Online school to give presentation to local parents

COSTA MESA — With today's technology, education isn't limited to the physical classroom. One virtual school wants locals to learn more about what the school can offer them.

Capistrano Connections Academy, an online K-12 school, is hosting an information session July 25 at Costa Mesa's Residence Inn for families considering educational options beyond the brick-and-mortar schools.

"I think for a lot of families virtual school is something that is hard to imagine at first … but it's a lot more individualized," said teacher Leslie Dombeck, adding that "it's a very good alternative type of education."

Connections Academy is chartered through the Capistrano Unified School District and, as a public school, is tuition free.

The online school works for families who want more control and say in what their children are learning. The school caters to students with special needs, and for students-actors and student-athletes who need more flexible schedules.

"Connections Academy works for an array of different students," said Dombeck, who has worked for the virtual school for five years. She also has experience teaching in traditional schools.

Being online allows parents to stay more connected with live progress reports, transcripts and information on how their child is doing, she said.

Students interact with the teacher via email and phone, and participate in live lessons with their peers through chat, microphones and whiteboard.

The students can ask questions, collaborate with their peers and the teacher can lead a discussion in an online classroom.

Dombeck said it takes students time to adjust to the online format, but after that, there isn't much difference between the interaction taking place in a traditional classroom.

One of parents' big concerns with online education tends to be peer interaction, Dombeck said.

The school gives students the opportunity to join virtual clubs with students around the country, talk to each other in message boards, and the school arranges about five field trips a month in each county, Dombeck said, adding that teachers and families are invited, too.

"It's one great way for the students to get to meet face to face," she said.

If You Go

What: Informational meeting on the Capistrano Connections Academy

When: 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 25

Where: Residence Inn, 881 W. Baker St., Costa Mesa


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