Many of us remember trips to the nurse's office in our brick-and-mortar schools. But did you know that cyber schools, including cyber charters, have health services as well? In this blog, Regional Nurse Ms. Olcese-Mercurio explores the role of these healthcare professionals, and how they help your child and family!
Attending a cyber school is an enlightening experience, and one that still allows for strong connections with fellow classmates as well as teachers! In this blog, cyber charter school alumna Lauren '14 shares her thoughts on cyber school, how it helped shape her desire to teach, and provides an insider's view into the experience!
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Career preparation is more important than ever in our competitive, dynamic economy. In this blog post, Field Placement & Career Services Manager Gabrielle discusses the PA Virtual Career Services program, its goal, and how it prepares our students for bright futures!
Most of us have heard about Earth Day, which encourages everyone to consider sustainability and other environmental concerns. But what role do cyber schools play? In this blog, High School Principal and GLOBE Program Club adviser Dr. Shaikha BuAli answers that very question — and shares some ways to get involved on Earth Day!
Ah, the joy of Spring Break! After a long winter, and before the busy summer, families across Pennsylvania take this opportunity for some springtime fun. Whether you're at a cyber charter school or in a brick-and-mortar model, break is a great time rest and recharge for the the final end-of-year push. This week, Ms. Olcese-Mercurio, one of our regional nurses, shares some tips and activities to make your break relaxing and productive, while helping you stay healthy!
What's it like being an assistant principal at a cyber charter school? We're celebrating Assistant Principal Appreciation Week with this insider's view from Ms. Afshari, whose experience spans brick-and-mortar settings, teaching in a cyber school, and now administration!
What is kindergarten like in an online school? Find out what you can expect, what your child will learn, and more from cyber charter elementary teacher Ms. Bornancini!
Is high school different in a cyber school? Find out what it's like to teach at a cyber charter high school, featuring English teacher Ms. Slater!
Families considering online school often have questions about their options, the flexibility of programs, work load, socialization, and more. In this blog, Cindy Dingeldein, a Parent Ambassador coordinator and former PA Virtual parent, shares some of the important things you need to know about online education!
Think that school spirit is only for a brick-and-mortar environment? Not at all! As PA Virtual Proud Spirit Week approaches, we take a look at what makes our teachers, staff, and students love being at a cyber charter school, and how they stay #PAVirtualProud every day! Thanks to Ms. Varalli for sharing her perspective!
What's it like inside one of the cyber school classrooms in Pennsylvania? Heather Alcott, an Academic Support Teacher, gives us a snapshot of teaching in a virtual classroom — and shares her thoughts on the cyber charter school class experience!
Wondering just how parents relate to teachers, staff, and administration in a virtual learning environment? One of our Parent Ambassador Regional Coordinators, Cindy Dingeldein, shares her insight into how she, as well as other parents, connect with the school in a cyber charter school!
President's Day: a Monday in February that celebrates our former Commanders in Chief. As a cyber charter school, we appreciate the role that history plays in our lives, and we've compiled some fun facts for you to celebrate the day!
It's that time of year for shorter days, colder nights, and bundling up! For some, winter can be a challenging season, and many people find themselves emotionally sad or drained. But cyber charter elementary school counselor Ms. Romig has you covered with some tips to help you manage the mid-winter blues!
Coding, astronomy, writing — oh my! Think that cyber charter school is only about the core classes? Not so! We offer plenty of additional courses to help students explore their interests. Read on for 8 classes that you didn't know we offered at our cyber high school!
You may have heard about school choice, particularly as it pertains to cyber charter schools. But what exactly is it, and how does it impact your family? In this blog, we explore school choice's role in education, why it's important, and how it benefits your child!
Looking to transition to a cyber charter school model? In this blog post, Darcie — one of our Parent Ambassador Regional Coordinators — discusses some of the programs in place to help families who are new to PA Virtual.
Cyber charter school students and parents, just like brick-and-mortar families, want to know that they are valued! In this blog, school counselor Ms. Mathis discusses the key principles of PA Virtual as a cyber school — and how these key concepts benefit students, families, and employees!
Fireworks, parties, and food. New Year's Eve is an exciting time, as we say goodbye to one year and welcome the next. But how do people around the world mark this occasion? Check out celebrations from Denmark, South Africa, and more in this special edition blog!
Winter Break: two words that, for most students, signal rest, relaxation, and a temporary pause after a busy first semester. Whether students are in a cyber charter school, or in a brick-and-mortar model, this time typically elicits excitement from even the most dedicated student who loves being in school. Here are some tips for making your vacation both fun and educational!
Parents sometimes wonder what types of learning supports are available for students who need some extra help. All teachers — be they at a cyber charter school or in a brick-and-mortar setting — want to help their students succeed! Learn more about how PA Virtual achieves this from Heather, one of our Academic Support Teachers!
What's it like to graduate from a cyber charter school, begin a career or family, and then become a Learning Coach for your child at your alma mater? We recently sat down with Faith '11, a busy mother of two boys, to discover why she chose to have her oldest son attend here.
Ensuring that our students achieve their full potential means addressing multiple facets of education, such as parent involvement, engaging curriculum and technology, high-quality academics, and supporting students and families. PA Virtual 's Diamond Model of Partnership draws on this multi-pronged approach to prepare students for college, career, and beyond!
Every parent wants their child to receive an education that is comprehensive and teaches skills applicable to the world outside the classroom. But how does this work in a cyber charter setting? PA Virtual teacher Amy Dajczak takes a look at how cyber charter schools infuse real-world skill training with a virtual education.
