New Online Public School, Willamette Connections Academy, Approved to Serve Oregon Families

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Statewide virtual public charter school to offer additional tuition-free option for students in grades K-12 for upcoming school year

Willamette Connections Academy logo

Statewide virtual public charter school approved to serve students in grades K-12 this fall

Uniting Scio School District, a groundbreaker in Oregon’s school choice movement, once again with Connections Academy, a leader in high-quality online learning services, will position Willamette Connections Academy to serve as a ‘virtual school of excellence’ for families throughout the state.

Willamette Connections Academy (WillCA), a full-time virtual public charter school, was approved by the Scio School Board to serve students in grades K-12 statewide beginning in the 2019-20 school year. Enrollment for Willamette Connections Academy is anticipated to open May 29.

“The Scio School District has a long history of providing exceptional learning options to students who desire a personalized, flexible education in order to meet their unique needs,” explained Gary Tempel, Scio School District Superintendent. “As educators, we are thrilled to support this important mission by sponsoring Willamette Connections Academy, a new school choice offered to students across Oregon.”

The Scio School Board recently voted to sponsor a charter with Willamette Connections Academy. Willamette Connections Academy will offer students throughout Oregon an individualized approach to education in a safe, supportive online learning environment. The new online public school is expected to serve up to 200 students during its first academic year and expand to serve additional students in subsequent years.

Willamette Connections Academy will offer families statewide the nationally-recognized Connections Academy® program and award-winning curriculum. The school will combine Oregon-certified teachers, a rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum, technology tools, and social experiences to create a student-focused learning experience. Curriculum will include core classes as well as engaging electives, honors and AP courses, and Career Technical Education (CTE) classes.

Willamette Connections Academy joins Oregon Connections Academy, another existing virtual public charter school in the state, in utilizing the Connections Academy program.

VIDEO: Student Success with Connections Academy

“We are looking forward to working with our sponsor, the Scio School District, to provide Oregon students and parents with an additional high caliber online school choice,” said Timothy Hyre, Board President for Willamette Connections Academy. “We chose to partner with Connections Academy as our online learning provider because of its longstanding, successful history with Oregon Connections Academy, allowing us to offer families a new school option with a quality partner they trust."

Willamette Connections Academy will meet the needs of a wide range of students who would benefit from a quality alternative to the traditional bricks-and-mortar classroom. Those who need a flexible schedule or learn at a different pace from their peers, those who need more individualized attention, or those who are significantly ahead or behind in the classroom can thrive in a virtual school setting. Families who seek more involvement in their child’s education will also find opportunities with Willamette Connections Academy.

A parent, or another adult “Learning Coach,” plays a key role with the licensed teacher to monitor student progress in the home. Willamette Connections Academy teachers will use daily lesson plans that can be tailored to meet each student’s academic needs, learning style, and areas of interest.

“Uniting Scio School District, a groundbreaker in Oregon’s school choice movement, once again with Connections Academy, a leader in high-quality online learning services, will position Willamette Connections Academy to serve as a ‘virtual school of excellence’ for families throughout the state,” added Tempel.

Scio was the sponsoring district for Oregon’s first charter school, Lourdes Public Charter School in 1999, and the district sponsored the state’s first virtual public charter in 2005.

As a public school, there are no fees or tuition to attend Willamette Connections Academy and all students are required to meet the same academic standards and take the same state tests as traditional public school students.

In preparation for its inaugural academic year, Willamette Connections Academy will hire a school leader and team of teachers . The school’s headquarters will also be established within the boundaries of the Scio School District.

For more information about Willamette Connections Academy, call 1-800-382-6010 or visit the school’s website. Families interested in staying up to date on information can follow the school on Facebook.

About Willamette Connections Academy
Willamette Connections Academy (WILLCA) is a recently-approved statewide tuition-free, full-time public virtual charter school that students across the state attend from home. The school is authorized by the Scio School District and is overseen by its own governing board and school leader. Willamette Connections Academy will begin serving students in grades K-12 in the 2019-20 school year. The school utilizes the nationally-recognized Connections Academy program, combining Oregon-certified teachers, a high-quality curriculum, technology tools, electives, clubs and community experiences to create a safe, supportive environment for families seeking a personalized, flexible approach to education. For more information, call 1-800-382-6010 or visit the school’s website.

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Christine Pannell
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