Connections Academy is a Baltimore-based division of Connections Education, LLC, which is owned by the UK-based, publicly traded Pearson PLC. The company offers online school for students in grades K-12, available in 26 states. The online courses are an alternative to traditional public schools and are openly available to the public. Similar to charter schools they are subsidized by the state. They also offer tuition-based online private schools internationally. Although they contract with many non-profit schools, they are not a non-profit organization.
Teachers primarily use online tools to interact with students and a parent or other adult, referred to as a "Learning Coach," assists to deliver instruction.
The Connections Academy program is accredited by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission. Individual schools are operated in cooperation with or under contract to local school districts or local charter schools.
In the Spring of 2001, Sylvan Ventures started a separate business unit to create a virtual school program. The company began operations of its first schools in two states in the Fall of 2002. In September 2004, Connections Academy was sold to an investor group led by Apollo Management, L.P. The company now operates tuition-free public schools under management contracts from charter schools or school districts. In the spring of 2009, Connections Academy opened a private school, National Connections Academy, that is available everywhere.
A new corporate entity called Connections Education was established in early 2011 to meet the growing demand for Kâ"12 online learning. Connections Education consists of two education-focused divisions including the newly created Connections Learning that serves educational institutions and other organizations, both in the U.S. and internationally, with online learning solutions.
On September 15, 2011, Pearson, an international learning company, acquired Connections Education for in excess of $400 million
Connections Academy has ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and other organizations promoting a for-profit educational model. Both on its own and as a member of [ALEC, Connections Academy has pushed to provide on-line education in a movement away from brick and mortar classrooms. Another concern is that there is little social contact between students.
- Official website
- AdvancED Accreditation Commission