As the world embraces the benefits of working remotely, parents might wonder what it’s like to work at a cyber charter school. Is it that different from a brick-and-mortar experience? Do employees really benefit from it? In this blog post, staff member Jennifer shares her honest review of working at PA Virtual.
In recent years, our country has seen a significant rise in concerns about bullying, with a particular emphasis on cyberbullying. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and in this week’s post, we’ll examine some signs that your child might be experiencing bullying, as well as offer some tools and trips to resolve and even prevent it.
PA Virtual may be a cyber charter school that excels at virtual learning, but we still love in-person, family-oriented activities — especially those involving food! In this special edition of our blog, we're celebrating National Apple Day with some facts about this delicious fruit, as well as the connection between apples and our Pupil Health department!
When it comes to learning in a cyber charter school environment, we know that organization and communication are keys to success. But what about teaching at an online school? Faculty member Janese Claar has some best practices and tips for teaching virtually.
How do cyber charter school students participate in special subjects, such as art? In this blog, art teacher Tori addresses some of the highlights and important aspects of teaching art virtually, and how it supports students' creativity, provides interdisciplinary connections to other areas of study, and helps provide a well-rounded, cyber charter education.
What’s it like being a parent of a cyber charter student? Can one balance being a parent, full-time remote worker, AND a Learning Coach? Amy Page shares her perspective on being a PA Virtual employee and having her son enrolled at the school.
Ready for some fun autumn activities? Look no further than our list of 10 family-friendly things to do in Pennsylvania. Get out and enjoy the leaves, pumpkins, apples, and more while you can!
Finding the right school for your child is an important milestone in a family’s life. Should they be at a brick and mortar school? In virtual learning? What about the quality of academics, flexibility of programs, and safety? A cyber charter school is a tuition-free, public option for many families, with many students enjoying the flexibility of classes, the home-based environment, and innovative technology. But what about parents? As a PA Virtual parent and employee, I’ve witnessed the power of virtual learning. In this blog, I’ll share the lessons that I experienced as a Learning Coach, as well as some tips and strategies for cyber charter school success.
Each day, the teachers of Pennsylvania's 14 cyber charter schools find new ways to present content in a virtual educational model, offering their expertise to students from PreK through grade 12. But what is the experience like when you teach virtually, as opposed to a traditional brick-and-mortar school? And how do you maintain connection with students? In particular, how do you keep younger children engaged in their learning? In this post, I’m going to share what it’s like to be a Kindergarten through grade 4 teacher at a cyber school.
Books are sources of wisdom, quests, truth, and hope — and are instrumental to building an extensive vocabulary. Every parent wants their child to love books and reading because they know it opens many doors. And helping children love books and reading is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Reading is an essential skill to have, and will lead your child on a path to becoming a lifelong learner. But how can we help a child love books, particularly in a world of many digital distractions?
Task management: two words that often conjure images of Excel spreadsheets, endless checkboxes, or even chore charts. Before we know it, we’re faced with a list as long as our arm — one that seemingly grows overnight. But does it have to be that way? In this blog, we'll look at strategies to optimize task (and, consequently, time) management for your student and family. Here are our tips for task management for cyber charter students and beyond.
For many children, returning to school is an exciting time of discovery, reuniting with friends, and growth. For others, the loss of carefree summer days can cause apprehension, even panic. Whether your child is attending a brick and mortar school, a cyber charter model, or being homeschooled, here are some ways to help address back-to-school concerns, and ease your child's transition back into the academic year. Here are five tips for managing child back-to-school anxiety.
You’ve always searched for the best option for your child, from the best bottle to the sturdiest bike. Now it’s time for you to choose the best education. We are so fortunate to have options for our children today. These days, you can think critically about your child’s amazing qualities and correlate them with a system that makes them successful for life. We’ve compiled some guiding questions, as well as an overview of your options in Pennsylvania, to help you determine what fits your child's unique academic needs. Here is our list of the best questions to ask when choosing the right education for your child.
It’s August, and you know what that means: nearly time to go back to school! We've compiled a list of some timeless tips to make the process less stressful for you and your family. Check out our helpful back-to-school tips for students and families.
Ready to squeeze in a few more family outings – and not break the bank? We’ve compiled a list of 10 free or low-cost activities for you and your family, all in the greater Philadelphia area. Note: Please confirm each destination’s health and safety protocols, as well as local guidance on masking and distancing, prior to your trip.
There’s lots to learn about cyber education and PA Virtual Charter School. Here’s a fun way to learn 26 things in just a few minutes!
If you’re a parent who is considering enrolling your child in kindergarten at a cyber school, this blog post is for you. We will discuss what a typical day looks like, the types of lessons and activities your child will participate in, the materials they will receive, and more. While the focus of this blog post will be on kindergarten at PA Virtual, we hope this gives you a good understanding of what to expect from any cyber school kindergarten experience.
We’ve heard the stories. Friends or family members who had their accounts hacked, or their identity stolen. You take great interest in these stories for yourself. Have you thought about using these teachable moments for your children?
Are you a parent of a school-aged child looking for educational options in Pennsylvania? Would you like a little more flexibility in the school day? Are you wondering if your student can get an excellent education online? Lastly, you may be asking yourself, “How hard can it be to cyber school my child?”
The National Education Association, Public School Review, and the National Parent Teacher Association agree. Parent involvement in education is key to student success. As NEA Today phrases it, “the most significant type of involvement is what parents do at home.”
As a K-12 Pennsylvania public school, PA Virtual Charter School has a comprehensive school counseling program. We support students academically, on a social and emotional level, and in college and career planning. Although the themes we address are the same, the programs are delivered differently by counselors across grade levels. Each school counselor provides support in a manner that fits the developmental levels of the students served.
