Online public schooling is a new and emerging method for supplementary home schooling or an alternative to traditional brick and mortar schools. As of today, hundreds of thousands of students are enrolled in online schools or some form of digital learning environment.
And the great thing is that this form of schooling is available for all grades from Kindergarten to 12th grade. Some of the schools even provide preparation for colleges and careers.
In this article, we will take a look at K12 vs Connections Academy. These are two popular online schools, which in fact also have partnered with offline, physical schools across many states. Here you will find a detailed comparison between Connections Academy vs K12. They are both reputed schools and have a good user response.
K12 Online School
K12 is one of the global leaders in online K-12 schooling and education. It was started in the year 2000, and has since been providing quality options to parents and students for holistic learning and educational development.
K12 also offers various programs, accessible by everyone, which include the option to combine online and in-person learning. The curriculum is designed to be interactive and provide a personalized learning experience.
Available in three major levels, K12 offers education management on a state-wise basis, as an alternative for physical and traditional schooling; as a supplement for classroom teaching; and as a private home-schooling method.
K12 also develops and offers educational software to its learners, and focuses on all core subjects such as math, languages, art, science and co-curricular subjects such as music, dance, world culture and much more.
It is pretty easy to join the system, you can easily enroll through the forms given on the website and fill in the details required.
 Tuition Free Online Public Schooling
With K12, you get a full time and tuition free learning environment. Anyone from kindergarten to grade 12 can opt in to this system, at any grade. The faculties and teachers are professionals, and have state certifications.
The K12 powered online schools provide education and learning material such as textbooks, assignments, workbooks and more. To keep the students in sync with traditional schooling, similar academic calendars are followed by K12.
The assessments are built keeping in mind the state requirements and guidelines, to provide a standard educational competency. On successful completion of your high school courses, you also receive a high school diploma.
 Career Readiness
K12 has a set of curriculums in place to help high school students work and develop themselves in the direction of the career they wish to pursue.
In all major sectors such as IT, human and health services, business, science and more.
The schools supported through K12 provide guidance and counseling to students in order to help them choose which field they want to proceed in and accordingly develop their skills.
 Online Private Schooling
The K12 network includes three online private schools which are considered to be quite good. In addition, there are individual courses and programs that you can opt for, if you are looking for specialized learning or skill development, or simply want to brush up and learn more about a topic.
In the following three points, the primary online academies powered by K12 have been described.
 K12 Private Academy
This online learning school can be accessed globally. It offers tutors, academic coaches, admission advisors, college counselors and more. The syllabus design is done by K12. Eligible students can also apply for fully paid scholarships.
A number of courses are recognized for athletic eligibility by the NCAA. The semester dates are in accordance with the native schooling systems for synchronized learning.
 Keystone School
This academy provides more than 170 courses which include pre-recorded videos and schedulable classes along with teacher support as and when needed.
All major courses such as core subjects, AP, electives, world languages and credit recovery courses are also available. The adult learning program allows students who are older than 19 to enroll.
Being an online academy, it accepts admissions all year round.
 The George Washington University Online High School
This academy is open for grades 8-12. The main focus of the education system here is comprehensive preparation for college. This online school is a partner of the George Washington University.
You get one-to-one attention and support from faculties and teachers. The curriculum is personalized. Students also get leadership training and college counseling, in addition to a senior capstone project.
Scholarship opportunities are also available.
 Individual Programs and Courses
K12 also offers a set of standalone courses and subject programs that can be purchased separately. There are 12 month courses for grades Kindergarten to 12th. You can also opt for hardcopies of materials or software based books.
There are a variety of payment plans and also a 30-day money back guarantee. You can also opt for learning systems which have optional teacher support. Students can also prepare for ACT-SAT tests and college entrance exams.
Pros and Cons of K12 Online School
- A highly structured and well-designed learning program. Users get a personalized syllabus which is curated for their knowledge development.
- State certified teachers are available to guide and mentor students in both online and offline areas where possible.
- The online learning classes are flexible and can be scheduled as per your requirements. The lesson plans can also be modified to a slight extent.
- One of the downsides to online K12 learning is the lack of socializing or interaction opportunities for students with their batch mates.
