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Some students turning to online education

August 21, 2019
By JORDAN HESTER ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Online school is definitely something new, even in an age where home school might be becoming old hat.

The Florida Connections Academy is authorized by Hillsborough County Public Schools and began serving students in the 2018-19 school year in grades K-8, adding a grade level each year. FCA provides students with the flexibility to learn from anywhere there is an Internet connection and with an innovative online school curriculum that meets rigorous state education standards

"It's a brisk change of pace, as we go out of our way to adhere to the standards of learning in Florida, which charter schools aren't always held to. We feel it's important to stay consistent with the state's learning programs, while putting our own spin on it," Marcie Trombino, principal for the program and education lead, said.

Trombino has been teaching around Florida for a number of years, and she has fallen in love with how they interact with their students and keep up with the parents to make sure all sides are on the same page.

This is accomplished through thorough online discussion, video chats with classrooms and parents, field trips for regular social gatherings and more.

"My girls love it, and I am honestly blown away with how connected all of these kids are, even across the state, and keep with each other through their studies," Lisa Garay of Immokalee said.

According to Garay, whose daughters, Kalia, 12, who is in seventh grade, and Nylah, 7, who is in second grade, there are a lot of differences between the virtual classroom and the regular brick and mortar.

"It's refreshing that the girls can learn at their own pace, and the school specializes their curriculums to focus on not only the things they excel at, but the things they have trouble with receive hours of one-on-one attention," Garay said.

The students do have crafted curriculum, and their study times do fall within regular school hours, but there is a lot of pacing that is different from normal schools. Students work together with their classes to do homework, even cooperating and assisting other students that might be having more problems with the course work, all while being helped and guided by their teacher.

"It's a complete shift from classical learning. These children pick things up just as fast, but with the kind of community aspect, they try to make sure everyone gets as much help as they need. It's heart warming to see the amount of group learning done, even at our youngest levels," Trombino said.

You can find out more about Florida Connections Academy by visiting



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