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Three PA Virtual Students Honored in 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

Congratulations to three PA Virtual Students whose creative talent has been recognized by the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards! Nationally, the Arts & Writing Awards receive about 300,000 submissions, and this year over 1,000 students submitted their original work.

PA Virtual Student Sison Golden Key RecipientJonathon Sison of King of Prussia, PA, received the highest award, a Gold Key, for his digital art piece entitled, "Glimpse in the Mirage." Earning this distinction places Jonathan in the running for a National Medal later this year. Drawn by hand using a digital graphic drawing tablet, Jonathan merged technology and art to create a piece that depicted a city within the iris of a human eye, held by a hand. His ultimate goal was to create something complex that the judges would need to look at more than once to really discover all of the intricate details.

From Fayetteville, PA, Ashleigh Kennedy, a PA Virtual student since 4th grade, received the Silver Key for her short story “Written in Cardboard.” The inspiration for her story came from a New York Times photojournalist report on President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, published this fall. The photojournalist followed police officers as they responded to murders around the country related to President Duterte’s campaign against drugs. The actions have been criticized in the Western world, and Ashleigh turned the pain and shock factor of these photos into words.

PA Virtual Student Lavallee Silver Key RecipientChristopher Lavallee, of Mill Hall, PA, was awarded a Silver Key for his original micro-beading jewelry set. Christopher has been with PA Virtual since first grade and enjoys his creative pursuits in his spare time.  The inspiration for his jewelry pieces stems from his Native American grandmother’s influence, and he has been designing for the last several years.

All submissions were evaluated by 30 judges! Winners are chosen based on the student’s originality, technical skills and the emergences of personal vision or voice. 

All three winners are in 10th grade and are members of the Scholars Academy – a PA Virtual program that allows gifted students who work at an accelerated pace the ability to skip 8th grade and begin high school courses a year early.  Mrs. Afshari and Ms. Burke, two Scholars Academy teachers, encouraged Scholars students to submit their creative works. Together, they recognize the many talents of PA Virtual students and love to share their creativity outside of the cyber school community through contests like this. Having three winners from within the same class is a great accomplishment and a reminder that cyber school students can certainly hold their own among the top students in the region!

Want to represent PA Virtual next year? Submissions for the 2018 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards will open on September 13, 2017!

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Posted on: March 30, 2017 by Jennifer Kilpatrick in

Super Student


Kindergarten Online?

PA Virtual Kindergarten Program.jpgEnrolling your child in Kindergarten is one of the most fun and exciting times in a parent’s
 life. There are more options than ever for children – if you are considering cyber education, PA Virtual Charter School is an excellent option.

Cyber education requires that parents are closely involved in their child’s personal learning experience. At PA Virtual, the Learning Coach is typically an adult who resides in the home of the child. The Learning Coach provides parents with the opportunity to engage, connect, and provide instruction to their child so they may stay connected to their child’s education.

Kindergarten students average five hours of instruction and learning per day using a variety of instructional methods. PA Virtual provides the flexibility for parents to break up the day and infuse fun and play between live online classes, instruction with the Learning Coach, and independent learning. As students progress through the year, PA Virtual uses DIBELS screenings to ensure that students are kept on track and meeting the benchmarks required by the PA Core Standards. DIBELS is one of the top ranked early literacy screening programs used for young students and is used nationwide by schools of all kinds.

Once enrolled, parents can expect their child’s day to be a blend between live online classes, supplemental learning activities, and self-directed courses. PA Virtual’s Family Support Coordinators, guidance counselors, and administrative team help families adjust to the online learning model and help create an environment where every child can succeed.  With the guidance of the child’s learning coach, Kindergarten students may also receive instruction in music, art and physical education on a regular basis.

Parents who are considering cyber school, sometimes ask what is provided by the school?  PA Virtual provides students with a laptop computer, printer/scanner and a monthly stipend to help cover the cost of internet charges. Using the K12 curriculum, PA Virtual students also receive all supplemental learning materials in the beginning of each year including books, art supplies, science kits, and other learning tools. These provide Kindergarten students with the basic materials necessary for understanding all subject area learning.

If you are interested in learning more about PA Virtual Charter School and how PA Virtual could benefit your Kindergarten student, Please take about a ½ hour to check out the recording of the Kindergarten Open House! It’s not too early to sign your kindergarten student up today for PA Virtual!

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Posted on: March 30, 2017 by Jennifer Kilpatrick in

About Cyber Education


PA Virtual Students Give Their Voice to Those in Need

PA Virtual Students Donate their Voices

Your voice is how you engage with the world. So what happens when a person loses the ability to speak? With technological advances, people with vocal disabilities are able to use assistive devices to communicate. Many times these devices use a voice that can sound robot-like. One company has set out to humanize these narrations, and PA Virtual Charter School students and staff have joined this innovative new project.

Over the holiday break this past December, the school challenged students to join the VocaliD project. The VocalID platform creates unique vocal identities using “donations” from real people to give its recipients a human sounding voice. To join, students created accounts and began to dictate sounds and words through the VocaliD online platform called BeSpoke. VocaliD then processes these noises and words into a Human Voicebank – like a blood bank, for those in need. The complexity of creating a unique voice requires 7-8 hours of soundbites in an effort to fully digitize a human voice.PA Virtual 5th grade teacher Aubrey Pace was one of the first to complete the challenge. “I love the idea of bringing life to people of all ages that don’t have a voice and cannot express themselves the way we can,” she said. “We always encourage our students to give back to their local community, and this was a great way for them to give back on a much larger scale without even leaving the house!”

Over 140 students have already participated in donating their voices, thanks in large part to the ease of joining the program. Cyber schools in PA provide each student with a laptop that comes with a microphone and camera, and many PA Virtual students use audio headsets for class.

Ninth grade student Naomi Wegner knows that advancements in this type of technology are big – she compared it to the telephone or the car. “I read passages from one of my favorite stories, The Wizard of Oz, so it was easy for me to be charismatic and personable with my voice because I was familiar with the material, said Naomi. “It’s so exciting to think that one day someone will be able to use my voice to communicate with their friends and family.”

Corrine Putnick and her son Robert, a 10th grade student at PA Virtual, both participated in the project. Corrine encourages the idea of giving back, and when this opportunity was presented, both thought it was a unique and exciting way to give back. “I didn’t even know there was a way to give someone a voice, someone who doesn’t have the ability to speak on their own,” said Corrine. “As we started to look into the program, we thought it was really neat and wanted to get involved, both as a student and as a learning coach.”

Using the thousands of voices that have been donated, people with speech disabilities who use VocaliD will each receive a custom blended voice that matches their age, gender and even geographical location.

To learn more about how you can be a part of the VocaliD Project at PA Virtual, contact Doug Wessels, Director of Service Learning. To learn more about the Vocalid program, please visit

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Posted on: March 30, 2017 by Jennifer Kilpatrick in |