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Hardeeville student enjoys online learning

  • Kaitlyn Haynes

After being educated in different classrooms and at different schools, a 14-year-old Hardeeville student has found comfort in online education.
Kaitlyn Haynes is in her third year enrolled in South Carolina Connections Academy, a virtual, tuition-free public school program.
Haynes, who had studied at Hilton Head Christian Academy, Abundant Life Academy and has been home-schooled, started with the Connections Academy three years ago as a seventh-grader. A ninth-grader who enjoys Spanish, Haynes said she values the teachers’ attentiveness. She can call or e-mail teachers and she’ll get a prompt response.
“I do appreciate that,” said Haynes, whose younger sister is also a South Carolina Connections Academy student. “Sometimes I’ll get anxious and think maybe I shouldn’t call, but they’ll call me no matter what.”
Haynes also appreciates that her teachers regularly call her with monthly updates and at the beginning of each week she’s given study guides and everything she needs to be prepared for class.
“I think they do want to help,” she said.
South Carolina Connections Academy, which is overseen by the South Carolina Public Charter School District, is in its 10th year of providing personalized online education to K- to 12th-grade students. As of June, the academy had 4,040 students enrolled throughout the state, including 25 from Jasper County.
The school offers myriad courses, including foreign languages, digital technology and web design.
Haynes said her typical day begins with lessons at 8 a.m., hour-long live lessons at 10 a.m. and she finishes around 3 p.m.
The live lessons allow students time to talk with the teacher and classmates via a webcam. Students can also interact with teachers and classmates through field trips, such as to the zoo.
Haynes said she enjoys the lessons — especially learning Spanish through Kahootz games — and doesn’t ever feel isolated. She still hangs out with childhood friends and feels connected with teachers and classmates. She said the experience isn’t much different than a normal classroom setting.
“It’s not that much different, I just do (classwork) from home,” said Haynes, who plans to study cosmetology in hopes owning a salon. “I still have classmates. I still have teachers.”
For more information, visit SouthCarolinaConnectionsAcademy.com.

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