Online school offers alternative to public school

By Deborah Rowe

OnlineSchoolsThere are many alternatives to public schooling. Texas Connections Academy is a public virtual online school that has benefited one young Missouri City resident.

Luis, 14, and his father live with Margaret Abete, Luis’ grandmother. Margaret has played an integral role in helping Luis achieve academic excellence.

Luis has been attending Texas Connections Academy since third grade in 2010. He is now in the eighth grade which is his sixth year enrolled.

Texas Connections Academy is a public virtual online school. The students attend school in their own homes by logging on to the school Web site where they have a calendar populated with their curriculum for their appropriate grade level. They follow a daily lesson plan just as do students who attend a brick and mortar school.

The online school began in 2008, one year before Luis enrolled with approximately 100 other students. It has now grown to an enrollment of approximately 4,000. The school is based in Baltimore, Md., Margaret said.

“They have real teachers who grade their work and provide live lessons on unit concepts or themes on a weekly basis,” she explained. “The curriculum follows the same standards as the public school environment and the students receive quarterly reports on their progress. They also must take the state mandated testing each year. Upon graduation the students will receive a diploma.”

Luis is also in the National Junior Honor Society and is serving as president this year. Margaret said it is good to be able to share that things like these are also available while enrolled in a virtual school.

“Luis really enjoys attending the academy. He is doing so well,” she said.

Luis said he likes attending the online school because it is fun to learn. He also enjoys the live lessons.

“I like being able to make my own schedule. More than anything, I really like my teachers and being able to talk with them without feeling that they might be too busy or that they might not really care,” he said.

Luis’ favorite subject is math.

“But I like to read and write, too. And I am always sketching,” Luis said. “I really like Texas history and history in general too. Science is fun, especially when doing experiments at home that I can share with my family.”

Luis said that the academy is a school that has teachers that really care about students and not how well or easily they can learn.

“They make you feel important. That makes me want to do my best and attend all my live lessons as well as not feel uncomfortable if I do need to ask questions about an assignment or a lesson,” he explained.

Margaret echoed his sentiment.

“The online school has made learning fun for Luis,” she said. “He is comfortable with his teachers and is not intimidated in any way that would keep him from reaching out to them or participating in live lessons.”

Margaret said she is glad and proud of Luis and how well he is doing. She just wants to share how great the school is and how much it is helping her grandson.

“It is a wonderful school,” she said. “It has helped Luis so much.”

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