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Connections Education of Florida, LLC Virtual Instruction Program (VIP)

Required Disclosures

Connections Education of Florida, LLC1, is a part of the global education company Pearson, through the Pearson Virtual Schools’ division. For accountability purposes we are shown on the Florida Department of Education website as Connections Education of Florida, LLC. However, for business purposes, contracts may also be written as Pearson, Pearson Online & Blended Learning K-12 USA, or Pearson Virtual Schools.

As an approved VIP Provider, Connections Education of Florida, LLC, seeks to partner with districts for full-time virtual charter schools and full- and part-time District VIP programs.

Program Curriculum

The Connections Education of Florida, LLC Course List includes those courses that are currently approved in Florida; this list will be updated as additional courses are approved and will include the school year for which those courses are approved.

The Curriculum Development and Revision Process provides an overview of how Pearson creates its quality online curriculum.

Connections Education of Florida, LLC has many Florida-approved high school core and elective courses that also meet the NCAA Eligibility Center’s non-traditional core-course legislation. The Connections Education of Florida, LLC Course List denotes which courses approved for use in Florida also meet NCAA requirements.

The complete list of our NCAA approved courses is listed on the NCAA Eligibility Center website under Pearson Online and Blended Learning. Note: the NCAA website provides a complete list of NCAA-approved courses; however, not all courses on this list are currently available in Florida.

School Policies and Procedures

The Pearson Connexus Customer Handbook and the Connexus Customer Handbook contain policies and procedures for District VIP programs partnering with Connections Education of Florida, LLC. The Pearson Employee Handbook contains employment policies and procedures for Connections Education of Florida, LLC District VIP teachers and staff.

Non-Sectarian and Anti-Discrimination

Practices that exclude, deny benefits to, or otherwise discriminate against any person on the basis of ethnic group identification/ethnicity, marital status, race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, physical or mental disability, athletic performance, language proficiency in English or another language, prior academic achievement, or age in the admission to, participation in, or receipt of the services under any of the Pearson and its affiliated entities’ educational programs and activities, or in employment practices, are strictly prohibited. Age limitations may only be imposed in response to mandatory state-specific requirements established by the laws of the state under which that particular partner school or program operates.

This non-discrimination statement is in accordance with the provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972 (Title 9), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended (ADA), the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA)

Both Pearson and Connections Education of Florida, LLC are non-sectarian, are not affiliated with any religious or political groups, and comply with Section 1000.05 Florida statutes.

Teacher Responsibilities

Pearson Teachers are credentialed teachers who are the teacher of record for the course in which they are sectioned. Teachers will:

  • Send Welcome WebMail messages within 2-5 business days after the course start date
  • Respond to WebMail messages and telephone calls within 1 business day
  • Host LiveLesson® sessions and provide recordings
  • Provide direct instruction that is teacher-initiated or in response to student-initiated questions
  • Grade assignments, provide grading feedback, and assign final grades
  • Moderate course discussions
  • Follow protocols for synchronous communication and support related to student progress monitoring
  • Implement Student Support Strategies

Parent Responsibilities

The Parent or Caretaker has full and final responsibility for the child’s education and educational decision-making, and therefore must be available to both the District VIP partner and the Connections Education of Florida teacher(s) as needed (generally during regular school hours) for discussions related to the student’s educational and other program-related needs. At minimum, the Caretaker must be available for the monthly phone contact with their student’s teacher(s). All Caretakers are automatically given Caretaker access in Connections Education of Florida E o’s proprietary education management system so they can provide oversight and assistance to their student(s) as appropriate, and to see their student’s work and grades.

Student-Teacher-Student Interaction

Students will have regular, ongoing contact with their C onnections Education of Florida teacher through a combination of phone calls, WebMail messages, LiveLesson sessions, assessment feedback via the Grade Book, and other communications tools. At minimum, each Connections Education of Florida instructor in each course will conduct one contact via phone with the student and his/her Caretaker/parent each month.

Academic Integrity

When enrolled in a course with a Pearson teacher, students are expected to adhere to the Pearson Honor Code. The customer and Pearson are responsible for supplying the Pearson Student Honor Code to students. If a student violates the Pearson Student Honor Code, Pearson teachers will consult the appropriate Academic Integrity Policy (i.e. a district or program policy, or the Pearson policy). As outlined under Required Program Information, programs or districts must provide a copy of their academic integrity policy if they choose for Pearson to implement that policy.

Student Eligibility

Per Florida Statute 1002.455, all students, including home education and private school students, are eligible to participate in the following virtual instruction program options offered by Connections Education of Florida, LLC:

  1. District VIP part-time or full-time kindergarten through grade 12 virtual instruction programs under s. 1002.45(1)(b) (covered in this Appendix and the Customer Handbook for Teaching Services Connexus).
  2. Full-time virtual charter school instruction authorized under s. 1002.33 to students within the school district or to students in other school districts throughout the state pursuant to s. 1002.31. (For information on full-time virtual charter schools partnering with Connections Education of Florida, see the Connections Education of Florida, LLC Approved Provider web page.

Florida law mandates that students meet the following requirements in order to participate in VIP partnerships offered by Connections Education of Florida:

  • Students must reside in the state of Florida; AND
  • Meet the age requirements according to Florida statutes including s. 1003.21.

State Assessment Requirements

All students participating in District VIP partnerships must take statewide assessments pursuant to s. 1008.22 and in the state’s education performance accountability system under s. 1008.31. Connections will work closely with all District VIP partners to communicate this requirement to students and their Caretakers.

Statewide assessments may be administered within the school district in which such student resides, or as specified in the District’s contract with Connections Education of Florida , in accordance with s. 1008.24 (3). If requested by either Connections Education of Florida the District VIP partner, the district of residence must provide the student with access to the district’s testing facilities.

