When seniors walk across the stage to get their high school diplomas from the leaders of Louisiana’s top academic performing virtual charter school, Louisiana Connections Academy, the senior receiving the $2,500 Barbara J. Dreyer Scholarship will be 17-year-old Darian Callais of Marrero.
The reason that is significant is because Barbara Dreyer is the founder of the online charter school business for which the school is named. She was a pioneer in the charter school and public school reform movement who died in 2016 from breast cancer.
Darian Callais, a competitive dancer who travels while in school to workshops, conventions and competitions, won the scholarship because of her essay writing skills.
"What I like most about LACA is the scheduling flexibility. The program at LACA allows me to work ahead when I know I will have time constraints. I also appreciate that I am able to attend classes via the live lesson room even if I am out of town. LACA was a perfect fit for me,” said Darian.
Her mom agreed. "My entire experience was positive and I am so glad I found this program. I attended an information session that was held in my area and was able to talk to other parents and some of the teachers at LACA,” said Christie Callais.
While enrollment at the K-12 school is limited to 2100 students, Louisiana Connections Academy staff, enrolled students and parents are holding information sessions across the state and online so other students can explore the school’s offerings and free, online public education.
Meanwhile, seniors like Darian will graduate June 11, 3 p.m. at the Alexandria Riverfront Center, 707 Second St., with her school Principal Shuanessy Matthews presiding.
The top reasons parents choose a virtual charter, like LACA, for their children, according to Principal Matthews, are:
· The student requires or wants greater flexibility;
· The student wants a change from their local school;
· The student wants a safe learning environment.
"Our students find a virtual school provides a change of mindset," said Ms. Matthews.
More than a quarter of a million American students in grades K-12 get their education virtually. Louisiana Connections Academy is open to students from every parish in Louisiana.