey Revenaugh, Connections rapidly became one of the nation’s largest online learning providers. Connections Education offers:

  • Multidimensional curriculum of hundreds of K–12 courses
  • High quality, full-time and blended public schools as well as a private virtual school
  • An award-winning digital learning platform, Connexus®
  • Certified teachers specifically trained in online learning

Historically, focus has been on fully online school options for students, but in the last couple of years it has branched out into helping other schools blend their learning. Connections Learning by Pearson offers supplemental curriculum for brick and mortar public and private schools that want to offer a wide variety of customized courses for their students.

In 2011, Connections was acquired by global learning company Pearson, providing an opportunity to offer education solutions to an even broader global audience.

On the Blended Frontier

Connections translated everything it learned supporting fully online schools and combined it with the of best face-to-face learning in order to support a Midwest network of blended high schools called Nexus Academy. Students appreciate the college-like atmosphere and flexibility, and the opportunity to take charge of their education. Revenaugh said:

We’re essentially wiping the slate clean on high school and starting over by building schools around kids instead of vice versa. We are discovering that when students can sit where they want, eat when they want, tackle their courses in the order they want – yet benefit from close, guiding relationships with face-to-face Success Coaches and teachers dedicated to their futures – they perform well. It’s enough to make you wonder whether it makes sense to do high school any other way.

See a feature on Nexus Academy of Lansing one of our 100 Schools Worth Visiting.

Now focused on emerging economies, Revenaugh is working with Pearson to develop virtual school models for the burgeoning global community of learners.

Online and blended learning harnesses the power of technology and meets students where they are. Connections Education and the schools its supports are opening up doors of opportunity for students not always reached by traditional schools, and creating more ways to help students discover their potential.

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Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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