"Blended" High Schools to Open Fall 2012

Connections Education (www.ConnectionsEducation.com), provider of online and blended learning, will open high schools in fall 2012 that offer students a comprehensive high school experience in a personalized and flexible school setting. The new Nexus Academy schools are tuition-free, open enrollment public high schools focused on college prep.

Unlike traditional high school environments, the new Nexus Academy Blended High Schools will more closely resemble college campus seminar rooms and student common areas.In the 2012-2013 school year, Nexus Academy schools will open in Ohio (planned for Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo), Michigan (planned for Lansing and Grand Rapids, pending final authorizer approval), with additional schools planned around the country in future years. Nexus Academy schools will serve no more than 250 to 300 high school students in grades 9-12, allowing maximum personal attention to each student.

At Nexus Academy public schools, students will attend a physical campus where teachers interact with students both online and on-site, while campus-based “Success Coaches” help guide students through Connections Education’s comprehensive online high school curriculum. Students will be provided with a mobile computer and other technology tools, allowing them to work anywhere within the Nexus Academy school as well as beyond, 24/7.

Success Coaches guide students through the online program while on-site and online teachers provide instruction, grade papers, and personalize the learning experience.The new blended high schools will have a strong focus on academics and college readiness. Students will have access to core academic courses in Math, Science, Social Studies, and English as well as Advanced Placement and Honors courses. Foreign language offerings will include Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, German, Latin, and Sign Language. Electives will offer opportunities to explore subjects like Digital Arts, Introduction to Entrepreneurship, Engineering Design, Marine Science, and Game Design. Students may also participate in clubs and activities including Digital Storytelling, Debate and Chess, a Yearbook, an Environmental club, and more. An education management system, Connexus®, will tie the online community together and provide students with access to lessons anywhere they have an Internet connection -- on-site, at home, at libraries and museums.

Following a design custom-created by Godshall Kane Architects LLC, a Pennsylvania-based firm that specializes in school spaces, Nexus Academy campuses will include “team” areas with casual seating for both collaborative and individual work, seminar-style classrooms where students meet with teachers in small groups,hands-on science and art labs, a café, and a fitness center outfitted with gym equipment and offering unique fitness options through qualified personal trainers. Revenaugh continued, “Environment is very important and we are taking great care to develop settings that welcome teens, speak their language, and ignite learning (their way). We have been really inspired by some amazing renovated loft and industrial spaces, like Tyler Village in Cleveland – we envision bright, open spaces to foster creative thought and productivity.”

Students will attend school on a morning or afternoon shift, ensuring an optimal student-to-staff ratio while allowing time in the school day for internships, college dual enrollment, and pursuit of personal passions such as sports or performing arts.

In keeping with Connections Education’s focus on accountability, Nexus Academy schools are being launched in partnership with the nation’s leading “best practice” charter authorizers: Ohio Council of Community Schools and the Central Michigan University Center for Charter Schools. Each school has its own distinct school board and will be using the Connections Education curriculum. Connections Education is accredited by AdvancED.

"Today's teens grew up with computers, cell phones, and social networks. Nexus Academy schools combine the best of online and onsite learning--personalizing and empowering--for an option that will be very well received," commented Tom VanderArk, author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World, founder of GettingSmart.com, and member of the board for iNACOL (International Association for K-12 Online Learning).

Enrollment is underway for the upcoming school year and information sessions for interested students and their families will take place in early June and throughout the summer. A temporary website is available at www.nexusacademyinfo.com/ for more information.