For over 20 years, PA Virtual Charter School has been educating students across Pennsylvania in a cyber learning environment. As advances in technology have created more opportunities for virtual learning, many parents may wonder how reading is taught in a cyber school and how students are supported in this model. I have years of experience teaching reading in a virtual classroom. In this post, I will explain how I teach students to read in a virtual learning environment and the benefits that come along with it.
How do you prepare for online school? This is a serious question because when I went to school, I attended a brick and mortar. Parents know when their children go there, they’ll need crayons, pencils, and notebooks because these are tangible items students need to learn. Then, the students go to school and the rest is up to the teacher. But for an online school, what do you need to do to get ready? Maybe you’re thinking, “We received our computer and materials from the school so maybe that is all that needs to be done.” No, you need to do a little bit more to have a successful, enriching, and positive year with your student and for your student. If your child is starting cyber school for the first time, we have some tips on how you can prepare for a successful first school year.
Cyber School. It sounds so vague and different. Would your student benefit from this form of education? If you’re considering it, there’s a good chance that this may be the perfect model. Maybe it’s time to learn more!
What are the differences between cyber schooling vs. homeschooling? When you hear a family is homeschooling their child, it often doesn’t mean what it did 20 years ago. Many times the family is actually schooling their child through a cyber charter school, a home-based education program. PA Virtual Charter School is one of several cyber charter schools available to Pennsylvania families and has been serving students since 2001. While the phrases are often used interchangeably, it’s important to note that homeschooling and cyber schooling are not the same. In this post, we will cover the top three differences between attending a cyber charter school and homeschooling.
There are many reasons why a student might struggle to concentrate regardless of the type of school they attend. Oftentimes it can be due to factors in the environment or in their personal lives. If you're looking for some tips on how to help your child improve their concentration and focus, we have compiled a few general suggestions to consider that experienced Learning Coaches at PA Virtual have found helpful.
Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School (PA Virtual) was one of the first cyber schools established in the state and has served thousands of families over the past 20 years. We believe in providing a comprehensive education for each student. This includes personalizing learning for each student and providing social and leadership opportunities through monthly field trips and over 20 online clubs.
Over the last 20+ years there has been a lot of misinformation distributed concerning cyber learning; especially cyber learning in the K-12 environment. However, cyber learning is a successful option for many families in Pennsylvania. The purpose of this blog is to give you some foundational information regarding cyber learning. Here are 5 things you may have not considered about cyber school.
When you think of schooling, you most likely think of the traditional school model, brick and mortar. So why would you consider online learning in a virtual environment? There are many reasons to explain why parents are moving away from brick and mortar and looking into online schools. Some of the reasons have to do with factors in our environment and society. Parents, you are aware that bullying in school can carry over into the community in which you are raising your child. There is also an increase in emotional, behavioral, and psychological conditions that are impeding students’ social, emotional, and academic development. Other reasons may be related to the overall quality of education within the districts.
Online schooling is no longer limited to just colleges and universities. Children in Pennsylvania have been attending cyber charter schools for more than 20 years! While that may seem like a long time, much of the public is still unclear about what exactly cyber charter schools are and how they work. In this post, we will explore the top ways in which cyber charter schools are similar to and different from your local district school.
My oh my, how governments, teachers, and students wished mid-way through the year 2020 that they would have learned more about distance learning beforehand. Nobody could have predicted how quickly and drastically our normal lives would change, specifically with work and education. The use of virtual, home-based learning systems was the talk of the town, and even the professionals ditched their offices and business suits for work from home environments.
There are always plenty of questions parents have about PA Virtual and cyber charter schools in general when they start looking into the online education model. Over the past 20 years of serving Pennsylvania families, we have noticed a handful of questions that are frequently asked by prospective parents. In this post, we’ll be answering some of the most common questions that parents ask before they enroll their child with PA Virtual Charter School.
This post is designed with you, the parent, in mind. You are considering cyber school for your child(ren) which can be a rewarding journey in itself. Cyber school students benefit greatly from invested adults monitoring the school day and at times giving instruction.
Think back to your kindergarten days. What do you remember? The smell of crayons and paint? Perhaps the texture of sand from a sensory table. Did you have a few favorite friends?
Have you been considering if your family would be a good fit for a cyber school? There are several reasons why your family could benefit from cyber education for your child. Many families look into the cyber model for reasons like flexibility, individualized learning, convenience and safety, among other factors.
There are many factors to consider as a parent when deciding which education model would be the best fit for your family. If you’re looking into the cyber model for your child, you likely have many questions. Will my child be engaged in this environment? How will they make friends? Is there more or less stress? If they are struggling in class, are there services provided like there are in a brick and mortar school?
Families looking into cyber school and other alternative methods of education may be doing so due to difficulties with their local school district. Before withdrawing a student, however, it’s important that parents understand Truancy Laws and how to avoid truancy issues.
Technology is ever-evolving in the 21st century and has created many opportunities for us all, including for online learning. Education has expanded beyond the traditional classroom of textbooks, paper, and pencils toward Google virtual classrooms, sharing Google docs, and computerized writing tools.
As we approach the end of the school year, it gets harder and harder for kids to stay focused on their school work. With the weather getting warmer, the days getting longer, and summer vacation just around the corner, it naturally becomes more difficult for children to concentrate on school. As a parent, there are some things you can do to help keep your child focused until school lets out for the summer.
Parents are often curious about how music experiences work for students who attend a cyber school. Learning music virtually is quite similar to what it would be in a traditional brick and mortar setting. We learn music by listening. We learn music by creating it, by playing instruments and singing. This is a field that continues to evolve, but in this post, I’ll explain more in-depth how music is learned and taught and how I connect with students through music in our virtual environment. If you're wondering, "how is music taught at a cyber school?" you've come to the right spot.
