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Online school aims to increase attendance

Online school MTS Minnesota Connections Academy is looking to increase student enrollment by 10 percent in the next year.

It’s a goal both in the Brainerd lakes area and statewide, said Melissa Gould, principal of MTS Minnesota Connections Academy.

MTS Minnesota Connections Academy is a tuition-free online public school providing personalized K-12 education. It began with eight students in February 2005 and now enrolls more than 1,700 students.

There are more than 52 full-time faculty members, including state-certified teachers, school guidance counselors, special education professionals, and administrative staff, including a principal and assistant principals.

It wasn’t until 2008 that there was an uptick in student attendance locally.

Today, there are up to 40 students enrolled locally in the academy, which is one of about 30 online schools available.

Gould only sees that growing as more and more families look for different options for their student, other than the normal 8 a.m.-4 p.m. school day.

“The great thing is it gives families an option for public school,” she said. “Students have the luxury of working from home. Maybe a student does better on a 12-8 p.m. school day.”

Looking forward, Gould said it won’t be long until it’s required for all students to have experience with online courses.

An online class option is just that — another option for families, Gould said.

“There’s nothing wrong with giving online education a try if you’re looking for something different,” Gould said.

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at