BARTLESVILLE — School began this week for thousands of students across Oklahoma enrolled in Oklahoma Connections Academy, a tuition-free virtual public school. 

The academy is a virtual public school serving students from kindergarten to 12th grade, according to a recent press release. 

“We’re excited to celebrate our eighth year as a school option for families throughout Oklahoma,” said Tammy Shepherd, head of school at Oklahoma Connections Academy. “We can’t wait to see what outstanding accomplishments our students are going to achieve in the 2018-2019 school year and beyond.”

More parents have enrolled their children in online schooling in recent years due to an increased emphasis on digital literacy and tailored academic programs, according to the academy. 

A recent survey by Oklahoma Connections Academy of its students' parents revealed 98 percent of parents with children enrolled in the program were "satisfied with teachers' helpfulness," and 97 percent said their child or children were satisfied with the program. 

“What we love the most about Oklahoma Connections Academy is the excellent individualized curriculum and flexible schedule,” said Monica Panjnani, a Oklahoma Connections Academy parent. “The combination of highly dedicated teachers and a nurturing home environment has prepared our daughter to be independent, responsible and ready to thrive in a challenging college environment.”

In addition to the survey, more than 90 percent of parents involved with the academy said the curriculum is high quality; they were satisfied with the variety of learning activities; the program is flexible; and that the technology tools helped their child's learning, according to the academy. 

This year, the academy anticipates serving more than 1,000 students. 

"In addition to the rigorous curriculum, the school offers innovative and diverse courses, including foreign languages, digital technology and web design, as well as Advanced Placement (AP) ® courses for students interested in college-level curriculum," according to a release. 

The school can provide a "non-traditional learning environment" for children needing a flexible schooling schedule, those either ahead or behind academically, those learning at a different pace, and children wanting a more individualized approach, according to the school. 

Before the first day of school with Oklahoma Connections Academy, state-certified teachers work with their students on a customized learning program that meets Oklahoma's education requirements, according to the release. 

Enrollment for this school year still is open, with online learning sessions scheduled for families interested. For more information, visit http://www.oklahomaconnectionsacademy.com/.