by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: DAWN PHILLIPS - Jason Webber and a group of his students from Oregon Connections Academy gathered for a field trip at Imagination Station in Troutdale on Friday, June 7. Parents say they love the flexibility and technology aspects of the school.

When first-graders tune in for class with Jason Webber, they get to do so from the comfort of their homes while still getting to know their teacher on a personal level.

Sometimes, Webber even brings his cat to class.

“It’s really a unique set-up with all sorts of supports,” said Webber, a first-year teacher at Oregon Connections Academy who formerly taught at a Corbett preschool.

The largest virtual public charter school in Oregon, Connections Academy is opening enrollment for next fall.

The academy has about 3,400 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across the state.

Parents appreciate online charter schools, which allow for plenty of social interaction and field trips, not to mention much smaller classes.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: DAWN PHILLIPS - Oregon Connections Academy, the largest virtual public charter school in Oregon, brings together students in regular field trips and meet-ups. The school is opening for next year's enrollment.

Friday, June 7, eight Connections families from the Portland area gathered at Imagination Station in Troutdale for one of its regular field trips (about 200 are planned throughout the state over the course of a year).

“I love the technology aspect — how everything comes together and how you can still have circle time and click on a button to be called on,” said Christy Beasley, a parent of Connections students.

A number of enrollment information sessions for Oregon Connections Academy are planned around the state during the summer.

The closest one to East County will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 15, at Barnes and Noble Café, 12000 S.E. 82nd. Ave., Portland. An online session will be held at noon Tuesday, June 18.

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