Gains leading position in fast-growing market for virtual schools
September 15, 2011. Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, is announcing today the acquisition of Connections Education from an investor group led by Apollo Management, L.P.
Through its Connections Academy business, the company operates online
or ‘virtual’ public schools in 21 states in the US—serving more than
40,000 students in the current school year. These virtual charter
schools are accredited and funded by the relevant state and are free to
parents and students who choose a virtual school in place of a
traditional public institution or other schooling options.
Virtual schools serve a diverse population of students including those who may be gifted, struggling, pursuing careers
in sports or the arts, in need of scheduling flexibility, or who have
chosen home schooling. It is a large and rapidly-growing segment in US K-12 education:
in 2010, 48 states and Washington, D.C.had virtual school programs and
27 states allowed virtual charter schools. Approximately 200,000
students attended full-time online courses and an estimated 1.5 million
students took one or more courses online. (Source: Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning, 2010, Evergreen Education Group).
has produced revenue growth of more than 30% in each of the past three
years. The transaction is subject to a Hart-Scott-Rodino review.
Since its founding in 2001, Connections Academy has built a complete
virtual school system to support personalized learning for each student.
This includes high-quality teachers, training for learning coaches (who
are often parents), digital and print curriculum materials (already
often from Pearson), provision of computers, assessment and reporting
tools, social events and learning technologies. Connections Academy has
developed proprietary technologies including education
management system Connexus which provides on-demand access to
schedules, lessons, gradebooks, resources and teachers; teaching tool
LiveLesson which allows teachers to lead real-time interactive and
adaptive classes over the internet; and a wide range of multimedia
curriculum tools and games.
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