California Connections Academy Schools Approved to Open for Fall

April 7, 2004

Baltimore, MD — Two new Connections Academy® virtual schools have been approved to serve southern California K-8 students in the 2004 – 2005 school year. Southern California Connections Academy (SoCCA), a new virtual charter school, has been approved unanimously by the San Diego Unified School District, and Capistrano Connections Academy (CapoCA) has been approved unanimously by the Capistrano Unified School District to operate under contract with the district.

The innovative “schools without walls” are considered public school “independent study” programs under California law so there is no tuition charged to parents. Together, the two schools will offer the Connections Academy program, a respected national model for virtual public education in grades K-8, to as many as 500 students in the following six California counties: San Diego, Orange, Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles. California families are encouraged to visit for more information on enrolling in the California Connections Academy schools.

Connections Academy (CA) is a leading national provider of high-quality, highly accountable K-8 virtual public schools operated in partnership with charter schools, school districts and state boards of education. The California Connections Academy schools will offer CA’s individualized educational program through a public virtual school structure that connects students with professional, certified teachers via e-mail and telephone. A parent or guardian serves as a learning coach, providing one-on-one interaction to ensure that students follow their personalized learning plan and meet their academic goals. Students also participate in field trips and other in-person activities facilitated by a community coordinator. Similar CA schools are currently serving students in Wisconsin, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arizona, and Florida.

“The California Connections Academy schools will meet a wide range of students’ needs,” said Barbara Dreyer, President of Connections Academy. “In other states, we have attracted students who are far ahead of their peers in a traditional setting, require additional assistance in certain areas, or need a flexible learning schedule. Our educational program is highly personalized to fit each student’s needs.”

SoCCA is an independent, non-profit organization with an independent board of directors. Dr. Cynthia Terwillinger, SoCCA board president, commented, “My fellow board members and I are honored to make this exciting educational alternative available to the children of Southern California, and will work diligently to ensure that SoCCA is a top-quality operation in every sense.”

Serving on the SoCCA board with Dr. Terwillinger, a lifelong educator, are SoCCA treasurer Kevin Harris, Chief Operating Officer of Silicon Space, Inc., a San Diego based e-business professional services firm, and SoCCA secretary Kay Wagner, Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of San Diego.

Capistrano Connections Academy (CapoCA) will be operated under contract with Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD). CA will work under the supervision of a District Coordinator to provide the latest high quality public education alternative offered by CUSD.

According to Dr. James A. Fleming, CUSD Superintendent, “We are committed as a district to developing innovative approaches to meeting our community’s needs while maintaining the highest academic standards. The Capistrano Connections Academy program is in keeping with that commitment.”

Informational meetings to introduce both California CA schools and their curriculum will be held in communities across the six counties beginning April 19, 2004.

The CA schools provide a print-rich curriculum that combines high-quality textbooks and hands-on materials with unique technology tools. The virtual school enables teachers to customize curriculum for each student that includes early reading, test preparation, virtual science fairs and online book chats. Students are provided with textbooks, workbooks and hands-on materials as well as access to the proprietary CA Learning Management System.

“We believe that we have developed the highest quality virtual school program in the country, and we are thrilled to bring it to California,” said Dreyer. “We hear regularly from parents that we are fundamentally changing their children’s lives for the better and providing a very positive school experience: We are very proud that 90 percent of our families gave us top marks in our most recent parent satisfaction survey.”

About Connections Academy
Connections Academy ® (CA) is a leading national provider of high quality, highly accountable K-8 virtual public schools operated in partnership with charter schools, school districts and state boards of education. CA’s program delivers personalized education for students in grades K-8 that combines certified teachers, a proven curriculum, community experiences and technology tools to create a supportive and successful environment for children who need an individualized approach to education. CA teachers create a Personalized Learning Plan for each student whose progress is tracked through a Learning Management System. Parents or other “learning coaches” deliver instruction to students using daily lesson plans and curriculum materials provided by CA. In addition to the new southern California CA schools, approximately 2,000 K-8 students are enrolled in Connections Academy schools in: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Connections Academy, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Educate, Inc., the nation’s leading education services company, which also operates Sylvan Learning Center, Sylvan Education Solutions, eSylvan, and Schülerhilfe. For more information on Connections Academy, visit or call 1-800-382-6010.