|Online schooling a viable option for students|
With the increase in technology, there are more and more options for education. Virtual schooling is a growing trend that is being used by more than one million K-12 students across the country and is growing by 25 percent each year.
Locally there are many families that have chosen to use this option for a variety of reasons. MTS Minnesota Connections Academy, which is headquartered in Minneapolis, says people look for this type of option for reasons including a more flexible schedule, a need to be taught differently than their peers, a need for more individualized attention and living in an isolated, rural location.
Because MTS Minnesota Connections Academy is a public school, chartered through Minnesota Transitions Charter School, students and their state-certified teachers must meet the same levels of accountability as traditional students and must complete state standardized tests.
According to an MTS Minnesota Connections Academy spokesperson, a high degree of accountability is provided to ensure a high quality education. Students work with teachers via e-mails, live online lessons, text-based curricula, webcasts and telephone conversations while being supervised and monitored by an adult “learning coach.”
Shawn Stewart, an MTS Minnesota Connections Academy elementary teacher based out of Esko, said she has several ways to make sure students are accountable for their work.
“I am usually on the phone at the very least every other week with my students, sometimes more,” Stewart said. “What is nice is that if I see they just finished an online quiz, I can call them, and we can go deeper into it.”
Curriculum with the online school is identical to that of the rest of the public schools in the state. However, Stewart said what is nice about the program is that students really go at their own pace. While some may be able to move through a grade faster, others may need more time and more enrichment.
“We follow the same schedule as the Minneapolis Public School District,” Stewart said. “Right now we don’t offer summer school, but there are many opportunities for students that do exist.”
This evening, Thursday, May 20, there will be an informational meeting held at Skyline Party and Game Zone, 4894 Miller Trunk Highway from 6-8 p.m. This event is free.
For more information, parents are encouraged to call 1-800-382-6010 or go to connectionsacademy.com.