Attendance and Participation Requirements

All District VIP partner students must comply with the compulsory attendance requirements of s.1003.21. Student attendance must be verified by the school district.

The following Recommended Hours Per Week and Required Hours Per Year are provided to help students, their families, and their teachers ensure students both meet Florida hours of attendance requirements and remain on pace to complete their coursework on time.

Grade Band Recommended Hours Per Week Required Hours Per Year
K–3 20 720
4–12 25 900


Instructional Personnel

The document below contains the certification status and physical locations of administrative personnel.

View the Florida Administration Certification Report

The document below contains the instructional staff certification and qualifications.

View the 2020-21 FT VIP Teacher Certification Info


Hours and Times of Availability of Instructional Personnel

For District VIP partnerships, the school calendar may vary to comply with each district’s school calendar.

We have structured teacher hours of availability to ensure that teachers are available to their students at least eight hours each weekday:

  • All teachers are available to students and their families during core office hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST.
  • All teachers will have additional office hours before or after the core hours; these hours will depend on the time zone in the teacher's state of residence.
  • Many teachers also have evening hours to accommodate student scheduling conflicts.
  • Each teacher's specific hours of availability will be posted within the platform and communicated to students via WebMail at the beginning of the school year.
  • As we partner with districts, additional details on teacher hours for each program will be made available to students and families via the district and through our education management system.

During office hours, all Connections Education of Florida, LLC teachers are available via WebMail (an internal email system) and telephone. They also conduct LiveLesson® (lessons and instruction conducted in real-time over the Internet) sessions. All voice mail and WebMail messages are returned within 24 hours when they are received Monday through Thursday. Messages received on Friday will be returned the next school day during the school calendar year. Teachers grade online student work within 48 hours/two business days of completion, and portfolio items within one week on the same basis as stated above. Students have 24/7 access to their grades and teacher comments on their schoolwork through the grade book in the education management system

Student-Teacher Ratios


Core Courses

Elementary School (grades K–5): The average student-to-teacher ratio for elementary school core courses is 52:1. Teachers have an average of 52 students assigned to them as students in these grades have the same teacher for all of their core courses.

Middle School (grades 6–8): The average student-to-teacher ratio for middle school core courses is 43:1. Teachers have an average of 175–200 students assigned to them as teachers are assigned to particular subjects or grades and have multiple sections of students. In addition, each full-time middle school student has an Advisory Teacher or School Counselor who assists students and Learning Coaches with course selection, student transfers, graduation requirements, college and career planning, interpersonal counseling, and general academic guidance. If these teachers were included in the student-to-teacher ratio, it would be lower.

High School (grades 9–12): The average student to teacher ratio is 43:1 for core courses. Teachers have an average of 175–200 total students assigned to them.

Electives

Music (grades K–8): The average student-to-teacher ratio for music is 52:1. Teachers have an average of 190–200 students assigned to them.

Foreign Language (grades K–8): The average student-to-teacher ratio for foreign language is 43:1. Teachers have an average of 175–200 students assigned to them.

Art and Physical Education (K–8): Both Art and Physical Education are primarily self-directed courses with instruction embedded in the course. Students track their activities, and their activity reports are reviewed and graded by the teacher. Therefore, the average student-to-teacher ratio for Art and Physical Education is not relevant, but if it was calculated in a similar manner to other courses, it would be about 400:1.

High School (grades 9–12): The average student to teacher ratio is between 43:1 and 52:1 for electives. Teachers have an average of 175–200 total students assigned to them.

Student Completion & Promotion Rates

Connections Education of Florida LLC served less than 10 students that would fall under any of the accountability categories. Through contractual agreements, Connections Education of Florida did serve virtual public charter school students. As public charter schools, they have their own accountability metrics and are not considered as part of the VIP program and thus are not included here.

Student, Educator, and School Performance Accountability Outcomes

Provider grades are included in the document below. Student performance accountability grades are unavailable for the 2020-21 school year as there were no students participating in a district VIP program with Connections teachers during this time. However, approved provider status was maintained to provide services to Florida Connections Academy.

Provider Grades for Connections Education of Florida LLC

Currently, there are no Connections Education of Florida teachers actively teaching a course as part of the VIP program.

Virtual Walkthrough

Upon request, Connections Education of Florida will provide access to the Department to provide a virtual walk-through of a course during the review phase of application process.

To gain access to a Connections Education of Florida course, please send a request for the designated program contact, whose contact information is listed below.

A request for access should include the following:

  • Name of the course, or courses, you would like to access.
  • Number of users who will need access, and their names and contact information.
  • Length of time that you will require access.

Once we receive this request, our Applications Management group will create demo accounts for the requested users and place them into the appropriate courses. This process should take about one to two weeks to complete from the time that the request is received. When the placement process is complete, users will be sent user information, and will be contacted to set up a walk-through of how to navigate our courses.

Alternatively, you may access a sample course demonstrations on the Connections Academy web site (note this is a sample and does not necessarily reflect specific FL course offerings).

Program Contact Information:

 

Audrey Harrell
919-830-4629
Audrey.harrell@pearson.com

1 Connections Education of Florida, LLC is the official name of the approved Full-Time VIP provider on the FL DOE Approved Provider list. Connections Education of Florida, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Connections Education LLC ("Connections"). Connections also does business under the names Pearson Online & Blended Learning K12 USA and Pearson Virtual Schools USA. Connections operates three distinct business lines: Connections Academy, supporting full time K-12 virtual schools; District Partner Programs (formerly Connections Learning), providing K-12 schools with virtual courseware offerings; and Pearson Online Academy, a K-12 privately operated virtual school, accredited through the state of Maryland. Connections is a Pearson company.