- The costs associated might not be affordable for everyone, although some programs offer scholarships to eligible students.
How Much Does K12 Online School Cost?
There are a number of pricing plans available for K12. You can either choose to pay the entire amount at the time of enrolment or make monthly payments. There are additional discounts for sibling enrolment and more.
The one-time payment plan will cost $260. To purchase the monthly payment plan, you will have to pay 12 instalments of $24 each. These are for the annual course plans. K12 also provides monthly courses, which can be purchased for $30 per month.
To enroll in teacher led courses, which include live classes and student-teacher interactions cost in the upwards of $450, and go up to $950 depending on the package and courses you select, and if you opt for the semester plan or full year plan.
Connections Academy Online Public School
Connections Academy is a corporate company providing education and online schooling facilities for grades K-12, which include both online and offline schools. Connections Academy has partnered up with local schools in multiple areas to provide supported learning, as well as full-time online schools.
Connections Academy is a part of the Pearson’s Online and Blended Learning Group. The International Connections Academy is an alternative they provide for global students offering the same quality and standards of learning.
There is state subsidy available to such schools, much like charter schools. Although the foundation for the project was laid in 2001, the company began its operations in the field of education at the start of the Fall Semester of 2002.
Connections Academy is a tuition free full-time school, offering both public and private schooling systems. All main courses such as math, science, arts, language and more are taught by state-approved teachers and a well-designed curriculum.
 Modern Education Design
To ensure that the students of Connections Academy always have access to the latest information and advancements, the online curriculum of Connections Academy has been developed keeping in mind the rapidly changing world and the skills and knowledge required in today’s scenario.
 Modes of Learning
With Connections Academy, you can opt for either of the learning modes. The first one being online lessons which will comprise of structured, pre-recorded videos. You can schedule your classes in this and the video will be made available to you in accordance with your course structure.
The other option is the live class, which you will have to attend much like regular school classes, just online. You can additionally choose a combination of learning modes you prefer, subject to availability.
 Comprehensive Learning Materials
The Connections Academy panel of education experts designs the syllabus and curriculum for the students. They also review and approve of learning material sure of providing the best possible quality and learning experience for the students.
The Connections Academy team also designs activities and interactive classes which are meant to keep the students intrigued, enhance their curiosity and provide a more holistic education.
 Wide Range of Electives
Another great thing about Connections Academy is the options it provides students in terms of electives and additional courses. Electives help make the knowledge gaining platform a more interesting place, since the students pick the electives they are most interested in.
Some of the elective courses offered at Connections Academy are: world languages, home science and home life, sign language, game design and much more.
 CTE Preparation
CTE, or Career and Technical Education, is a branch of study which is meant for students in high school, so they can prepare for college and build working skills.
The CTE courses offered by Connections Academy allow students to explore their options and prepare for careers in fields of their choice, as well as learn about colleges and streamline their path to better employability.
 Summer School
In addition to the standard learning options provided by Connections Academy, they also have a summer schooling system. They provide this through their partnership with Pearson Online Academy.
Students can use the summer school to enhance their knowledge or skills or simply to utilize their time better and stay ahead of the curve.
 Connexus Learning Platform
Connexus is the online portal of Connections Academy. It provides a 24/7 access to parents and students to lessons, grades, assignments, and means to contact teachers, along with other resources.
You can even use this platform to connect with other students and teachers. It also offers a number of tools to the students, and allows them to participate in clubs, activities, monitor their progress (grade 6 onwards), communicates securely and safely with fellow students and teachers, and much more.
Pros and Cons of Connections Academy
- The design of the website and the portal has been done really well. The user interface is exciting and fresh, with all important tools and information displayed neatly and in an organized manner.
- An amazing benefit of joining Connections Academy is the field trip system. Students can opt to go for an educational trip with their friends and families, and this also gives them an opportunity to interact with students they otherwise only attend online classes with.
- Students get access to platforms that contain specially designed games and more such curated content to enhance the learning experience of students.
- The summer school option is great and allows students to make the most of their free time and have fun while learning as well.
- The platform offered by Connections Academy, Connexus serves as an easy way to access course materials and other resources 24/7.
