Last week California Connections Academy @Ripon started the 2012-2013 school year, led by a very enthusiastic principal, Don Ogden.
“The first day of school was Monday, and the students were already on-line doing work before I started my day,” Ogden said.
It was not quite 7 a.m.
“There is so much excitement and motivation,” Ogden said of the students.
California Connections Academy, a division of Connections Education, established the on-line academy @Ripon to serve K-12 students in Alameda, Amador, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, and Stanislaus counties. As principal, Ogden will lead the school’s teachers, administrators and support staff – accredited by AdvancED.
This on-line school is funded with public school money, and is therefore tuition free to the residents it is set up to serve. Ogden distinguishes California Connections Academy from “independent study”, which is the designated category of public school funded alternative education.
Students in all grade levels socialize through group labs, clubs and activities; school-sponsored events and field trips; and LiveLessons, which are virtual classrooms where students can communicate with peers and teachers in real time.
“Unlike independent study, we are a virtual academy,” Ogden declared, “There is a live, credentialed teacher that supports every class and every student.”
John Fleishman, Director of Technology Services for the Sacramento County Department of Education, encourages parents to review the curriculum and API scores – as they would for any traditional school. “It is up to the parent to determine if any traditional or alternative program will work for their child,” Fleishman said.
Fall enrollment is at 50% of capacity, and Ogden expects that @Ripon will keep enrollment open until spring 2013. “At the pace we are taking on students, we will be at capacity by spring,” Ogden said.
About 30% of students are enrolled thus far are residents in the Sacramento region.
According to Ogden the student body is equally distributed between 50 percent K-8 and 50 high school students. “The high school students did their own research to select California Connections Academy,” Ogden said, “They were concerned about improving their chances to get into college.”
Prior to joining California Connections Academy @ Ripon, Ogden served as principal at Camellia Basic School, in Sacramento, where he was also involved in district-wide planning committees and mentored new administrators. Ogden holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from California State University, Stanislaus, and a master’s degree in education from the University of La Verne.
For more information, visit California Connections Academy @ Ripon. The school’s teaching center is located in Ripon (580 N. Wilma Ave., Suite G).
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