The Learning Coach – Not a Nominal Role What’s in a name? Not much, according to Shakespeare. After all, a “rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” right? But names, as well as titles, carry lots of meaning, and it isn’t unusual for people, especially parents, to have several. A parent is not only “mom” or “dad,” but often coach, taxi driver, counselor, cook, nurse, and cheerleader – just to name a few.
During my first week of teaching at PA Virtual Charter School, a parent hopped on at the end of a lesson. As a newbie, I naturally grew anxious that I had forgotten something! Was my mic off the whole time? Was the information irrelevant?
If you are a cyber school parent struggling to keep your student's attention where it needs to be throughout the school day, you are not alone! Keeping students focused is a challenge for many of us! Many PA Virtual Learning Coaches have experienced the same situation and have come up with tried and true strategies to help keep their child on task.
Over the past 20 years of serving families across Pennsylvania, we have noticed a handful of questions that are frequently asked by prospective parents. In this post, we've compiled a list below of the most common questions people ask regarding socialization and family support specifically, as well as some general questions people frequently ask about PA Virtual Charter School.
There are many challenges parents face when it comes to their child’s education, regardless of what type of school their child attends. Because cyber school parents are at home with their children and are heavily involved in their day-to-day schooling, it’s important to address these challenges and equip parents with the tools and resources to help their child reach their full potential.
“How have I survived without this online tool?” “How have I never heard of this app?” You will probably be asking yourself these questions by the time you finish reading this blog post. There are endless free online tools and resources out there to continually engage and teach students (and adults) year-round. Many of these tools are useful both in and out of school. Here are some of our favorites.
Comedian Michael Jr. is known for saying, ‘“When you know your 'why,' then your 'what' has more impact, because you're working towards your purpose.” In other words, it is just as vital in life to know why we are doing what we are doing, so we can produce value for ourselves and others. This is what I consider as I think about an honest review of cyber schooling. We had many whys, but the top of the list was for our daughter to become a lifelong learner. We kept that thought as an anchor throughout the years.
Prospective parents often wonder how physical education, a course centered on being physically active, can be taught in a virtual setting. When I first was hired at PA Virtual, even my family and friends had the same questions! The confused looks on their faces when I said I was teaching physical education virtually, were priceless. They pictured the “gym” classes from their childhood and couldn't quite grasp how that would work online. Physical Education (PE) in a virtual education model is very effective and engaging, which I will discuss below as well as my experience teaching these courses virtually.
You may have considered a cyber charter school for your child but are not sure where exactly to begin. There are 14 cyber charter schools to choose from in Pennsylvania, so you have quite a few choices. These schools have some similarities but also many differences. Therefore, you may be wondering how to choose a cyber school in PA. It is important to do your research and to choose a cyber charter school that will be the right fit for your family. But, what questions should you ask? ln this post, we’ll discuss five important questions you should ask when researching which cyber charter school in PA is best for your family.
Every interest has an online learning opportunity. When learning can’t take place in the classroom, online learning websites can help support and increase learning. Homework help, enrichment, and fun can all be discovered with online learning. Free and fun online learning optimizes mastery in simple skills to more complex learning needs. If your child needs enrichment activities or fully assembled lessons, online learning is a great way to supply those needs. Check out these online learning websites!
Have you ever feared speaking or performing in front of a group of people? Maybe you were feeling stressed just thinking about an upcoming presentation, performing in a concert, or taking an upcoming test. Some people perform or present without hesitation while others feel anything from a sense of nervousness to dread or fear. For many of us, just the thought of being watched by others is intimidating. But, for those who suffer from performance anxiety, getting up in front of others is a very stressful experience. Extreme nervousness experienced before or during participation in an activity taking place in front of an audience is called performance anxiety. This condition is more common than you may think and there are ways to help alleviate the symptoms.
It’s no secret that your child has preferences! The countless shirts with “llama-corns,” or the reoccurring Lego lunchbox. That particular dinner that they always finish. Kids are not shy when it comes to their own unique style, but have you caught onto their learning style? Chances are, they’re showing it to you, and you haven’t picked up on it yet!
Have you ever wondered if a better option existed for your child’s education? Did you know that you, as a parent or guardian in Pennsylvania, have the right to choose the educational environment that works best for your child?
Families in 2021 have many options for educating their children. Homeschool, which began on a larger scale in the 1970s; private schools, which have been available for many decades; local public schools, which are utilized by the majority of PA families; and for the past 20+ years, we have encountered the “new kid on the block”: charter & cyber charter schools. When it was our family’s turn, many of our friends were at the end of the decision process. It seemed there were so many questions and so many decisions to be made. This was our journey.
One of the biggest questions people have before trying something new is, “What does this experience look like?” For students moving to a cyber charter school, it can be difficult to imagine what school will be like in a different environment. I would love to tell you about what being a student at a cyber charter school is really like. I attended PA Virtual from kindergarten through 12th grade. During my time here, I developed valuable skills, made great friends, and genuinely enjoyed learning. If you’re considering virtual school but are feeling nervous about the change, let me put your mind at ease.
A quick Internet search for the definition of the word “test” reveals something remarkable. Anxiety and stress are never listed as synonyms. However, that is exactly how most of us feel as soon as the word test is mentioned. Although often dreaded by our students, various types of testing can be beneficial for teachers and parents to gauge student progress and performance. But how can we help our students get over their reflexive barrage of nerves so that they can actually achieve success during those inevitable exams? In this blog post, I will be sharing some tried and true tips for relieving test anxiety before and during the test, as well as how to use the experience after the test to better prepare for the next one.
