ST. CLOUD -- While several school district's are moving away from virtual learning, interest in online schooling continues to grow.

Minnesota Connections Academy is an online public school that has been around for over a decade.

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Brad Swanson is the Executive Director of Minnesota Connections Academy. He says even before the pandemic, there were many reasons families have opted for a virtual classroom setting for their children.

We have a large percentage of students who are here because they've had a negative schooling experience. A lot of families are attracted to the flexibility the program provides. We also have students who come here because they are trying to heal mentally or physically for some type of trauma.

Minnesota Connections Academy has roughly 4,000 K-12th grade students from all across the state currently enrolled.

Swanson says online public schooling is different from what students experience during distance learning.

It's something we have been doing for a long time. We have practices in place and our staff is trained in virtual education and that makes a big difference.

Swanson says in addition to academics, their teachers focus on emotional well-being and social development, while working closely with families to match a students unique needs, interests, and abilities.

Swanson says they are still accepting students for this year. First day of classes is September 7th.

If you would like to learn more about online public schooling, Minnesota Connections Academy is holding an online information session on September 21st at 6:00 p.m.


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