MOUNT IDA – Where do you go when you decide you want to turn the playground into the classroom? Well if you attend Arkansas Connections Academy virtual school you may end up at Twin Creek Crystal Mine.
That’s what several students from the virtual academy discovered last week when they made the trek to Twin Creek Crystal Mine near Mount Ida last week.
There were over 50 students, parents, and teachers who made the trip from across the state who visited the local mine. The field trip was one of 30 the school offers as an opportunity for students to socialize while experiencing different aspects of Arkansas life.
Students gathered early Thursday at Twin Creek Mine. They were given a brief overview of the ins and outs of the mine before they took to digging for crystals. Mine employees spent the morning walking around offering tips and assistance when needed.
Arkansas Connections Academy is a virtual school based in Northwest Arkansas. Arkansas students have an opportunity to attend the school which is a tuition free public online school. They offer classes for Kindergarten through 10th grade. They continue to add one grade per year as they work toward a full class schedule for K-12 students. They are approved by the Arkansas Department of Education as an online public charter school.
When asked about their decision to enroll their kids in the online school parents at the field trip were quick to offer a handful of reasons. Flexibility in schedule was the main reason parents are drawn to the school, while others cited a desire for their children to attend a school other than their local school.
Melissa Curiel, an instructor at the academy, stated that the flexibility in scheduling works well for teachers also. She added that as a teacher students have access to her throughout the day as well.
Students from all across Arkansas attended the dig at Twin Creek, Families from Harrison, Texarkana, Little Rock and other cities made the trek to Montgomery County for the day trip.
Teachers are responsible for planning the trips with students having access to around 30 each school year. They have to have an educational benefit, but they also give students an opportunity to get out of the classroom and see the world around them.
One parent pointed out that when their child was in public school they only had a couple field trips a year, while now they seem to have one each week.
The field trips are scheduled for venues all over the state, which makes travel easier for some throughout the school year while giving students a well rounded view of the state of Arkansas.
Twin Creeks Crystal Mine is owned by Bobby and Dixie Fecho and is located just off Highway 270, east of Mount Ida.
For more information regarding Arkansas Connections Academy visit their website at connectionsacademy.com/arkansas-virtual-school.
For more information regarding Twin Creeks Crystal Mine visit their website at dixiecrystalcompany.com, or you can find them of Facebook at www.facebook.com/twincreekmine/.