Maine’s first virtual school holds informational workshops

Posted July 21, 2014, at 6:07 a.m.
Last modified July 23, 2014, at 2:05 p.m.
Karl Francis
Maine Connections Academy
Karl Francis

Maine Connections Academy, a virtual charter school for students in grades seven through 12, is holding several informational workshops this month and next for Maine parents and students interested in a nontraditional middle school and high school environment.

The publicly funded school will be capped at 297 students, according to its website. Students enrolled with the school will work from home, and teachers will work out of South Portland. Communication between students and their instructors will take place through a program called Connexus.

According to its website, Connections Academy operates upwards of 25 virtual charter schools throughout the country. It is owned by Pearson PLC, a London-based publishing company that creates standardized tests and textbooks.

Last month, former Westbrook High School administrative intern Karl Francis was appointed principal. He will spend this summer hiring teachers and said he looked forward to working with nontraditional students filling what he called a “critical need.”

“I hear from families who really don’t know where to turn next because the traditional setting is not working out,” he said in June. “[When that happens] often the attendance drops.”

Since Maine Connections Academy is publicly funded, enrollment is free for students. It’s paid for by the student’s local school district, according to the Maine Department of Education website.

The following workshops are available for families who are interested in the school. For more information about these sessions, the school or to sign up, visit MaineConnectionsAcademy.com or call 888-479-0469.

Online — Noon, July 24 or 6:30 p.m., July 30 via ConnectionsAcademy.com/MCA, click on “Events”

Bangor — 6:30 p.m., Aug. 12, Four Points Bangor, 308 Godfrey Blvd.

Lewiston — 1 p.m., Aug. 13, Ramada Lewiston Hotel, 490 Pleasant St.

Portland — 6:30 p.m., Aug. 13, Seasons Conference Center, 155 Riverside St.

 

CORRECTION:

This story originally stated that Connections Academy runs upwards of 25 virtual charter schools throughout the country. “Runs” was changed to “operates,” as Connections Academy provides the tools and curriculums for the online schools, but they are run at a local level. Maine Connections Academy is an online public school governed by an independent, nonprofit board composed of Maine residents. Also, the story originally stated that the Bangor workshop is to be held on Aug. 23. That was updated to reflect the correct date of the workshop: Aug. 12.

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