A FREE Alternative to Traditional Public Schools
Free is one of the most appealing words in the English language, and when you combine it with public, school, and ONLINE, it can seem pretty intriguing.
We are talking about TECCA Connections Academy, a K-12 school based in Walpole but serving students across the Commonwealth
In fact, its the largest online school in the state, with 213 students enrolled from Norfolk County, alone.
Superintendent Patrick Lattuca says the enrollment is currently capped at 3000, and the school is usually at or near that level of enrollment, with a wait list.
“Our student demographic is very diverse, it comes from the fact that we serve the whole state,” he said. Most students choose TECCA because they want a flexible schedule. “Some have mild- to moderate- social-emotional difficulties, some are medically challenged and it would be dangerous to be in a traditional school. “We also have aspiring Olympians and a student that just signed with a professional sports team,” Lattuca added. Some students also receive special ed services.
According to Lattuca, the central office is in Walpole but the 200 faculty are scattered as widely as the students. However, he noted, the school has satellite sites that are used periodically for field trips and other in person activities – a prom for example.
“I was an administrator in a brick and mortar school for 12 years and also was a public elementary school teacher; I even taught students who were incarcerated,” said Lattuca. “Along the way I saw many students who didn’t fit the system,” he added.
When he saw TECCA getting launched it was a dream come true, “so I threw my hat into the ring,” initially becoming principal.
That was back in 2014. Since then TECCA has received praise from DESE and close to 90 percent of students choose to re-enroll, a number that has continued to grow.
At the moment, Lattuca said the school is beginning to firm up enrollment for the fall, a process likely to be complete early in June.
“We have a philosophy here that there are no limits and it is about innovation – we are always pushing,” said Lattuca.