From a young age, Abigail Kauffman had a passion for music and knew that it would be a significant part of her life. She sang her first solo before she started kindergarten, and growing up, she would sing around the house any chance she got. She participated in different ensembles and competitions throughout middle school and high school, and her passion for music continued to grow.
At PA Virtual, we offer both asynchronous and synchronous learning models for our students based on their academic performance, learning style, and need for academic support and socialization. So, what exactly do those terms mean and how are they different?
I think you will find many areas of life enjoy a different reality than original expectation. This is true of parents and students when a family enters the cyber school setting. Parents are now alerted to what the student is being exposed to throughout the day. Students may expect easy learning. As a parent, I was naïve enough to believe every day was going to be a great one. I forgot to take into consideration what the day would be like if one of us were tired or not in a great mood. And, I was guilty of thinking a Kindergarten student had the attention span of an adult. Learning to navigate the software takes some time to become familiar, too. Let’s take a few minutes to look at some of the expectations I had for education in the cyber setting and the actual reality of the day-to-day business of educating at home. Check out our blog on Cyber School: Expectations vs. Reality.
For families who are just beginning homeschooling or cyber schooling their children, it can be a little intimidating to figure out how to get started. One of the pieces of advice we hear most often from experienced families is that it helps to set up a specific area where school “happens.” Keep in mind that an elaborate space is not necessary. The school area can be as simple as the kitchen table or a section of the living room. Here are 6 helpful tips on how to set up your child's learning space.
Over the past year, interest in cyber schools has skyrocketed, for obvious reasons. While you may have heard other parents talk about the different class types, the materials provided, and their role in working with their child, the process of enrolling with a cyber school may still feel like something of a mystery. This blog will help demystify the process and provide you with valuable resources for enrollment.
January is nearly synonymous with fresh starts. It seems to be the perfect time to evaluate, plan, and improve. As parents, many of us like to take a close look at our school day during this time of year and do just that before starting into the second semester. Sometimes, very simple changes can go a long way to making the school day smoother and more productive. One great place to start is to consider the morning routine, because that really sets the tone for the whole school day. If you don’t already have a morning routine that seems to be working well for your family, consider the following ideas to get your school mornings started off on the right foot:
I attended PA Virtual for thirteen years. People sometimes ask me why my family chose cyber school, or why we stayed when I could have gone to a public or private school. Today, I thought I’d tell you the story of how the Dingeldein’s found Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School.
More than ever, communities are aware of how crucial support is for students. It is not only necessary for their physical, emotional, and mental well-being, but also for their overall success, both in and out of the classroom. Yet in order for student support to be as effective as possible, parents must be equally supported. For families that are new to the cyber-school model, it is especially important that year-round supports are in place to provide helpful resources, timely communication, and meaningful connections to make the school year a success for the whole family. This blog post will explore ways that parents are specifically supported in one cyber-school model.
Many times when families are transitioning to the cyber model, it can be a challenge for parents to find the best ways to motivate their students to follow a daily school routine. The home environment can bring distractions, and it can be tough for students to adapt to the idea that school happens at home. Whether you have multiple students or just one, adhering to a school routine in a home environment can be tricky at times! Here are a few tips that veteran PA Virtual Learning Coaches have found to stay on track with the school day in spite of the distractions a home-setting can involve.
Is your high school student looking to explore options other than the traditional classroom? Are you, as a parent, a little nervous about the thought of homeschooling your student? Take a deep breath… You have options, and they don’t have to be scary! In this post, we will explore what is involved with being the parent of a high school student who is engaging in home-based learning, including homeschooling and virtual charter schools.
It’s 2020, and many parents are looking in a new direction for the education of their children – schooling from home. Homeschooling is a home-based education program created by the parent, and in the past, consisted of a parent creating and executing lessons for their child at home. When it comes to home education, technology has created a new opportunity – for online schools to better cultivate and support both students and parents. So, you may be wondering, "How hard is online school compared to homeschooling?"
As temperatures begin to drop and winter approaches, your children will begin to spend more time indoors. To make an effort to limit screen time this winter, encourage your children to read more. Of course, this can be easier said than done. Below are some helpful tips on how to get your child to read more this winter season and into the New Year.
Traditional brick and mortar schools have long been the standard in education in the United States. The introduction of school choice along with the increase in popularity of charter schools and homeschooling has caused district schools to reevaluate their teaching methodology. The continued impact and implications of school choice only further the idea that different schooling options work for different learners. Having a variety of choices to meet the various needs of learners can only serve to positively impact educational paradigms overall.
There are hundreds of cyber charter school teachers across the state. You may be considering joining our ranks; however, there are so many questions people have about what it is like to teach at a cyber charter school! If you have a curiosity about making the leap, you may be asking yourself things like, “How do cyber teachers connect with their students?” or “How is teaching virtually different from teaching in a traditional brick and mortar school?” Well, sit back, reheat that coffee for the billionth time, and read on. In this post, I’m going to share with you what it’s like to teach at a cyber school, including the benefits (yay) and challenges (sigh) of teaching virtually.
During my thirteen years of cyber education, my Learning Coach and I sometimes had to defend our family’s school choice. Usually, the objections came from well-meaning people who heard stories from others or assumed that cyber school just didn’t cut it. Today, we’re going to debunk five common myths about cyber school. Here are 5 myths about cyber school debunked.
It can be a challenge to keep kids focused while schooling from home, especially if they tend to get easily distracted by things in their environment. Many students struggle with this, but there are things you can do to help to improve their focus. Here are some tips from seasoned PA Virtual Learning Coaches who have helped their students with this same challenge.
