Massachusetts' Only Fully-Online Public School Sees Surge in Enrollment

With the uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, TECCA Connections Academy, a fully remote public school in Massachusetts, has seen a 150% increase in enrollment since last year

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The transition to online learning has been a learning curve for many students, parents and teachers, but at one school, it's been the norm for some time.

TECCA Connections Academy has seen a 150% increase in enrollment compared to this time last year.

"We've always had interest, but I think the COVID-19 situation obviously has increased it, and that's why we have high percentages this year," said Superintendent Patrick Lattuca of TECCA Connections Academy.

TECCA is the state's only fully online public school.

"It's definitely fair to say we've never had this much interest in one school year," said Lattuca. "We are way beyond all of our percentages of where we were last year at this time."

In fact, on Friday, school officials told NBC10 Boston that the state announced that TECCA would be granted a 400-student cap increase. Currently, there is a waitlist of up to 1,500 students. An increase in the cap will help to ease wait times, school officials said.

TECCA has been operating under this model for years. Right now, there are 2,300 students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade. All classes are held remotely.

Lattuca said families are looking for stability during this uncertain time.

"They're hoping for a consistent, flexible learning experience," he said.

Seventh grade teacher Chintan Patel is reaching out to colleagues in more traditional schools to offer up advice.

"The biggest think I would tell my friends who are also teachers in brick-and-mortar setting is to remain patient," said Patel.

Patel said it's important for new families enrolled in TECCA to stick to a routine.

"I always tell my families, it will probably take a week or two before you get adjusted to this virtual style of learning, but once you do and establish those routines, you will thrive," said Patel.

Lattuca said the school is working with the state to help those brick-and-mortar schools prepare in case they shift to remote-learning models for the upcoming school year.

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