In my first post, Are All Virtual schools Created Equal—Part 1, I discussed the similarities and differences between the curricula used at Connections Academy and K12. Today I want to focus on interaction with the instructors.
**Before you begin reading, I want to remind you that the information about Connections Academy is based exclusively on my own experiences and the information about K12 is based on interviews with parents who use K12 for their educational needs. Policies may vary by state.
- Connections Academy uses virtual classrooms which they call LiveLessons. Click here for a LiveLesson demo. These LiveLessons (LL) are not compulsory, unless a student is struggling. In the elementary grades, LL’s are scheduled once or twice a week. These lessons with the teacher and classmates last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. For example, my 6 year old has a storytime LL and a reading group LL each week. My 5th grader has a Language Arts LL and a Math LL each week. The 5th graders LL’s are recorded and posted on the teacher’s message boards. In this way, if a student is unable to attend he/she is still able to access the information provided. At the high school level, the compulsion to attend LL’s does not change. In some cases, LL’s could be worth extra credit points at the end of the semester. LL’s are not required unless a student is struggling or receiving assistance from the Special Education department. Each class has one or more LL’s scheduled throughout the week and the student may choose to attend if they are inclined to do so. Just as in the elementary grades, these LL’s are recorded for the students to view at their convenience.
- In the K12 program, the virtual classrooms are called “Class Connects”. These are scheduled each day for one hour. While these ClassConnects are optional, they are also worth points. Each student must have a certain number of points at the end of each month or they could be put on probation. It averages out to attending at least once a week.
- At Connections Academy, teacher contact is important. In the elementary grades, the teachers contact each student by phone twice a month. These phone calls are scheduled at the beginning of the year for a set day and time. When the teacher calls, they will speak with the student and the learning coach to address any issues. Of course, the instructors are available any time through WebMail (an internal email system). At the high school level, students do not receive phone calls unless they are struggling or have requested the teacher to contact them. Most communication is through WebMail, but the instructors are always just a click away.
- In the K12 program, teacher contact is just as important. In elementary grades, contact is initiated by the learning coach through an internal email system or by phone during office hours. In middle school, students may send an email to their instructor or call during office hours. At the high school level, contact is very similar to Connections Academy.
As with any program of study, policies are always subject to change from time to time. be sure to check your local school before making any decisions.
Click here to learn more about Connections Academy.
Click here to learn more about K12.
Come back next week for the next installment in this series!
God Bless 🙂