My name is Michelle Mueller and I am the principal of Wisconsin Connections Academy (WCA), one of Wisconsin’s first virtual schools that opened in 2002. Over the years many people have asked me if WCA would be a good school for their child. What will the experience be like? Can he really learn without being in a traditional classroom? It’s never a simple answer, because students come here for so many reasons. So, how can you know if virtual schooling is for you? One way to help learn about a virtual school is to visit one. Since I can’t transport you to WCA’s teaching center, let me take you on a virtual tour.
About Wisconsin Connections Academy
Wisconsin Connections Academy operates from a teaching center in Appleton, Wisconsin, though we serve students throughout the state. When you walk through the doors the first thing you see are teachers working with their students. But instead of being at the front of a room full of kids, they are at their desks instructing students by phone, email, and in online classrooms.
Peek into the elementary classroom. That’s Ms. Graf, one of our first grade teachers, doing a letter and sound assessment. Over there is Mrs. Lisowe, the fourth grade teacher, reading with Matt, one of her students. Matt enrolled in WCA because he suffered from migraines that made him miss school regularly. As a result, he really struggled to keep up with his academics. At our school, Matt can work at full speed when he’s feeling good, even getting ahead on his lessons. On days when he’s under the weather, he can afford to take the time off, and at the end of the week or month he’s still on schedule.
Middle School Education
Let’s take a look at our middle school. Look at the smile on Mrs. Johnston’s face. Right now, she is conducting a lesson for a class of gifted and talented students using our online classroom. Even with a virtual room full of students, the teacher is able to provide focused attention to the individual needs of each student. Katie is one of the students in Mrs. Johnston’s classroom. Katie was referred to us by an educator who saw that a traditional classroom wasn’t meeting Katie’s needs. She is a quick learner who also is active in tennis and music. Katie needs a school that allows her to move at a faster pace. Her parents love that at WCA she can move ahead onto new subjects instead of being given “busywork” while waiting for other students to catch up. WCA also allows Katie to dig deeper into the subjects that intrigue her most. And she can dedicate more time to practicing and competing in the outside activities she loves, tennis and music.
Mr. MacDonald, a middle school teacher, is out of the office today. He’s joining a group of our families on a field trip. We hold field trips during the year at locations across the state. Families love our field trips because they provide an opportunity not only to learn, but to meet other students and parents. They also allow the WCA staff to get out and connect with our families in their communities.
High School Education
Finally, the tour ends at our high school. Mr. Doden, the math teacher, is helping Aaron solve a multi-step equation. Aaron has been enrolled in WCA for a few years now. Before WCA, Aaron had been home schooled, public schooled and private schooled, but none of these worked for him. He spent many tear-filled nights working on homework while his mother re-taught him what had been presented earlier in class. In a traditional school Aaron was bullied and even physically assaulted. He had lost confidence in himself and his abilities. Our virtual school has allowed Aaron to learn in a much more personalized way. He now is finding success in learning that he didn’t have before, and he’s gained self-confidence. Virtual education has been a real blessing for Aaron and his family.
Why I Love Wisconsin Connections Academy
I love working at a virtual school. I enjoy making sure that every child is supported, whatever the situation. Of course I’m not alone here. Wisconsin Connections Academy has what I think is the best group of teachers I’ve ever worked with. And that dedication and love of what they do translates into success for all of our students.
To consider Wisconsin Connections Academy (WCA) as an option for the upcoming school year, you must apply during Wisconsin’s open enrollment period which closes at 4pm on April 28, 2017. Learn more at www.ConnectionsAcademy.com/WCA.
Michelle Mueller, Principal
Wisconsin Connections Academy
350 W. Capitol Drive