“Virtual School Report” Launched, Focused on Virtual K-12 Public Education

July 1, 2003

BALTIMORE, MD – In an effort to help school officials and state and local legislators keep pace with the rapid growth of K-12 virtual schooling, Connections Academy, a leading national provider of high quality, highly accountable virtual public schools, today unveiled the “Virtual School Report,” a newsletter focused on effective virtual education. The quarterly newsletter, with a circulation of 2,000, is designed to provide legislators and school officials at the state, district and building levels with the latest news and information on K-12 virtual public education.

“Virtual School Report” features first-hand accounts from school officials who have successfully launched virtual education programs; virtual education trend reports from industry experts; a look at recent legislation impacting virtual education across the country; a listing of upcoming education technology and virtual education conferences; and a directory of virtual schooling resources. To read the first issue and subscribe to the free newsletter, visit http://www.virtualschoolreport.com.

The highlights of the inaugural issue of “Virtual Education Report” include:

· Information about the North American Council for Online Learning, a new organization representing K-12 virtual educators.

· Real world advice and lessons learned from Dr. Thomas Scullen, superintendent of the Appleton (WI) Area School District, who successfully led his district in the launch of a virtual school program.

· A quiz to help district superintendents determine whether their districts might benefit from a virtual schooling initiative.

Virtual education, which has been accepted in colleges and universities for several years, is still a relatively new concept in K-12 education. High schools were the first to embrace virtual education, and now elementary and middle schools are implementing virtual programs. More than 30 states now have public school e-learning initiatives underway, and 12 have established virtual schools, according to Education Week.

In addition, many school districts grappling with class-size reduction requirements and mandated student transfer opportunities under the federal “No Child Left Behind” Act are now considering virtual education as part of the solution. The growth in virtual education programs has also been fueled by the strong interest in, and growing acceptance of, virtual public education among all public education stakeholders.

Parents want more choices for students. Educators are seeking new educational models to help all students succeed. And legislators are looking for innovative solutions to a wide range of policy and budgetary challenges facing local education systems.

“Many, many innovative districts, charter schools and state and local legislators are investigating the possibilities of virtual schooling,” notes Mickey Revenaugh, Vice President for Partnerships and Outreach for Connections Academy. “And it’s really just a matter of time before every state does, along with just about everybody in the K-12 education community. So there’s a real need for substantive, timely information sharing on virtual schooling. To hear from those on the front lines, who have already successfully launched virtual education programs. To stay abreast of legislative issues and actions in the virtual education realm. But until now there has been no forum or vehicle to do so. ‘Virtual School Report’ will fill this information void.”

About Connections Academy

Connections Academy is the leading national provider of high quality, highly accountable K-8 virtual public schools operated in partnership with charter schools and school districts. CA schools deliver top-quality, personalized education for students that combines certified teachers; a proven, print-rich curriculum; technology tools; and community experiences to create a supportive and successful environment for children who need an individualized approach to education. In CA’s unique Personalized Performance Learning™ approach, parents or other “learning coaches” deliver instruction to students using daily lesson plans and curriculum materials provided by CA. CA’s professional teachers create a Personalized Learning Plan for each student whose progress is tracked through a proprietary, web-based Learning Management System. Connections Academy serves students in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and other states through its high-tech, high-touch public “schools without walls.” For more information, call 800-382-6010 or visit http://www.connectionsacademy.com.

Connections Academy, Inc. is a division of Educate, Inc., the newly formed company focused exclusively on the K-12 education market. Educate, Inc. recently took ownership, via a management led buy-out, of the Sylvan Learning Systems, Inc. K-12 businesses.


Mickey Revenaugh

Connections Academy

(718) 284-4495