A Virtual K-12 School is Connecting Parents, Students and Teachers to One Another – and Their Community

 

Michelle Mueller is wrapping up a trip across Wisconsin to visit students.

“It’s something we do every year,” she says. “As educators, we know how important it is to get to know our students.”

Michelle is the principal of Wisconsin Connections Academy (WCA), a virtual K-12 school that goes beyond the online learning experience to foster relationships with students.

She can recall the experiences of her students, even those from years back, vividly.

“We had a student a few years ago who didn’t find regular school challenging enough,” Michelle remembers. She says the student was incredibly gifted, but struggled socially and emotionally in school.

“Her mother heard about our academy and her daughter spent two years with us. Eventually she transitioned back into a regular school – now, she is making friends and thriving academically.”

“The real value of this online learning experience is that it provides students with flexibility,” Michelle says.

“There is no such thing as a typical day at Wisconsin Connections Academy,” Michelle says.

So long as students are logging in to their coursework five days per week, they can do so whenever is most convenient for them.

For some students, that flexibility is favorable because they play a sport and train during the day. Others have health issues that affect their ability to be present in a classroom or consistently work through assignments.

The Virtual School Experience

WCA provides families with a fully accredited public education and access to some of the best educational resources found anywhere in Wisconsin.

Students have access to a user-friendly online portal that allows them to easily access learning materials, grades, and other resources – anytime, anywhere.

“Technology has given us the ability to grow and adapt to individual student needs,” Michelle Mueller says.

But what really makes WCA’s online education program unique, Michelle says, is an emphasis on communication and relationship-building.

“Social interaction is a key component of our program,” Michelle emphasizes. “The student experience extends beyond the screen.”

Students meet regularly in online class sessions and have opportunities to share ideas, compare experiences, and have fun learning together. There are even chances to attend in-person gatherings, activities, and field trips.

Teachers Who Care

Teachers, Michelle explains, are the foundation of WCA’s success.

“Our teachers really take care of families,” Michelle says.

“Parents will call me and say, ‘your teachers always respond!’”

Teachers get to know the learning style, skills, and interests of their students to give them the best opportunities to excel – the school calls it the Personalized Performance Learning approach.

The process begins by evaluating each student’s strengths and needs. Teachers then develop customized approaches that work for the student along with the curriculum.

There’s also great attention given to parent relationships.

“Our teachers are committed to working with parents,” Michelle adds, “A lot of curriculum-based conversations take place throughout the academic year through parent-teacher conferences and check-ins with students.”

“Families will call me in absolute shock that our teachers are so responsive. It’s always a thrill to hear how excited they are about the attention their kids get,” Michelle says.


“Families will call me in absolute shock that our teachers are so responsive. It’s always a thrill to hear how excited they are about the attention their kids get,” Michelle says.


Making a Difference

It’s not just parents who are grateful for the individualized educational experience Wisconsin Connections Academy provides.

“A student who graduated four years ago called me out of the blue and said, ‘you made a difference in my life’ – She went to her dream college and now she’s getting her PhD,” Michelle says.

“Knowing we’ve had such a positive effect on students’ lives tells us we’re doing something right.”