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Making Summer Vacation Educational Part: 3

We hope you did not miss our first two blogs of this series for ideas, but if so please check out Idea 1: Zoos and Aquariums and Idea 2: Historical Sites

The final blog of this series continues with another idea to subtly sneak in some learning opportunities for your children over the summer:

Idea 3: College Visits

Depending on the age of your students, it might be time to start planning college visits for those who will enter 10th or 11th grade in the fall!

In addition to the right field of study, loving the look and feel of a campus is a large factor is choosing the right school. When visiting, make sure your student really feels like he or she could belong there – since most likely, they will be living or commuting there for the next 2-4 years.

The “official” campus tour is a great start! But here a few more tips to really customize your college visit experience:

  • Make sure to meet with an advisor or admissions representative, and see if you can look at what your course load would look like for a prospective major.
  • If you are lucky enough to know a current student, see if he or she would be willing to join you on campus, and give you a chance to explore while things are less crowded.
  • The bookstore is another obvious stop, but once enrolled, students rarely visit or explore here unless they are purchasing textbooks, many of which are now available online. Look for local social spots on campus and identify which buildings class is held for specific majors.
  • Interested in arts and theatre? Make sure to visit any place on campus where performances are held.
  • Similarly, if you are interested in athletics, ask for an extra tour through the athletic center, fields, or locker rooms.
  •  Bring a friend! Why? Because everything is more fun when you can plan with your future roomie.

Two great resources for beginning the planning can be found at U.S. New and World report - Finding the Right School and an article by the Princeton Review - The College Visit.

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Posted on: June 30, 2015 by M. Dubbs in

Did You Know?, Quick Tips in Education


Making Summer Vacation Educational Part: 2

We hope you did not miss our first blog of this series for ideas, but if so please check out Idea 1: Zoos and Aquariums

This blog series continues with another idea to subtly sneak in some learning opportunities for your children over the summer:

Idea 2: Historical Sites

Visiting a site where a historic battle took place 300 years ago is a great history lesson, but how about taking your history lesson to the next level – with a battleship and tours?

Across the bridge from Philadelphia, the Battleship New Jersey is open daily during the summer. In addition to tours, the Battleship New Jersey offers overnight sleep events, private event rentals, and great seats for fireworks over the Delaware. Before you go, download the Battleship Scavenger Hunt for added fun!

On the other side of the state, the USS Requin lives at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. Guided tours for this Cold War era submarine do require reservations, and are only offered on special dates and times.

Up and down the east coast, there are several affordable battleships that have been docked and turned into family attractions - for even more fun, check out the Battleship North Carolina, or the USS Wisconsin docked at the Nauticus Museum.

The Battle of Gettysburg was a turning point in the Civil War, it was the Union victory that ended General Robert E. Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North and where President Abraham Lincoln gave the immortal "Gettysburg Address."

For additional ideas of places to visit in PA, visit the Official Tourism Website of Pennsylvania were you can find regional information, activities, and discounts.

If your vacation takes you outside the Commonwealth, here is a great list of the 12 Best Historic Destinations in the USA by U.S. News Travel. Another great resource to plan an upcoming vacation would be to access TripAdvisor's Best History & Culture Vacations - United States & Canada. We hope your summer is an experience that they will never forget.

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Posted on: June 26, 2015 by M. Dubbs in

Quick Tips in Education


PA Virtual EOY Wrap-Up

It’s been a great year at PA Virtual! Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights from the class of 2014 – 15 school year and see how our students gave back, and stood out:

Ugly Quilts

smith_jacob-quiltsIn November, students throughout Pennsylvania simultaneously created Ugly Quilts and donated them to local homeless shelters. Students were able to go to their local resource center to take part in this service learning project. Heather Schaffer, the school’s Family Support Coordinator, who spearheaded the projected, described the quilts as an emergency sleeping bag. Made from recycled fabrics, the Quilt’s sole purpose is to provide warmth to those who need it most. Read the entire story on CBS Philly.

Read 100,000 Scholastic Competition

Starting in January, PA Virtual decided to take part in a National Challenge sponsored by Scholastic! Currently, we are ranked 2nd in the entire country, reading over 1,764,684 minutes so far. The competition doesn’t end until June 26, so if you are still reading for PA Virtual, log your minutes here!

Special Olympics

SpecialOlympics_PAVirtualOn May 18th, under sunny skies, 11 PA Virtual athletes participated in the Montgomery County Special Olympics Track and Field event at Souderton High School. They gathered the night before at a local hotel and enjoyed a pizza and dance party. The students had practiced their events with their PA Virtual teachers, including their gym and music teachers to learn some popular songs and dances to perform at the party. For many, this was their first time to meet their classmates in a face to face manner. Special Olympics is a life changing event for these families and athletes!

Pennies For Patients

Also during the month of May, students collected and donated $1,080.73 to the Leukemia & Lymphomas Society’s Pennies for Patients Program.  Hannah Regan, representative of the LLS School and Youth Programs was on hand for a check presentation. See the entire story on NBC10.

Outstanding Community Members

Many of our PA Virtual students are highly talented, and use the flexible scheduling to immerse themselves in outside talents and activities. We also love seeing our dedicated parents and teachers honored. Here are just a few who stood out!


On June 1, we said goodbye to the Class of 2015 at The Forum in Harrisburg . Our graduates came from counties and school districts across the state and we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors. Congratulations to the Class of 2015!






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Making Summer Vacation Educational Part:1

With the temperature on the rise, students are certainly looking forward to the end of the school year.

Parents, while you may not be quite as ready for school to finish, this might be the time of year you are planning your summer family vacation or trip. This blog series will give you a few ideas to subtly sneak in some learning opportunities for your children over the summer:

PA zoos  and Aquariums

Idea 1: Zoos and Aquariums

From big cats and nocturnal bats, a zoo trip is a great way to sneak in some learning this summer. A zoo visit lets your children explore the lifestyles of various animals without even realizing they might actually be learning something on summer vacation. Many zoos and aquariums offer daily activities and learning programs for children of all ages. Websites may also alert you to feeding or social times for different animals, popular exhibits, and special opportunities to experience the animals up close and personal.

In Pennsylvania, you can pick from any of the following:

If your vacation takes you outside the Commonwealth, here is a great list of the Most Visited Zoo’s Across the Country!

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Posted on: June 19, 2015 by M. Dubbs in

Did You Know?, Quick Tips in Education


Dr. Joanne Barnett Speaks About How Learning Leads to Effective Teaching

teaching and learning from the cyber experts

In an article on May 25, 2015 by Christina Thompson (a freelance writer for CBS Philly) Dr. Joanne Barnett (the CEO of Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School) discussed how teachers who view themselves as learners are more effective teachers.

“The majority of teachers want to create the best learning environment possible for their students, but resources and policies can prevent teachers from implementing the type of teaching and learning that their students need. The challenge of defining the ‘classroom environment’ is a result of technological advances. The classroom in the 21st century is continually changing.

Today’s classrooms do not look like classrooms of 10 years ago. This creates a challenge for teachers who must design and implement teaching and learning in a variety of instructional formats when their pre-service programs only prepared them to teach in the traditional face-to-face model.” – Dr. Joanne Barnett, CEO of Pennsylvania Virtual Charter SchoolRead the entire article: “ Teachers Must View Themselves As Learners In Order To Be Effective Teachers” by Christina Thompson at

Please share your opinions with us on this topic and any additional topics concerning cyber schools in PA.

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