Colorado families consider permanent online school option

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — In March, every school in Colorado abruptly transitioned to online learning in response to the growing pandemic. For students at the Colorado Connections Academy, it was mostly business as usual. The school, a tuition-free online public school for K-12, has recently seen a sudden spike in interest from families.

“We have seen our numbers increase by 12 percent in the number of people who are interested in learning about Connections Academy. I’m one of them,” said fifth grade Colorado Connections Academy teacher Cherie Knudsen.

She is the parent to a future fifth and seventh graders who attend traditional school. Knudsen said after experiencing the forced transition to exclusive remote learning, she is considering moving her kids to the permanent online option.

A typical day for students, according to Knudsen, starts with checking emails and the planner for the day, followed by scheduled live online lessons, videos and reading activities. For Knudsen’s fifth graders, it a six-hour day.

“They can work ahead. I have a lot of students who want to take Friday off,” said Knudsen.

Knudsen said there are a lot of benefits to the online school but it may not work for every family.

“It is demanding on the parents,” she said.

Parents play the role of the learning coach and therefore working parents have to schedule their day around their student.

“But I know a lot of parents who work during the day and do the schoolwork at night,” added Knudsen.

Another aspect parents should consider is a student’s ability to make friends, since Colorado Connections Academy is only online. Knudsen said as teachers, they do their best to promote relationships among students in their virtual classrooms.

There are several online learning opportunities in Colorado. For more information, visit the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families’ website.

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