Virtual public school working wonders for Clark County elementary student

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Monte McGary is in third grade and he’s finally getting what he’s been in need of academically. A challenge. 

Before enrolling in Washington Connections Academy this school year, Monte attended a brick and mortar school in the Battle Ground School District. Since kindergarten, he’s been more advanced than his peers. He was becoming bored in class on a regular basis. 

Washington Connections Academy is a new branch school of Connections Academy,  a leading provider of high-quality virtual schooling for students in grades K-12 across the nation. This last fall, it opened its doors, or rather internet window screens, to Washington students and accepted applications. Because the academy provides students with the flexibility to learn from anywhere with a high-quality curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards, it's a privilege to be enrolled. Luckily for the McGary family, Monte is, and it is paying off.

“It’s going pretty good,” said his mother, Yana. “He was ahead (in public school) and getting stagnant.”

On a daily basis, she stays at home to supervise Monte. Even though everything is basically online minus a few textbooks, his routine is actually pretty much the same as far as time. 

“He wakes up just as early and gets about four to five lessons down a day,” said Yana. 

She added that Monte has his own office space at home to go to school in.

Lessons are a mixture of videos and slideshows with quizzes and tests that follow. Once a day, he also does a video conference call with an instructor who teaches several other students at the same time. Because students are equipped with a microphone, teachers are able to call on students as they watch and have them respond in real time.

Naturally, the loss of peer connection sometimes gets to Monte. In the early goings, Yana said he would regularly ask if he could go back to public school to see his friends. Anticipating this, they’ve made sure to involve him more in extra curricular activities. The school, too, does regular activities such as field trips that bring together the teachers and students in the region. As the year has gone on and Monte has warmed up to it more, the McGarys say they hope to keep him there through high school.

“I think he really likes it. It’s very beneficial for our family,” said Yana. 

Though his daily schedule is pretty regimented right now, the hope is that it doesn't have to always stay that way.

“Flexibility is one thing that is really good about this. You can work around appointments and at your own pace,” said Yana. 

As early as next year, the McGary family anticipates Monte will work through the school day on his own.

To learn more about the new Washington Connections Academy, visit www.connectionsacademy.com/washington-online-school.

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