Connections Academy

Connections Academy is a for-profit corporate provider of online school products and services to virtual schools for grades K-12, including full-time online schools bearing the "Connections Academy" name across the country. It is based in Columbia, Maryland[1] and is part of Pearson's Online & Blended Learning K-12 group. It supports public online schools for grades K-12 across the United States. A private online school, International Connections Academy,[2] is also available to students who live abroad. Online schools are an alternative to traditional public schools.[3] Similar to charter schools, they are subsidized by the state. Although they contract with many non-profit schools, they are a for-profit corporation.[4]

Connections Academy
Industryeducation management organization
Founded2001 (2001)
FounderBarbara Dreyer
Headquarters10960 Grantchester Way,
ParentPearson Education


In the spring of 2001, Sylvan Ventures started a separate business unit to create a virtual school program with its first virtual schools beginning in Wisconsin and Colorado.[5] The company first began providing online school services to two schools in the fall of 2002. In September 2004, Connections Academy was sold to an investor group led by Apollo Management, L.P. The company now operates public schools under management contracts from charter schools or school districts.

A new corporate entity called Connections Education was established in early 2011.[6] In this same year, on September 15, 2011, Pearson, an international learning company, acquired Connections Education for in excess of $400 million.[7]

Connections Education is now Pearson's Online & Blended Learning division; delivering the Connections Academy online public school program and other online learning services called Pearson Connexus to educational institutions and other organizations nationwide. A private online school called International Connections Academy serves students across the globe. In 2019 it was announced that UK-based Harrow school would deliver and online education option leveraging Pearson Connexus.[8]

In 2019 six new Connections Academy schools opened.


  • USDLA "Outstanding Leadership in the Field of Distance Learning" 2016 awarded to Amada Ebel, Executive Director, South Carolina Connections Academy[9]
  • Ohio Connections Academy recognized with a 2015 Momentum Award by Ohio State Board of Education, 2016[10]
  • Indiana Connections Academy Recognized for Counseling Program, 2015[11]
  • Lea Ann Lockard, Executive Director of Texas Connections Academy @ Houston, EdTech Leadership Award, 2016[12]
  • Dr. Patricia Hoge, Connections Education Executive Vice President of Curriculum and Instruction and Chief Academic Officer, USDLA Award for Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning, 2015[13]
  • Connections Education Named "Top Workplace" by The Baltimore Sun for third consecutive year, 2015[14]
  • Connections Education Awarded Renewed AdvancED Accreditation, 2015[15]
  • Connections Education's Connexus® education management system, GradPoint, and education technology online learning courses Win Tech&Learning Award of Excellence for Best Upgraded Products, 2015[16]
  • Connections Education Wins Three BESSIE Awards for Exemplary Educational Software, 2015[17]
  • Connections Education Middle School Art Wins CODiE Award—Honored in Best Arts & Creativity Solution category, 2015[18]


  1. "Pearson Opens New Office in Downtown Columbia". Columbia, MD Patch. 2017-12-07. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  2. Mitic, Ginanne Brownell. "Do the Math: The Percentage of Expat Homeschoolers Is Growing". WSJ. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  3. "Competing for the Virtual Student -- THE Journal". THE Journal. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  4. "Connections Academy- Homeschooling Resources". Archived from the original on 8 November 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  5. Henry, Bryan. "Schools of the future: Inside Alabama's virtual public school". Retrieved 2017-10-31.
  6. Bell, Tom. "Multinational giant set to run first virtual school in Maine". The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  7. Connections Academy, retrieved 2012-08-01
  8. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. "USDLA 2016 International Awards Presented for Excellence in Distance Learning for Individuals, Organizations and Companies Honoring their Outstanding Achievements". PRWeb. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  10. "Ohio Department of Education". Ohio Department of Education. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  11. "RAMP Recipients | American School Counselor Association (ASCA)". Archived from the original on 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  12. victorrivero (2016-03-15). "2016 – Finalists & Winners". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  13. "Connections Education wins International Distance Learning Awards". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  14. "Top Workplaces - Page 25 - NO .9 Connections Education". Archived from the original on 2016-10-12. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  15. "Connections Education Awarded Renewed AdvancED Accreditation". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  16. "Pearson Leads the 2015 Tech & Learning Magazine Awards of Excellence With Nine Winners". PRWeb. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  17. "ComputED Gazette - 2016 BESSIE Awards". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
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