July 31, 2008

Minnesota Connections Academy Hosts Free Information Sessions

Minnesota families looking for an alternative to a traditional classroom setting or home schooling are invited to attend a free information session to learn more about MTS Minnesota Connections Academy, a free virtual public school.

With the addition of 12th grade for the 2008-'09 school year, Connections Academy's free online school program serves all students across the state of Minnesota in grades K-12.

A unique public charter school, Connections Academy combines the expertise and accountability of public education, the strong parental involvement of home schooling and the flexibility of technology-enhanced learning. The program offers state-certified teachers, a high-quality curriculum, unique technology tools, an extensive selection of electives and clubs, and community experiences to create a personalized alternative to a bricks-and-mortar classroom. The program also provides textbooks from leading publishers along with cutting-edge, yet easy-to-use, technology resources and hands-on materials. Computers and an Internet subsidy for families with children in grade 6 and above are also provided. Each year, Connections Academy students eagerly await their back-to-school boxes of learning materials, which includes textbooks, workbooks, CD-ROMs, science equipment, art materials, and even jump ropes and other physical education supplies.

Accountability is central to Connections Academy's mission and all students must meet the same levels of accountability and complete the same state standardized tests as students at traditional public schools.

MTS Minnesota Connections Academy is designed to meet the needs of students and their families who are looking for an alternative to the conventional classroom -- those who want a flexible schedule, learn at a different pace from their peers, want more individualized attention or live in isolated rural settings. The school also appeals to previously home-schooled students and students who, for a variety of reasons, are better served outside the traditional classroom.

During the information sessions, attendees will speak with teachers and explore the school's customized learning approach, high-quality curriculum and unique technology tools. Enrollment counselors will answer questions and help families complete the enrollment process. Families interested in an Internet school with some similarities to home schooling, but with the support of state-certified teachers and the accountability of public education should attend. The events are free and child friendly. Reservations are not required though families may register at www.ConnectionsAcademy.com.

In-person Information Sessions:

-- Woodbury: Tuesday, Aug. 5, 6:30 pm, Holiday Inn Express St. Paul - Woodbury, 9840 Norma Lane.

-- Winona: Thursday, Aug. 7, 11 am, Winona State University, Kryzsko Commons Bldg/Rms 105 and 106, Huff and Howard St.

-- Albert Lea: Thursday, Aug. 7, 6:30 pm, Ramada Inn Albert Lea, 2306 East Main Street/I-35 and Hwy 65.

-- Grand Rapids: Tuesday, Aug. 12, 11 am, Sawmill Inn of Grand Rapids, 2301 S. Highway 169.

-- Virginia: Tuesday, Aug. 12, 6:30 pm, The Coates Plaza Hotel, 502 Chestnut Street.

Virtual Information Sessions (registration required):

-- Wednesday, Aug. 13, 6:30 pm

Additional opportunities to meet with teachers and currently enrolled families, including roller skating parties and ice cream socials, are also taking place and are open to the public.

For more information, call 1-800-382-6010 or visit Connections Academy online at www.ConnectionsAcademy.com.

Connections Academy operates its full-time virtual public school program in Minnesota through a partnership with the Minnesota Transitions Charter School.

About Connections Academy

Connections Academy is a leading national provider of high quality, highly accountable virtual public schools in 13 states operated in partnership with charter schools, school districts, and state departments of education. Connections Academy schools deliver top-quality, personalized education for students that combines certified teachers, a proven curriculum, technology tools, and community experiences to create a supportive and successful environment for children who want an individualized approach to education. In Connections Academy's unique Personalized Performance Learning(R) approach, students use daily lesson plans and curriculum materials provided by Connections Academy. Teachers develop a learning plan for each student, whose progress is tracked through a proprietary, web-based Learning Management System. In 2008-09 Connections Academy will serve students in Arizona, California (Southern and Central), Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, Missouri (through the Missouri Virtual Instruction Program), Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin. In 2008-09 Connections Academy will offer grades K through 12, though some schools do not offer all grades. For more information, call 800-382-6010 or visit www.ConnectionsAcademy.com.