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PA Virtual's Art of Autumn


PA Virtual students in Mrs. Anderson's live music classes showed off their artistic skills this month. While listening to Antonio Vivaldi's "L'autunno" (Autumn) from the Four Seasons, cyber school students created their own artistic masterpieces to represent the season. Check out some of our talented young artists!

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Posted on: November 25, 2015 by M. Dubbs in

About Cyber Education, Insider Perspectives


PA Virtual Student Selected to Sing at Carnegie Hall


We would like to congratulate Ian Snyder, a member of our PA Virtual family, for the honor of participating in the "2016 High School Honors Performance Series."  Ian will be sharing his tenor voice alongside other talented student-musician at Carnegie Hall.

To read more about Ian Snyder and this amazing opportunity you can link to the article by Jessica Schladebeck at YorkDispatch.

We wish you the best and Break a Leg Ian!

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Posted on: November 24, 2015 by M. Dubbs in

Super Student, Uncategorized


Celebrating Our Service Members

and Armed Forces

Across the US we see countless celebrations of our service members and armed forces during the month of November. Every NFL game played by the Steelers and Eagles this month will honor veterans and active military during their Salute to Service initiative. Now is the perfect time of year for high school students to start thinking of their future and what they can do after graduation. At PA Virtual, our guidance counselors work extensively with students to help them assess what their next step should be after leaving our guidance.

us military and armed forces

For those interested in military service, there are plenty of options available to you. Serving is not always about being a soldier on the front lines. Depending on your skills; the various branches are also looking for highly skilled STEM students, medical professionals, and fearless leaders. Locating a military recruitment center in your neighborhood and schedule a meeting with a counselor to see what branch might be best for you.

The five main branches of the US military are:

  1. Air Force
  2. Army
  3. Coast Guard
  4. Marine Corps
  5. Navy

The Marine Corps and Army branches are very proactive in recruiting in their local communities – you may see them set up at sporting events, fairs and festivals or other community outings. Just like selecting a college (or cyber school!) there are many opportunities for each individual based on their personal strengths. Once you decide what branch is right for you, a recruiter will guide you through the rest of the process. The Army and Air National Guard are part reserve components of the Army and Air Force, who instead of reporting to the federal government; work with state level governments to provide services to their local community, most often during states of emergency or in extreme situations. A recent example of service provided by the Pennsylvania National Guard was during the Pope’s recent visit to Philadelphia. Members of the National Guard were on hand to provide an added layer of security – they helped screen over 1 million visitors and kept all emergency routes clear in the event that medical or law enforcement personnel needed to move quickly through an area.

Many area colleges also offer ROTC programs (Reserve Officers Training Corps) which prepares young adults to become leaders and officers in the military after they complete their education. Officers of the military are essentially managers who work with the operational planning or other professional roles. Whereas most students enlist in the military immediately after high school, commissioned officers often enter the military after they complete a degree program and ROTC training.

How do you know if joining the service is right for you? Contact your guidance counselor today to find out!

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Posted on: November 18, 2015 by M. Dubbs in

Did You Know?


Top Educational Apps for Students Part:2

High School

Continuing with top educational apps for students, here are some choices that will help your high school aged student and may even be useful once they enter college.


All of these apps are free to download and play, but may contain items that can be purchased for real money. You can toggle these purchases on/off in the "Restrictions" menu on your device or from within the app. If your children have wandering fingers, disable ALL in-game purchases to avoid accidental surprises at the end of your monthly billing cycle!