You may be wondering, "Is virtual learning a substitute to traditional schools?" When speaking with parents, this is one of the most common questions we hear. In short, the answer is no, virtual learning is not a substitute to brick and mortar schools; virtual learning is an alternative. In some cases it can be a superior form of education – for the right student, if you choose the right school. There are certain advantages which virtual schools offer that traditional schools do not.
A good high school education is critical for young adults whether they plan to enter the workforce, join the military, or enroll in a college or university. Whatever your child's post-secondary plans, a high-quality high school education lays the foundation for developing the skills necessary to succeed post-graduation. The local district high school is not the perfect learning environment for every student. Some students require a different option. You may be wondering, "What is a good alternative for high school?" This blog will explore the benefits of cyber charter schools and why they might be a good fit for your child.
If you would have asked me during my graduate program what the likelihood of me working at a virtual school was, I would have told you slim to none. However, sometimes life has a funny way of taking control of things. As you can imagine and possibly relate to, I was furiously applying for jobs once I received my diploma. I applied to anything and everything available because I was determined to get a job in my field. I didn't have anything against virtual schools – I just simply knew nothing about them. My internships prepared me for working with large and diverse caseloads in a brick and mortar setting, and I was surprised to see just how well those skills transferred into this virtual setting.
School-related anxiety can develop as the result of many different factors. Managing it can sometimes be difficult, but there are options available to help your child. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of anxiety and to know when your child needs access to professional care. It is also important to support your child with compassion and understanding while you research steps that can be taken and choices you can make to help. Children often work through their anxiety while remaining in their current school setting. But, sometimes parents look for alternatives to their local public school in an effort to decrease the anxiety their child is experiencing.
Studying is an essential skill when it comes to academic success, but studying doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Whether you are a student struggling to find a study strategy that works for you or a parent looking to help your student improve their study habits, there are specific approaches you can apply to develop better study skills and get results. In this post, I will be sharing study tips that will help students succeed in school and in their future life experiences.
In a cyber school environment, establishing and maintaining a solid daily school routine is important not only for the student but also for the parent. It can help save time, reduce stress, and increase student cooperation. Sometimes it can be a challenge for families to maintain a steady routine, whether they get off track or don’t accomplish as much as they planned to for the day.
Thanks to the year 2020, several people are trying cyber schooling for the first time. For many families, distance learning is a new concept. For my family, though, it was a reality for thirteen years, as I advanced from kindergarten through high school in a cyber education model. I know that getting into a rhythm for cyber school can be challenging, but once you find that rhythm, this model of schooling will offer you so many opportunities to grow and succeed. Today, I want to focus on tips I can give you as a veteran of cyber school.
As cyber schooling continues to gain increased awareness and popularity, many families often question how exactly it all works. Parents wonder how much cyber education will cost and quickly discover that cyber charter schools do not have a tuition fee. Some questions we frequently get asked at PA Virtual are “If your school is free for families to attend, then how are you funded?” or “How can cyber schools and everything they offer be at no cost to the family?” This post is going to explore how cyber charter schools are funded and how they actually receive less funding than their district school counterparts.
Hi everyone; I am Mrs. Cindy Willits, M.Ed. I have had the pleasure of teaching online with PA Virtual since 2006 and have taught in various other capacities for many years. I am here to share with you some amazing ways that an online education can truly become a hands-on and immersive experience for your child! I always strive to make my classes engaging and to connect with my students meaningfully. Through innovative thinking, creative planning, use of webcam and online tools, getting hands-on with my online classes is amazingly memorable, and has become my favorite way to work with students! Join me now for some examples and PICTURES of how this works!
Kayla Turner attended PA Virtual from 4th grade through 12th grade. She has been staying busy since graduating from PA Virtual in 2015. Currently, she is pursuing her master’s degree in chemistry, and when she is not busy with her schoolwork, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family. This past summer, Kayla decided to enroll her daughter, Demetria, into 4th grade at PA Virtual for the 2020-2021 school year. We recently caught up with Kayla to learn more about her decision to enroll her daughter at her Alma Mater.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to learning, so there shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to educating our children. Every child learns differently, which requires varying forms of delivery to ensure each child receives an education that meets their individual needs. The way we choose to educate our children will have a lasting impact on them throughout their lifetime.
Being a parent at a cyber school is a big time commitment, and it can certainly come with its challenges. If you have multiple children enrolled in a cyber school, it can be an even bigger challenge as a parent to provide the necessary assistance to each of your students when their live classes occur simultaneously.
One might wonder what it is like to suffer from social anxiety. Imagine being in a social situation with the constant thought or fear of being judged for being quiet or for blushing. In the classroom, an individual is anxious about presenting in front of the class. His or her focus and attention is diverted towards their pounding heart, warm cheeks, and trembling voice instead of the presentation topic. Walking down the hallway or participating in class might make a student uneasy due to the perceived judgment of others.
There is no doubt that a little organization goes a long way to helping us get more done each day. Staying organized throughout the school year can serve as a challenge, especially while learning in a home environment, but solid organizational skills will help set you up for continued success. If you're looking for some best practices on how to get yourself organized in a cyber school, here are some tips that may help.
Being involved in your child's education can be very rewarding as a parent, and it's something many cyber school parents cherish. However, there are various daily challenges you may face as a parent of a cyber school student, especially if you are new to the model. One of those challenges may be -- how to teach your cyber student to stay on task without having to provide constant reminders.
