Georgia’s Connections Academy talks about “switching” mid-year
By Georgia Connections Academy Principal Heather Robinson
Maybe you are moving, due to a job change. Maybe your child’s school performance is lackluster, and your child needs a “fresh start” with the New Year.
Whatever the reason, we at Connections Academy understand: You are a family considering switching your child’s school mid-year and the decision is not easy.
Many families now consider virtual schools like Georgia Connections Academy (www.GeorgiaConnectionsAcademy.com) as an option. Our state is lucky to have a free, public charter school, featuring certified Georgia teachers, that provides quality K-12 education completely online.
It may be time for you and your child to fully embrace virtual education. More than two million American K-12 students now get some or all of their educations online, according to research firm Ambient Insight.
The good news is that the very format of Georgia’s virtual charter school, Connections Academy, eases the student’s adjustment period and eases the physical transitions for both student and family.
When enrolled in Georgia’s virtual school, learning takes place at home, with a parent or ‘learning coach’ on site, with instruction directed by certified teachers, with whom student and parents communicate frequently by phone and email.
Connections Academy enrollment counselors – who oversee enrollments across a national network of 15 schools — report that mid-year student enrollments have increased 200 percent over the past four years. So, you and your child are not alone, and you have someone ready to help right here in Georgia.
Start planning today. A smooth transition to a virtual public school can be easy, and your student can soon achieve both academic and emotional success. Consider these tips and then, call me or better yet contact us online!
- Insist on Quality. Do your homework to be sure you’re picking a high quality school. High-quality virtual schools employ professional and certified teachers. Make sure the school offers an accredited program with a wide range of courses, and a proven curriculum developed by professional educators. Talk to parents with students currently enrolled in our school.
- Plan Ahead. Think about the best time to make the school switch. For high and some middle school students, it’s ideal to finish out the quarter or semester, and then start the new period in the new school. The student gets a fresh start in his new courses, and will have completed coursework from his semester in his previous school. Parents should find out when finals and/or the next upcoming grading period ends in their current school, and when the new one starts, and use this as the target start date for the new school.
- Get Your Paperwork in Order. It can take a while to complete the enrollment process at a virtual school, so parents should start sooner rather than later gathering together all the necessary paperwork they’ll need to enroll their child; transcripts, birth certificates, immunization records, and the like. Check, of course, with our enrollment officials at www.GeorgiaConnectionsAcademy.com to get a list of required documents, and what, if any, admission deadlines might apply.
- Transfer Credits. Many schools don’t mail home fall semester or 2nd quarter report cards until well into the spring semester, making it tricky for some parents to show proof of course completion, and to get all the student’s course credits transferred to the new school. Parents facing this situation should check with the enrollment counselors to find out what other alternative paperwork can be requested from the previous school.
- Maintain an Open Dialogue. The key to a smooth transition is for parents to maintain an open dialogue and communicate with us—until your child graduates!
Of course, sometimes life throws you a curve ball. Sudden family matters seldom come with advance warning. Reach out to us as early as you and your student can, and we will work with you to make the school switch as smooth, and as soon as possible.
Now, stop worrying! And go enjoy the holidays.
Heather Robinson is the principal of the Georgia Connections Academy, a state-funded online charter school.