Top 5 Educational Apps for High School Students

  1. EssentialSkeleton4AppEssential Skeleton 4
    Essential Skeleton 4 gives users a high definition 3D rendering of the human skeleton. Tap bones for descriptions and pronunciation as you explore the inside of your body, and you can even test yourself using the quiz function. Other “Essential” series include the muscular system and basic anatomy. Students with interests in the medical field will certainly find this helpful and informative.
  2. iFormulas AppiFormulas
    Organized by subject and by the purpose of the equation, this app starts with the most basic algebra formulas, and will most likely last students several years, if they chose to explore calculus, physics or chemistry – and everything in between. This app can be a great resource for students who wish to test their mathematical limits, or for those who sometimes have a little trouble remembering.
  3. Kapitall AppKapitall
    If you see subjects like Calculus and Geometry and think “I’m never going to use that!” then Kapitall is for you. This app was built to create financial literacy in teens and even adults. Start with learning the ins and outs (or ups and downs) of the stock market, and the risks associated with certain decisions during various quests. These quests teach users how to invest and earn or lose points, Koins, and badges.  Trade with virtual currency or work yourself up to the real thing; and Kapitall will show you how to open brokerage accounts and plan retirement funds.
  4. AP Flashcards AppAP Flashcards
    No more do we need to stock up on piles of index cards and spend hours creating our own flashcards – AP Flashcards provides students with premade flashcards covering eight of the Advanced Placement test subjects. Different modes have been created for different learning styles (Quiz mode vs Memorize) and the app also lets you import card sets from other non-AP flashcard applications. .
  5. Elevate Brain Training AppElevate - Brain Training
    Need a break that doesn’t involve zoning out in front of the TV? The Elevate Brain Training app is full of fun games that improve focus, comprehension, memory and even speaking abilities. This app is perfect for a quick study break, and the games are great for keeping skills sharp over the summer or holidays.

We would love for you to share your favorite educational apps with us.

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Posted on: November 12, 2015 by M. Dubbs in

Quick Tips in Education


PA Virtual Responds to the CREDO Report

"CredoOnlineCharterSchoolStudyIn a report on October 27, 2015 (“CREDO/Mathematica/CRPE Report”) released by Stanford University, it was suggested that students of online/cyber charter schools had significantly weaker academic performance in math and reading, compared with their counterparts in conventional schools. The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, who PA Virtual is an active partnership with, has released a statement concerning this report.

“The CREDO/Mathematica/Center for Reinventing Public Education report released today on virtual education contains some good observations and some data that deserve a deeper understanding, but there are also some overly-simplistic conclusions and recommendations.” The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools has developed some bullet points about understanding these misleading conclusions. They explain, “to truly understand cyber performance, you first need to understand cybers, which are designed to serve some specific and very challenging needs in the education system.” The coalition goes on to state… ”it’s important to understand that the good cyber schools are doing a great job of serving a student population that would otherwise fall through the cracks in our traditional education system.”

Read the entire article: “ Statement on October 27, 2015, CREDO/Mathematica/CRPE Report” provided by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools.

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

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Posted on: November 09, 2015 by M. Dubbs in



Top Educational Apps for Students Part:1

Elementary & Middle School

If everyone spends so much time on their phones and tablets, why can’t that time be educational? Here are a few helpful apps that parents and students can download to help further their education on any phone or tablet.


The apps listed below are good for elementary and early middle school students. Many of these apps have different levels of difficulty and progress with your child’s learning process. Check back next week for apps developed for high school aged students.

All of these apps are free to download and play, but may contain items that can be purchased for real money. You can toggle these purchases on/off in the "Restrictions" menu on your device or from within the app. If your children have wandering fingers, disable ALL in-game purchases to avoid accidental surprises at the end of your monthly billing cycle!