It can be a challenge for both students and parents to get back into the swing of things at the beginning of the school year. For many students, summer vacation means getting to stay up past their normal bedtime or waking up later than usual in the morning. In order to set the tone for a successful school year, it’s important to establish and maintain a daily routine. We asked for advice from PA Virtual High School Guidance Counselor, Crystal Widmann and she shared some tips that can help both parents and students alike.
As a parent, you have many choices when it comes to your child’s education. If you have been considering the cyber education model for your child, you might be doing your research to determine which cyber school in Pennsylvania would be the best fit. With 14 cyber charter schools throughout the state, you have quite a few options to choose from. Here are 5 reasons why PA Virtual could be a great fit for your family.
Gone are the days where the vast majority of students in a town attend the same high school based simply on their addresses. Though some students may have attended a private school, the price of tuition put the option out of reach for most families. With such limited choices, students and families were caught between their local school district and the high prices of private school. Fortunately, today, students have tuition-free options. You may be curious about whether attending high school online is a good opportunity for you. Look through the information and questions below and ask yourself if an online high school is a good fit for you. First, let’s start with some basics.
In the cyber learning model, the role of the parent is very important. At PA Virtual, we refer to the parent or primary responsible adult at home with the student as the Learning Coach, and they serve as our eyes and ears in the home-based classroom. The physical presence of parents is needed to keep students focused and on task with what is happening in the virtual classroom. It is this type of dedication on the parent’s part that will contribute to ongoing student success. Sometimes it may appear a student is participating in class, but their grades do not reflect the amount of time they are online.
There are a lot of ways to get the school year off to a great start with your children – eating healthy, sleeping regularly, and of course, teaching good study habits. Although it is vital that students study effectively for their classes, many children struggle with developing and maintaining good study habits. Here are 5 tips on how you can help your child excel in studying.
Cyber schooling is proving to become a more popular and convenient option for families in the 21st century. Virtual education allows students to learn from the comfort and privacy of their own home. What does this mean for the parents/guardians of the students? Enrolling in a cyber charter school can be a huge transition from a traditional brick and mortar school, not only for the student but also for the parents/guardians. So what exactly should you expect when you enroll your child in a cyber charter school? In today's post, we'll explain some things you can expect when enrolling your child in a cyber school.
You may be considering a cyber charter school for your child or are new to the cyber charter model. Being a cyber charter school parent can be a difficult adjustment at first. Today, we’ll cover five helpful tips that will hopefully make your job as a cyber charter school parent easier.
It's no secret that the world has certainly changed drastically in the past 20 years due to advances in technology. When PA Virtual first opened its doors in 2001, many things were different than they are now in 2020. As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we thought it would be a fun idea to reflect back on the past 20 years and how the world has evolved since we starting educating students online in 2001. Here's a list of 20 things that have changed since 2001.
Each year, about 4 million children in America start kindergarten. One of the most important parts of a kindergartner’s education is spending time sharpening their basic learning skills. No matter where your child is attending kindergarten this fall, there are areas you can focus on as parents to help your children succeed. We've put together some tips to help your child succeed in kindergarten.
Pennsylvania is a state rich in history. As part of our celebration for serving families in Pennsylvania for the past 20 years, we are bringing you a series of “Top 20” lists. Today, we’re providing a list of 20 historical places to visit throughout the state.
As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we are bringing you a series of "Top 20" lists. With the upcoming school year right around the corner, you may be considering PA Virtual as an educational option for your child. In this post, we're providing you with the answers to our 20 most frequently asked questions.
If you are thinking of making the jump to cyber school, you are probably feeling a mixture of excitement, confusion, and anticipation. What if it isn’t the right fit for you? How will you communicate with the teacher? Will you meet other students? And the big question is ‘How does online high school work?’ Will you have a schedule? Do you have to go to class? How will they know if you are ‘in’ school? How will you submit your assignments? How do you get help if you have a question? These are all valid questions since cyber schooling is a relatively new concept. Cyber schools take the concepts that work in your traditional district school and add tweaks to meet the unique needs of students. You will find that the flexibility of cyber schools will allow you to live your life while at the same time earning a top-notch high school education.
For those who are new to the idea of online education, a common concern is whether online school is a good education option. What makes a cyber school student successful? Will your student be able to go to college? If you transferred your child back to a brick and mortar school, would he or she be on target? Can online school challenge your child and support them? Even once you know it can be a good option, you may wonder if your child would excel in a virtual model.
In the 2020-2021 school year, PA Virtual Charter School will be celebrating 20 years of online education for Pennsylvania students. As part of our celebration and our "Top 20 lists" blog series, we asked our parents and staff members what makes them proud to be part of the PA Virtual family. Here are some reasons why our community is #PAVirtualProud!
In continuation with our theme of “lists of 20s” for our 20th anniversary celebration, we wanted to highlight some of our awesome student success stories in today’s blog post. We reached out to our teachers who provided many great examples of all the awesome things our students, both current and former, have accomplished both inside and outside of the classroom. Keep reading to learn about some of the achievements of current and former PA Virtual students!
As part of celebrating 20 years of educating students in Pennsylvania, we are bringing you a series of blogs that each have “lists of 20s” as the theme. We asked our elementary school teachers to provide us with some of their favorite books for students in grades k-4. This week, we’re sharing a list of some great book recommendations for elementary school children.
The 2020-2021 school year will mark PA Virtual’s 20th anniversary, and we are so excited about this milestone! As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we are bringing you a series of blog posts with “list of 20s” as the theme. With summertime upon us, you may be looking for some ways you can keep your child engaged. In this week’s blog post, we're providing 20 ideas of how you can keep your child engaged over the summer break.
