Virtual School Students Meet For First Time

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ST. JOHNS (WILX)-- One of Michigan's virtual schools has more than doubled in size since lawmakers removed the enrollment cap earlier this year.

When Michigan Connections Academy started in 2010 it had 400 students, it now has 1,600 enrolled.

On Thursday more than five hundred of those students (K-12) got to meet their fellow classmates, and teachers, for the first time (in person) as part of a field trip. It was a unique, but exciting experience for the kids.

"They could hardly sleep last night because they wanted to meet their teachers and their friends," said Edwina Gibson, guardian of three online students.

"It was just awesome. I never thought I'd get to meet my teacher in person. It was just awesome," said Nakyia Gibson, 5th grade student.

The virtual school's growing so fast that the it decided to put a cap on how many students it'll allow. Once enrollment reaches 1,800, the academy will stop accepting students for the year.

"More and more families are looking at the choices they have and the options out there, but I think growing at a reasonable rate is better. We want to make sure everyone is set up for success," said Carrie Zopf, 5th grade teacher at Michigan's Connection Academy.

Success is exactly why the parents decided to make the switch.

"She's talented and I needed her to be somewhere that would challenge her. She's done a hundred times better since she started the online academy," said Gibson.

"My daughter doesn't want to go back to the public school. I've asked her so many times. Michigan Connection is the perfect school for my child, she can go at a pace that perfect for her," said Misty Biniecki.

Michigan Connections Academy is a public school, even though it's online. The students take MEAP tests and log 31 hours a week to keep up to standards.

It may be a different way of learning but the goal is still the same, preparing our kids for the best possible future.

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