Baltimore (May 18, 2011) – 27 percent of school districts around the country have eliminated summer school programs this year, and 40 percent anticipate doing so in 2011-12, according to the latest American Association of School Administrators’ study of the impact of the nation’s economic downturn on schools. Citing “the anticipated and reported increasing intensity of budget cuts,” the districts shuttered traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ summer school programs. As a result, summer 2011 is expected to bring a record number of K-12 students logging on to learn, taking a range of online summer school courses to get ahead, or make up credits needed to graduate.

Online summer school is a trend that’s growing for several reasons, educators say. Some districts forced to cut traditional summer programs are instead offering students online summer school from providers like Connections Learning. “Online summer school is an affordable way for districts to keep their summer school doors open, while still offering students high quality, rigorous courses from a fully-accredited education provider like Connections Learning,” notes Dr. Steven Guttentag, president of Connections Learning. “Our online summer solution also offers tremendous flexibility – for the district as well as students. Districts have lots of targeted course options, and students can learn in the classroom, at home, or on vacation – anywhere there’s an Internet connection.”

But district support isn’t the only reason online summer school is booming. Another major factor driving the growth in online summer school enrollments is the strong growth in parental and student demand for K-12 e-learning in general. With a record 3.2 million K-12 students engaged in some form of online learning throughout the school year, it’s clear that parents and students alike have embraced virtual education. For parents, it’s about the proven effectiveness of high quality programs, while students flock to the online world to learn, just as they do in virtually every other aspect of their lives. So it’s natural that more parents and students are turning to online learning for summer school, Dr. Guttentag observes, especially when many families are looking for a program to replace a cancelled ‘bricks and mortar’ district summer school.

“Students today love e-learning, and many of them engage in some form of e-learning every day throughout the course of the regular school year. So why would summer school be any different? Students find the virtual learning environment really engaging. And they can take their courses when and where they want, so they don’t have to choose between academics and other summer activities like getting a job, spending time with family and friends, and traveling,” Dr. Guttentag commented.

National Connections Academy (www.NationalConnectionsAcademy.com), an accredited private online school available to students nationwide, expanded its Summer School course offerings this year in response to growing student and parent demand for its courses. The National Connections Academy (NaCA) Summer School, with courses ranging from Algebra and English to Spanish and Digital Photography, offers a program with the same hallmark qualities as its sister Connections Academy virtual schools, including dedicated teachers, personalized feedback and guidance, detailed daily lessons plans, and a flexible learning schedule.

NaCA Summer School sessions start in June and will offer 36 high-school level courses for both credit recovery and enrichment. There’s also an innovative course called Summer Smarts for younger learners, and “Camp Connections” virtual camps for all students. The online summer school is open to students in all states in the United States and enrollment is going on now.

Interested students and parents should contact NaCA by phone at 877-804-NACA (877-804-6222) or by email at NaCAadvisor@connectionsacademy.com
Each NaCA Summer School course delivers a full semester’s worth of instruction over an intensive four-week session. In 2011, two online summer school sessions are planned: Session I will run from June 1 – 28 (with a registration deadline of May 27) and Session II will run from July 6 to August 2 (with a registration deadline of July 1). Unlike Connections Academy public schools, tuition is charged for NaCA’s Summer School.

NaCA’s online Summer School offers high schoolers a wide range of enrichment and credit recovery courses. Credit recovery courses are designed for students who have already taken the course, were not granted credit for the course, and need to make up the course to meet high school graduation requirements. 16 enrichment courses – including new computer technology courses — are designed for students who wish to accelerate their academic career or simply continue their studies over the summer. Elementary and middle school students can enroll in NaCA’s “K-8 Summer Smarts” courses designed to keep students’ minds engaged and active during the summer months and mitigate the impact of summer learning loss. New this year, NaCA also offers all students “Camp Connections,” exciting virtual “camps” focused on special interests such as robotics, poetry, art, broadcasting, “Science in the Kitchen” and the environment.

Interested high school students are encouraged to discuss credit transfer policies with their schools and inform them about NaCA’s online summer school courses prior to registering.

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About Connections Learning

Connections Learning is an online learning provider that delivers a full range of quality, affordable, and turnkey online learning solutions to institutions and individuals. Bringing personalized and flexible learning to students everywhere, Connections Learning products combine a proven curriculum, the latest instructional tools, certified teachers skilled in online instruction, and state-of-the-art technology. Feature products include: online courses; online summer school; homebound student solutions; credit recovery; the Connexus™ digital learning platform; 21st Century Skills courses; a STEM package; online speech therapy; blended/hybrid programs; and virtual private and public school programs. More than 300 schools, school districts, state departments of education and other educational institutions, serving tens of thousands of students throughout the United States and beyond, are already utilizing Connections Learning products and services. Connections Learning is a division of Connections Education LLC. For more information, call 888-440-2890 or visit www.ConnectionsLearning.com.

CONTACT:
Allison Bazin, Connections Education Public Relations
(609)247- 0275
abazin@connectionsacademy.com

Sandy Burke, Athena Public Relations
(203)655 – 3475
sandy@athenapr.com

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