Top 5 Educational Apps for Elementary & Middle School Students

  1. GoldieBloxAppGoldieBlox and the Movie Machine
    This movie machine app encourages children to learn the basics of animation and create their own one second long movies – better known in the digital world as GIFs, and is supplemental to a real life game. Using the physical board / building game component, help GoldieBlox build a zoetrope (movie reel) to view the moving pictures. The app allows users to learn the keys to digital animation and create 12-frame images that can be printed and used in the zoetrope or shared socially with friends and family. Other GoldieBlox adventures inspire girls to explore engineering by creating zip lines, spinning machines and even replicas of GoldieBlox’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade float.
  2. Animal Planet: Real Scary SpidersAnimalPlanetScarySpidersApp
    If you can’t make it past the title of this app, skip to #3! However, for those that don’t mind creepy crawlers download this app to explore and learn more about our eight-legged friends. This app allows users to learn about spiders as they grow, what they eat, and collect exotic species. If the app wasn’t enough, this is another game with a real life component – remote control “Real Scary Spiders” that interact with the app are available for purchase in most toy stores - to scare all of the arachnophobes in your family.
  3. WilderQuestHabitat the Game & WilderQuest for Nature Discovery
    For parents who might be anti-spider, Habitat the Game offers a friendly alternative with a similar goal. Players adopt an endangered polar bear they must keep healthy not only by feeding it, but by monitoring the environment where the polar bear lives and going green to keep its natural habitat intact. You can also enable location services in this app to find Habitat locations in the real world through Habitats partnership with WilderQuest. The WilderQuest app is designed by the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service and encourages users to learn about the ecosystem through Australian forests and deserts. In this app you don’t get to adopt any furry friends, but players earn points, unlock stages and collect badges as they progress through the game and explore new places.
  4. Alien AssignmentAlienAssignmentApp
    Created by the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College, this app and its updates are frequently featured on top education lists. Alien Assignment sharpens problem-solving skills and parent interaction. The Gloop family gives your child clues to help them fix their alien space ship by taking photos of things they find in real life that match the descriptions in the game.
  5. DuolingoAppDuolingo
    Duolingo (and its web-based counterpart) works for students at any level who want to learn a new language. This is a free app, so the possibilities aren’t endless, but it does offer a dozen or so of the world’s most popular languages. Beginners can start fresh at any age, or older users can take short quizzes to see what they already know. Advanced students can use the “Immersion” lessons to read articles and websites they frequently visit and those suggested by Duo the rare green owl, your language learning guide.

We would love for you to share your favorite educational apps with us.

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Posted on: November 06, 2015 by M. Dubbs in

Quick Tips in Education


Why I Chose PA Virtual: The Jerome Family

Pittsburgh, PA

Large group of people with their thumbs up.Jennifer Jerome had wanted her son Austin to attend a traditional brick-and-mortar public school at least through elementary school, but by second grade it was apparent PA Virtual Charter School would be a better option for him. Because he is autistic, Austin struggled to pay attention in a traditional classroom.

“I would actually volunteer in the school just to be able to observe him in class,” Mrs. Jerome said. “He wasn’t paying attention to the teacher. He would watch what the other 27 students in his class were doing to make sure they were doing their school work first. He wasn’t really learning.”

 She and her husband, Donald Jerome, considered sending him to a different school specifically for students with autism, but the school could not guarantee he would be in a classroom with other higher functioning students with autism. The most viable option seemed to be to enroll him in cyber school with his stepsister Ashlie Stevens, who started at PA Virtual in sixth grade. Ashlie is now a sophomore at PA Virtual.

At the time Austin transferred to PA Virtual, he was in danger of being held back at his traditional school – performing far beyond what was expected of students his age. Almost four years later, Austin has begun sixth grade and is now working at grade level. Before deciding on PA Virtual for Ashlie, Mrs. Jerome researched at least four other cyber schools.

Ashlie and Austin both enjoy attending PA Virtual and are doing well in their classes, but the cyber school experience has especially benefited Austin.“I thought it was going to be this huge battle to get him to participate, but once he got started he loved it,” Mrs. Jerome said. “In the elementary school, he would never raise his hand. At PA Virtual, he clicks away on his computer mouse and is fully engaged in his online classes.”

In addition to his academic achievement, another transformation occurred in his behavior. Austin used to come home from school and have what Mrs. Jerome described as “meltdowns,” where he would lay on the floor kicking and screaming and banging his head.

Mrs. Jerome believes cyber schools can be a better option for children with autism and other learning disorders that make it difficult for children to focus on learning in a physical classroom. PA Virtual provides Austin with a distraction-free, online classroom environment. She also learned techniques to help Austin stay focused on his school work, which seems to be easier for him as an autistic student in a cyber school environment.

Although she had hoped Austin would have the opportunity to socialize with other children all the way through elementary school as Ashlie did, both children participate in an after-school program affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club of America at the Sara Heinz House in Pittsburgh. Austin also interacts with other children who participate in the Lunch Bunch, a group of PA Virtual students who meet online through the school to socialize while eating their lunch at home and participate in supervised games and activities.

“All I wanted is for them to learn, and my kids are learning at PA Virtual without having to worry about fitting in or being bullied,” Mrs. Jerome said. “I know they are learning more at PA Virtual than they would be if they attended the public schools in our neighborhood.”

For information about enrolling in PA Virtual Charter School call toll free at 866-728-2751 or email

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Posted on: November 03, 2015 by M. Dubbs in

About Cyber Education, Insider Perspectives