NC Connection Academy dedicates facility

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 26, 2015

Nearly 300 parents and students enrolled in North Carolina Connections Academy, the state’s free virtual public charter school for grades K-9, attended a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration in Durham.

Connections Academy dedicated its new education facility, where North Carolina Board of Education-certified teachers use technology to educate students all across the state via virtual classroom environments, proprietary interactive web tools, online lesson plans and instruction. Teachers and students work through a rigorous curriculum that meets all state requirements and students’ individual learning needs.

Enrolled families from across the state, invited guests, teachers, school administrators and other guests enjoyed a program guided by Connections Academy freshman Madison Kimrey, 14, of Burlington. Kimrey welcomed attendees by asking them, “Who woke up this morning and decided to witness history in the making?”

“The virtual environment does not replace reality,” Kimrey said, “but rather enriches it. The world is our classroom. Teachers are never more than a phone call or email away. The opportunity to learn and grow is everywhere we are. We witness the grand opening of a school that is the first of its kind. Walls and boundaries break away as we, the students, explore the opportunities around us. You are witnessing a first – and in four years you’ll see the first graduating class of a virtual school in our great state of North Carolina!”

Thirteen-year-old Bassima Frazier of Durham wrote a poem in honor of North Carolina Connections Academy likening school to a sister who can sometimes frustrate, nag and annoy, but also nurtures, guides and shapes future successes. Frazier knows a thing or two about sisters; she has five of them!

Principal Nathan Currie told guests, “This is a great milestone for education in North Carolina. NCCA is the only virtual school in the state where teachers work under the same roof and provide instruction from elementary to high school.

“North Carolina Connections Academy not only provides a first-class education, but our commitment is a world-class virtual education,” Currie said. “NCCA provides a holistic approach for every child addressing their social, emotional and academic needs. Our teachers are 100-percent certified and teaching in the area of certification.”

NC Connections Academy Board President Dr. Bryan Setser thanked the families for making virtual schools in North Carolina a reality.

“Today is a celebration of people, process and persistence,” Setser said. “We look forward to listening to our young people to help us show the way. We are excited about our staff, leadership and teachers and the process they use to respond to what our kids need. And we’ll need everyone here to be persistent towards the success of our school, staff and students. The future is bright because of all of you.”

For Bridget Phifer, mother of enrolled NCCA eighth-grader Destini, 13, of China Grove, the choice to enroll in North Carolina Connections Academy came after experiencing rising tuition costs in private school and trying homeschooling.

“I love that Destini has a customized curriculum focusing on the areas she’s interested in,” Phifer said. “I love having a flexible schedule that lets us rearrange her lessons, if we have to travel or have meetings. I looked at homeschooling and that’s hard, so I love that Destini has a teacher for each subject who is a voice outside of mine helping her to grow, learn and develop into the young lady she is meant to be. I love the fact that she takes part in NCCA field trips and Live Lessons, so the she can build friendships and socialize with other students. And it’s free! I am so grateful to be a part of something like this. I am so thankful for this program.”

North Carolina Connections Academy is a tuition-free, virtual public charter pilot school for students in grades K-9. The school was approved in February 2015 by the North Carolina State Board of Education and will deliver a fully accredited education beginning in the 2015-2016 school year.

NCCA provides students with the flexibility to learn from anywhere there is an Internet connection and with an innovative online curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards. The combination of certified North Carolina-based teachers, an award-winning curriculum, engaging electives, technology tools and social experiences provides a supportive online learning opportunity for students who want an individualized approach to education. NCCA can initially enroll up to 1,500 students from across the state in grades K-9, and a grade level will be added each school year. For more information, call 800-382-6010 or visit