Virtual schools open for enrollment in Detroit

Across Michigan, schools such as Michigan Connections Academy (MICA) and Great Lakes Cyber Academy (GLCA)—statewide, tuition-free, online public schools—are meeting the growing demand from families interested in online learning solutions for their students. Both online schools are now enrolling students for the upcoming 2018-19 academic year.

“A few decades ago, the majority of students were working toward jobs on assembly lines in manufacturing facilities,” said Heather Ballien, superintendent of GLCA. “Thus, schools were designed to meet that need, teaching a mass number of students and expecting them all to learn in the same way. Today, the economic environment is such that students can go on to hold countless jobs in myriad areas of expertise, and education must be flexible in order to prepare students for whatever they choose to pursue.”

Michigan Connections Academy and Great Lakes Cyber Academy utilize the nationally recognized Connections Academy online program and offer students a public education that is personalized to meet their needs—both academically and personally—with increased flexibility to pursue their passions inside and outside of school. MICA offers virtual learning for students in grades K-12, while GLCA offers virtual learning for students in grades 6-12. GLCA additionally provides different pacing options (standard pace, extended pace, and accelerated pace) for students in grades 9-12.

According to a 2017 third-party survey of parents of online students, the top reasons for choosing virtual school includes the need for a more flexible schedule, wanting a change in the learning environment from their current school situation, and desiring a safe learning environment.

“Michigan families seek virtual learning for a variety of reasons—be it the flexibility, the ability for parents to get involved in student learning, or the post-secondary preparation it provides,” said Bryan Klochack, principal of MICA. “We are pleased to see students and families alike continue to benefit from online learning, and look forward to working with additional families in the upcoming year.”

Similar to the traditional classroom, teachers are the backbone of online education. At MICA and GLCA, Michigan-certified teachers work closely with students to develop individualized learning plans that nurture their strengths and provide additional support for areas of difficulty. Students meet regularly in online classroom sessions and have opportunities to share ideas, compare experiences, and have fun learning with their peers.

Outside of the virtual classroom, students can enjoy socialization opportunities through online clubs and activities, in-person field trips and other school-sponsored activities.

In the most recent Parent Satisfaction Surveys, more than 95 percent of parents at both schools said they were satisfied with the helpfulness of their child’s teachers, while more than 90 percent of parents reported the teachers improved their child’s learning experience and offered prompt responses to questions.

To learn more about online school and whether it is a good fit for your child, visit each school’s website or attend an upcoming information session, available online and in-person. Visit MICA at or GLCA at