I’ve been an educator in Utah for 9 years and have loved seeing the growing diversity of options for our students over that time. Not every educational institution is the right fit for every child. That’s why I am thankful for learning options and am celebrating National School Choice Week.
Families should be empowered to choose the academic environment that best cultivates learning in their children. Exciting things are happening nationally to offer more choice to learners. I've had the opportunity to teach in many of these different school types. In all of them, the most important factor in a student's education is the parent being involved and supportive. The right placement for the student can make a difference.
I am a teacher at Utah Connections Academy, a statewide tuition-free online public school. It's a great fit for students who want to focus on their work more independently and those seeking a good relationship with a learning coach who can help keep them focused. We are also a great fit for students who need a flexible schedule, students who might need more support, or for those who want more of a challenge. This past year, we've also been able to provide a stable education for students who might have a harder time with the changing structure of other schools to prevent the spread of COVID.
I completed my master’s degree online with WGU and ever since then I wanted to teach online. I was more engaged in my courses because I could slow down where I needed more help and speed up on parts that were easier. I was also surprised to find out that I got to work with my online teachers much more than with on-campus teachers. That is another reason I love teaching online with Utah Connections Academy. I can customize my schedule and have more time for tutoring or small groups.
Recently, I have seen parents and older students choose and become more informed about their educational options by visiting schools, shadowing students, attending information sessions, and speaking with other families. Flexibility in location and services ultimately benefit whole communities.