Officials pitch online charter school option

By By Jordan Gribble / Special to the American Press

Louisiana Connections Academy, an

online, tuition-free K-12 public charter school held an information

session for prospective

students and their parents on Thursday. Connections Academy has

schools in 26 states, the Louisiana branch of which has operated

for two years and has 1,200 students currently enrolled.

Similar to other charter schools, Connections Academy offers students an alternative to traditional public or private schools,

only in a virtual environment.

“A lot of people ask what virtual

education is, and it’s not about sitting in front of a computer all day

long,” said Shelly

Centanni, Parent Outreach Coordinator and Kindergarten Teacher for

Louisiana Connections Academy. “We have a rich mix of activities

that our students do. In addition to their textbooks and laptops

that they are given to be used while they are with us, they’ll

also be sent art kits, things they’ll need for physical education

classes. The curriculum is top notch, and our technology

is on the cutting edge.”

Centanni said the school which gives

its graduates a state diploma is dedicated to tailoring education to

each individual

student. For instance, a junior high student will begin the school

day at 6 a.m., taking classes such as Chinese, math, language

arts and horseback riding, while a high school student will begin

at 9 a.m. and might take Advanced Placement art history,

calculus and chemistry.

“Our elementary school students spend a

majority of their time in school offline. In middle and high school,

we’re trying

to make sure we’re getting our students college ready, so they

have more interaction with their teachers with online lessons

and are able to contact them and ask them for help whenever it’s

needed,” Centanni said.

All of the school’s teachers are Louisiana-certified and work in a central location in Baton Rouge where they are on hand

to chat one-on-one with students online or by phone.

“When I worked in a brick and mortar

school, I knew my students, but I didn’t know them personally. As a

teacher at Connections

Academy, I know my students, I know their families, I even know

their pets. We’re really involved with our students, and not

just with their academics but with the whole student. All of our

teachers are really passionate about what we do,” Centanni


Open enrollment for the program for the 2013-2014 academic year began on March 1 and those looking for more information can

call the school at 225-372-8389 or enroll online at