Haley Miller, 12, of Creston never has to ride the bus to school, or sit in front of a white board during lectures. Instead, she wakes up, goes to her computer, and she’s at school.
This is Haley’s second year enrolled at Iowa Connections Academy, an online public school that allows her to use the Internet to attend classes.
Iowa Connections Academy is linked with the consolidated Cumberland, Anita and Massena School dDistrict. Students must open enroll into the full-time school.
Haley’s first day of school was Aug. 15. She starts her day at 8:30 a.m., and does the core classes such as math and science. At 11:30 a.m., Haley takes a half-hour for lunch then goes back to her studies.
“It helps a lot because I like to be on the computer. And, I can do school on the computer,” said Haley. “It works with my flexibiliy, and I can, like, work at my own pace, if it’s fast or slow.”
Haley has spatial dysgraphia and a working memory deficit.
“Dysgraphia is more for difficulty in writing. Too much writing causes physical pain,” said Cindy Miller, Haley’s mom. “She can type like a demon, but handwriting is slow. And, a lot of times, it’s clumped together.”
With these disabilities, attending Iowa Connections Academy helps Haley in more ways than one.
“It’s worked out because it’s worked with her disability,” said Miller. “It’s helped with her memory issue, so she can go back and look at the information if she needs to. Writing assignments, she’s able to type in her assignments.”
Lessons are online, as well as games, clubs and activities.
Haley is a member of Pen Pal, where she has a pen pal in Detroit, Mich., she writes to. She’s part of Pens and Lens, a poetry and photography club. This school year, she plans to join Theater and Art.
Haley’s mom said she has noticed a difference in Haley’s learning.
“It’s given her so much more self-esteem, and taken the frustration out of learning,” Miller said.
Miller is taking college classes and is at home with Haley often.
“I’m on top of everything, and I was on top of everything as much as I could be when she was in the brick and mortar (school),” said Miller. “It’s more guidance on it and making sure they stay on point and they focus on what they’re supposed to do.”
Miller also said she likes Haley being able to take her classes at home, in terms of being in touch with her teachers and spending time with her daughter.
“But the goal is to make these kids more independent in their studies,” Miller said. “I don’t really see it as an issue other than the fact that will I be ready to leave her? I’m not sure because I’m actually enojoying having the connection with her where I’m able to be in constant contact with the teachers if I have questions.”