- Live class management is poor. The schedules for the classes are often given only after school starts, and as a result, students receive the class schedules only about 1-2 hours prior to the class. This can be managed better by providing schedules in advance.
- There are multiple communication issues. The enrolment process is slightly cumbersome, and initial setup is a long and tiring process.
How Much Does Connections Academy Online School Cost?
Connections Academy is a tuition-free online school, so it is free to attend. You do not need to pay any fee for enrolling or attending. The course materials will be made available to you for free as well.
You will however have to pay for regular school supplies such as notebooks and registers, stationary and so on, and will require a laptop/ desktop with an internet connection.
Major Differences Between K12 Vs Connections Academy
After discussing the main features and specialities of both K12 and Connections Academy we will now look at the main points of difference between them.
Although a lot of the functioning methods are similar for both, there are differences that can make a considerable difference depending on your child’s learning preferences.
Perhaps one of the major factors in the decision process, the pricing K12 and Connections Academy is quite different. While K12 charges money and you will need to pay a minimum amount based on your course plan, the Connections Academy is completely free of cost.
#2 School Network
K12 has a wide state-wise network of partner schools that you can enroll your child in. Moreover, it offers three reputed online schools for better and more diverse options. A university is also included in this partner network.
#3 Field Trips
A great initiative by Connections Academy, the field trips offer a more holistic learning environment for the students, and allows them to interact with the kids and classmates they otherwise only meet in an online format. K12 also offers field trips but they are less frequent and you might miss out on school work that way.
#4 College Preparation
Although both K12 and Connections Academy offer college preparation courses, the overall system is better in K12. It has a variety of college and career counseling workshops and instructional sessions, in addition to classes and courses dedicated to college entrance exam preparation and skill development for better workforce employability.
#5 Learning Management
Even though both are promising and capable schooling services, it has been general user feedback that K12 has a much better and accepting environment than Connections Academy.
A lot of users have reported dissatisfaction with their user-handling and conflict resolution experience while being enrolled or enrolling in Connections Academy.
#6 Online Platform
This is the main area where you will be attending school, and it’s important that this platform be well developed and fully functional, while providing all important information, links and tools that a student may require throughout the day.
In this aspect, the Connections Academy platform has a slight upper hand on the K12 platform. The design of their user interface is comparatively a bit better, and students can easily access all their learning related tools quite easily.
#7 Extra-Curricular Classes
Both K12 and Connections Academy offer a variety of extra-curricular classes, but the way you can attend these are different in both.
In Connections Academy, you need to first take up the core subjects for 30 days; if you do well in these, you will be allowed to take extra-curricular courses of your choice.
On the other hand, in K12, you can pursue your co-curricular classes alongside your regular subjects.
Exams conducted both by K12 and Connections Academy follow state guidelines and regulations, to ensure standardized learning and competency.
However, in K12, a student needs to attain 80% or above, known as mastery, in order to move on to the next subject. Connections Academy on the other hand, has this bar set at 67%, and hence mastery is not required.
Students in both schooling systems can advance to the next grade when they have completed one grade.
So, Which Is Better K12 Vs Connections Academy? (CONCLUSION)
Based on all the factors we have discussed above, you would have formed an opinion of what is better for you between K12 vs Connections Academy. On the whole, the general feedback about K12 seems to be better than that for Connections Academy.
The main reason behind this is the fact that Connections Academy gives more power to the individual teachers, and so this often leads to complaints from parents. K12 in this sense has a more traditional home-schooling approach, which gives more control to the parents.
A common factor between both K12 and Connections Academy, and most schools in fact, is that the student needs to be motivated to learn. Students need to put in effort to learn, and only then will the school be able to help them identify and maximize their potential.
So, to finally decide on a schooling network, you can also factor in the pricing, and proximity to the school, in case you are considering a partner school. The other main factor is the assessment methodology, which works on different completion and understanding levels.
After 9th grade however, both schools are quite similar and standardized in their methods of teaching and functioning. It would be recommended to find out the services offered by both K12 and Connections Academy in your area, as some features are area-specific. You can visit their websites to find out more.