Online K-12 Classes Grow in Nevada - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Online K-12 Classes Grow in Nevada

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With back-to-school coming up, you may want to consider a free virtual K through 12 education. It's been working for 10th grader Nicholas Hansen in Sparks. From his living room on the big screen, we found him scrolling through his upcoming courses: "World history...honors english… biology," just weeks before classes start, already checking out his courses. As he demonstrated to us, "If you click on a course here, it'll show the lessons for that semester."

The lessons all come from a nondescript Sparks office building off Vista Boulevard. It may seem a stretch to call it a school, but it's a place that's making the grade. As K-1st grade online teacher Alison Thomas told us, "We started 7 years ago and we've grown and grown every year."

There are no classrooms at Nevada Connections Academy…not in the traditional sense. The teachers work out of cubicles with their computer screen in front of them. They're online with the student and on the phone with them too. As Thomas told us, "We can really fit any student's needs, and family needs."

The lessons go to a server, then to computers like the one Nicholas has at home. Meanwhile, upstairs on her computer, mom has a parent's page to see how many hours her son has been on and how he's doing. Yvette Hansen showed us just how easy it is: "I click right here, and that will take me to his grades."

Yvette knows this online education works. Her oldest son James is an online graduate. With the flexibility (students can take their lessons anytime around the clock, and even on trips as long as they can get online), James had time for gymnastics training, qualifying for the nationals. Now a cheerleading coach, he even had time to write a novel that's available on Amazon. As he told us, "I've been cheering for 2 years. I just started coaching this year. With online schooling, you can go to school after practice if you have to, or during the weekend if you miss something."

James is about to take college placement tests. He'd like to go to flight school. But an online education is not a cure-all. The human element, the in-person attention is missing. And if your student has no self-discipline in class, chances are he won't have it at home where bad habits are born.

But Yvette Hansen has seen it work. For those who think there are more distractions at home, she says it's just the opposite. As she told us, "In a class with 35 students, the kid who dropped the pencil behind them, and the cute girl across the aisle are a lot more interesting than the teacher and what she's talking about."

Online K-12 classes won't solve Nevada's long-standing education challenges. But over the years, it's something that has gone from novel idea, to being a worthy alternative.

-written by John Potter

1,100 students are enrolled at Nevada Connections Academy for this coming school year. They have room for 1,700. For those who qualify, Nevada Connections Academy is also no-cost. The computer and textbooks are free, and there's a $200 a year allowance for internet service. To look into enrolling for the upcoming school year, click the links below:

http://www.connectionsacademy.com/nevada-virtual-school/home.aspx

http://www.connectionsacademy.com/nevada-virtual-school/enrollment/home.aspx

 

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