Schools Thrive, But Not For Everyone
by Doug Carroll, The Arizona Republic, February 23, 2004
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Virtual public school, which received the approval of the
Arizona Legislature last year, sounds much easier than it is,
according to a Scottsdale parent whose daughters are being
educated that way.
"It's not for everybody," Siamak Ghaffari said. "There's an
extensive amount of material. Just because you're sitting at
home doesn't mean there isn't work to do."
Ghaffari's daughters - Talia, 12, an eighth-grader, and Layla,
10, a seventh-grader - are enrolled in Connections Academy. The
at-home program describes itself as an option for K-8 students
who are far ahead or far behind, frequently miss school because
of illness or other reasons, or are involved in extracurricular
activities requiring a more flexible schedule.
Connections Academy, affiliated with Chancellor Beacon charter
schools, will hold informational meetings for 2004-05 this week
in the East Valley. Representatives of the program, along with
parents and teachers involved, will be on hand at:
• 6:30 p.m. today at the Chandler Community Center, 125 E.
Commonwealth Ave., Chandler.
• 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Mesa Library, 64 E. First St., Mesa.
• 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Chancellor Charter School at West
Gilbert, 14919 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert.
Through the academy, each student is assigned a teacher and
works with a "learning coach," usually a parent. Curriculum is
supplemented online, according to spokeswoman Mickey Revenaugh,
who said the Baltimore-based program is now in six states and
serves about 100 students in Arizona.
"These are public-school students," Revenaugh said. "They just
don't happen to go to a building. Bricks-and-mortar schools are
not appropriate for every kid."
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