Connections Academy is a for-profit corporate provider of online school products and services to virtual schools for grades K-12, including full-time online school. In the United States the company is noted as Connections Academy, and for students abroad it is known as International Connections Academy.[1] Based in Columbia, Maryland,[2] Connections Academy is part of Pearson's Online and Blended Learning K-12 group. Online schools are an alternative to traditional public schools.[3] Similar to charter schools, they are subsidized by the state. Although they contract with many non-profit schools, they are a for-profit corporation.[4]

Connections Academy
Company typeFor-profit
Industryeducation management organization
Founded2001; 23 years ago (2001)
FounderBarbara Dreyer
Headquarters10960 Grantchester Way,
ParentPearson Education



In the spring of 2001, Sylvan Ventures started a separate business unit to create a virtual school program with its first virtual schools in Wisconsin and Colorado.[5] The company first began providing online school services to two schools in the fall of 2002. In September 2004, Connections Academy was sold to an investor group led by Apollo Management, L.P. The company now operates public schools under management contracts from charter schools or school districts.

A new corporate entity called Connections Education was established in early 2011.[6] In this same year, on September 15, 2011, Pearson, an international learning company, acquired Connections Education for more than $400 million.[7]

Connections Education is currently Pearson's Online & Blended Learning division, which delivers the Connections Academy online public school program and other online learning services called Pearson Connexus to educational institutions and other organizations nationwide. A private online school called International Connections Academy serves students across the globe. In 2019 it was announced that UK-based Harrow school would deliver an online education option leveraging Pearson Connexus.[8]

Notable alumni


Notable staff

  • Cheron Brylski, speechwriter, helped establish Louisiana Connections Academy
  • Casey J, gospel singer, elementary school math teacher at Georgia Connections Academy
  • Frank Riggs, politician, founding board president at Arizona Connections Academy
  • Matt Wingard, politician, spokesman for Oregon Connections Academy


  1. ^ Mitic, Ginanne Brownell. "Do the Math: The Percentage of Expat Homeschoolers Is Growing". WSJ. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  2. ^ "Pearson Opens New Office in Downtown Columbia". Columbia, MD Patch. 2017-12-07. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
  3. ^ "Competing for the Virtual Student -- THE Journal". THE Journal. Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  4. ^ "Connections Academy- Homeschooling Resources". Archived from the original on 8 November 2015. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  5. ^ Henry, Bryan. "Schools of the future: Inside Alabama's virtual public school". Retrieved 2017-10-31.
  6. ^ Bell, Tom. "Multinational giant set to run first virtual school in Maine". The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. Retrieved 2015-09-16.
  7. ^ Connections Academy, retrieved 2012-08-01
  8. ^ "Harrow school sets up online sixth form for global pupils". BBC News. 2019-09-18. Retrieved 2022-02-22.