New Blended Learning High School To Open In Okemos

By: Caroline Vandergriff Email
By: Caroline Vandergriff Email

A new public high school in the Lansing area is set to open its doors this fall, and it's unlike any other school in Mid-Michigan. The Nexus Academy in Okemos will be a physical version of a virtual high school, combining online courses with face-to-face instruction.

It's called "blended learning" -- and the idea is to prepare kids for college, but with a curriculum that's flexible and personalized for each student.

Connections Education, one of the largest online education companies, is opening these charter high schools in four other cities besides Lansing, including one in Grand Rapids and three in Ohio. The company says the blended learning approach is the most effective educational model, and it's perfect for high school students looking for a different kind of learning environment.

Mickey Revenaugh of Connections Education says the public charter school will enroll about 300 students in grades 9 through 12.

"So in some ways, it's better than the best of both worlds," said Revenaugh. "It's really small where everyone knows your name, and it's also a high school that allows you to master material to really make you college ready."

Students will be responsible for their own learning, coming to Nexus Academy in two shifts for four hours a day. There will be no bells or hall passes. Students will work on their own or in teams to access their online courses or interact with the teachers on-site.

"They will have access to a broad curriculum, broader than most high schools in the state," Revenaugh said. "So they have 20 advanced placement classes, 13 foreign languages, a variety of electives."

The students can move through those classes at their own pace, mimicking more of a college atmosphere than that of a traditional high school.

"This is the perfect environment for anyone who aspires to go to college, but who wants a really different environment to prepare them for that," said Revenaugh.

To prevent students from becoming "computer potatoes," there will be a personal trainer on staff who develops a fitness plan for every student. Every student will be expected to do fitness activities every day. Revenaugh says in today's world all students need some form of post-secondary education, and the Nexus Academy will put them on a path to success.

"This school gets them to graduation, but also prepares them so when they get to college, they can also be really successful," said Revenaugh. "And then finish college in a time frame that makes them and their parents happy, and gets them out into the workforce with the kinds of skills we need for the 21st century."

Enrollment under way for the upcoming school year. Nexus Academy is accepting applications from now until August 2nd. Students in the greater Lansing area who can get themselves to the school is eligible to attend.

There is an information session for interested students or parents every Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express on University Park Drive in Okemos. If you can't attend an info session in person, some are scheduled online as well -

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  • by Anonymous on Sep 4, 2012 at 02:06 PM
    These comment are so funny. The public school in this area are a joke (except Haslett). I enrolled my daughter who HAS fallin through the cracks. She has medical and psych issues. A teacher at Nexus stated, "Your daughter will not fail. If she were to we would only be failing as teachers."
  • by Livin it up Location: Jackson on Jul 24, 2012 at 09:50 AM
    I used to skip school all the time and loved every minute of it. Now I'm working my way up the chain of command in our family business. If you have something to inherit, why deal with all the stress from high school teachers. Sometimes they don't have all the answers...
    • reply
      by Lance on Jul 24, 2012 at 01:47 PM in reply to Livin it up
      I sure hope you learned about commitment and dedication skipping all the time. If I were the head of your family I'd have you cleaning toilets. You sound like one of the many who believe they are deserved something just because they come from wealth that was derived by someone who actually knew the meaning of dedication, showing up regardless of whether you want to be somewhere or not etc. I hope your family business doesn't crash and burn when your at the helm. I've seen this happen way to many times in my lifetime. Best of luck and I hope your family has a close eye on you.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jul 27, 2012 at 04:23 AM in reply to Lance
        Lance, you must be a pie maker! Your pie in the sky comment is derived from WHAT? Have you thought for a moment that commitment and dedication is learned at home? The only commitment and dedication in the public education system today is from those who have highjacked it!!!
  • by Doug on Jul 24, 2012 at 09:06 AM
    This will work for those students that are already motivated. Those students will succeed in any setting. So how is this helping the ones that are falling through the cracks? Because they are the one that aren't motivated and and giving them freedom with school will give them more chances to skip. There are regular public schools already that give students chances to attend college classes and get credit now. So I don't know what the big deal is here!
  • by Anonymous on Jul 24, 2012 at 08:53 AM
    Students are responsible for their own learning? Is this because most high school students are so responsible and are able to motivate themselves to study without parent/teacher intervention? I see a crash N burn on its way.
  • by Greg Location: Lansing on Jul 24, 2012 at 06:13 AM
    More of our Tax dollars leaving the state. This parent company resides in Maryland. Michigan tax dollars help pay for this program. Charter Schools are the worst thing that happened to Public Education. Put the students back in the districts they belong.
    • reply
      by local on Jul 24, 2012 at 10:25 AM in reply to Greg
      I totally agree Greg! This tax money should stay in Michigan, and be used to improve our public schools, instead of lining a corporation's pockets.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jul 27, 2012 at 04:27 AM in reply to local
        There is plenty of money in the public schools, if applied correctly!
  • by KAR Location: Lansing on Jul 24, 2012 at 05:42 AM
    I think if it is applied properly, some kids, not all, but some kids will really excell with a program such as this one. I like the fact that there is a fitness program as well. I wish they had something like this when I was growing up but computers were just starting to become a mainstain in the household.
    • reply
      by Mary on Jul 24, 2012 at 07:24 AM in reply to KAR
      This might be a good idea but only for those who are on the academic track. A new innovation from Charter Schools. Too bad we don't have funding to make our public schools more innovative and prepatory for kids that want to attend college. In addition it would give kids in high school a chance to see what college is like and many might decide that is a good choice for them.
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