WOODS CROSS—Education is very important in Utah. Funding and classroom size is an ongoing issue and there is sure to be plenty of discussion on the topic as the 2017 legislative session gets underway next week.
But not all parents realize there are many options when it comes to finding the right fit for their child. That is the purpose of National School Choice Week, Jan. 22 – Jan. 28.
“Parent choice has been the backbone to our culture and society,” said Utah Connections Academy Principal Jeffrey Herr. “School is very personal and emotional. Parents and students need to feel like they have the right to maximize their learning. This applies to educators as well. Sometimes they get pushed into the shadows but they’d love to have the shackles off as well.”
Choice is important in education whether it’s traditional, charter or home school, he said. “We have to find the best fit for all kids. For my wife and I, our parent choice was that we found a good school but it wasn’t in our boundaries so we moved. It was a good high school and our kids flourished.”
Herr said over his career he’s seen parents who want to be involved in their children’s education. “It enriches it,” he said. “I encourage parents to seek out and find that niche that they can create through private or homeschooling groups. They have every right to fight for their kids. Even in public schools.”
Although most traditional schools are brick and mortar, Herr’s environment is virtual. “It’s a great opportunity for a student to maximize his potential,” he said. “Students can actually own their education and parents can be a true partner as a ‘learning coach.’”
Utah Connections Academy’s lessons are designed to be cool and fun, Herr said. “Parents are an equal partner – our curriculum is wonderful.”
Due to the nature of the school, testing is done all over the state at a hotel or library. “This gives us a chance to meet face to face and parents can meet other parents and students to link and build a community,” he said.
The academy operates out of an office in Woods Cross but has students from all over the state. “We have activities once a month to bring the kids together,” said Herr. “We try to spread out across the Wasatch Front and we have some students in Cedar City and St. George. We had field trips to a culinary school, the Living Planet Aquarium and a zoo day. We went bowling at Fat Cats and have arts activities. People think there is no social life – but it’s pretty rich.”
Parents who are interested in knowing more about school choice options can attend Capitol Day Jan. 26 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. during the legislative session. For more information about Utah Connections Academy or other events during school choice week call 800-382-6010 or visit www.UtahConnectionsAcademy.com.