If you're looking for 20 great books for teens to read this summer, you've come to the right place. People love story. That’s why it can be tempting to spend summer free time watching television and movies. However, reading is another great way to enjoy story. I want to share some wonderful books with you. These are stories that can transport you to other times, places, and into grand adventures. As part of PA Virtual's 20th anniversary celebration, here are 20 novels you might enjoy reading this summer!
Each fall teachers work with students who have experienced the all too common “summer slide.” Symptoms include learning loss, forgetting math formulas, and even a decrease in vocabulary. Studies have shown that students can lose up to one month of skills and knowledge learned during the school year over the summer, so keeping academic skills intact is a concern for many parents. After all, we want our students to be ready to make progress when school starts back up in September, rather than spending the first few weeks playing “catch up.”
Here at PA Virtual Charter School, we’re very excited about an upcoming milestone this year - we are celebrating our 20th anniversary in the 2020-2021 school year! Over the past 20 years, we have had the great pleasure of educating so many wonderful students who have gone on to accomplish great things after they graduated from PA Virtual.
PA Virtual will be celebrating its 20th school year in the 2020-2021 school year, and we are so excited about this upcoming milestone! As part of our 20th anniversary celebration, we are bringing you a series of blog posts with “list of 20s” as the theme. To kick things off, in this week’s blog post, we are going to provide you with 20 quick facts about PA Virtual Charter School.
Of all the countless decisions you’ll make as a parent, perhaps none are so important as how you choose to educate your child. Yet, for all the weight and consequence placed on this choice, it sometimes feels like straightforward information on the topic is frustratingly hard to come by.
If you’ve clicked on this article, you are probably researching the best educational options for your child. And you might be wondering, "Why do parents prefer charter schools?" There may be a voice inside your head, urging you to look into your options. Inform yourself about a parent’s right to be involved in their child’s education, the multitude of opportunities available today, and let that intuition guide you.
Parents have a lot in common. In spite of varied backgrounds, cultures, and belief systems, we can probably all relate to sleepless nights, toddler tantrums, and sticky kisses. As our children reach school age, the similarities continue. We are expected to help our students succeed in school by communicating with teachers, assisting with assignments, and supporting student learning at home.
Education and learning isn’t limited to the classroom. There are numerous ways to engage your child in fun and educational activities no matter where you are. If you’re looking for some online resources to help your child better understand their studies, there are a number of educational and interactive websites to explore. This blog will share resources for all grade levels, as well as DIY and creative step-by-step art projects. Here are some of the best websites for students from elementary through high school.
Traditional public school not working for your child? Do you know what your options are? Did you know there are more options for your child than your local school district or private school? Anyone, anyone. No? (I hope you heard that in Ben Stein’s best teaching voice from the infamous scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) If you are confused by that movie reference, you might want to take the day off and watch Ferris Bueller.
With everyone’s lives quickly changing due to advances in technology, more and more opportunity for virtual learning is emerging. PA Virtual has been teaching students online for the past 20 years. While a traditional brick and mortar school may be a good fit for some children, a cyber charter school might be more suitable for your child. There are many advantages of choosing the cyber model when it comes to your child’s education. Considering the safety factors of a virtual environment is a huge factor that might impact your decision as well. Cyber schooling takes place from the comfort of students’ home environments, which limits the outside forces that often disrupt brick and mortar learning.
High school is an important time for children. It’s where children make lifelong friends, memories, and decisions on what they’ll do as they begin adulthood. For many families, the traditional high school format may not fit their child’s needs. Parents now have various educational choices for their young adult, including charter schools and cyber charter schools. Not only will these schools provide your child with a valid diploma, but they can also provide the challenge, support, flexibility and involvement your family is looking for. This post will explore reasons why families choose cyber charter school education and the kinds of students who attend these schools.
It’s very common for students of all different ages and grade levels to procrastinate on homework or school projects. Some students may put tasks off because they might feel overwhelmed with all of their schoolwork; others may procrastinate if the project seems too challenging to complete. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to be aware of different ways to help your child defeat procrastination so that they can get into a good habit of managing their time effectively and staying on track with their assignments.
Synchronous and asynchronous are big words that can have a big impact on your online education experience. What do they mean? Is one better than the other? How do you know which one you will prefer without experiencing it? When I attended PA Virtual, I had my share of synchronous and asynchronous courses. Today, we will walk through their mechanics, personality traits that fit well with each, and their strengths and weaknesses. By the end of our time together, you should have a better idea of which instructional mode would be the right fit for you or your student, which will make your cyber charter education an even more profitable experience.
In the past 20 years of serving Pennsylvania students, PA Virtual has been supporting our families both inside and outside of the classroom. We understand the importance of continuously supporting our students and parents so that your child can reach their full academic and social potential in this model of education. So, how exactly does PA Virtual offer additional support to our students and families? Great question! Here are just a few support services and resources we provide throughout the year.
For the past 20 years that PA Virtual has been serving Pennsylvania children, our teachers, staff, and families have all learned a lot about the best practices of cyber schooling and how to set up our students to be successful in this model. If you've just started cyber schooling your child or children, it can be a little overwhelming to figure out where exactly to begin. First and foremost, you may be wondering where exactly your child should learn everyday. Many of our experienced families have shared with us that it helps to set up a specific area in the home where school "happens" each day. While some students may work just as well in a more relaxed environment, setting up a dedicated school area can be a great way for new families to get into the swing of things.
It’s been over 20 years since school choice legislation was passed in Pennsylvania, and with over 150 charter and cyber charter schools in the state, parents now have more choices for their child’s education than ever. The reasons parents begin looking for a charter school can be as different as families themselves, but in the end, there is one common denominator: something in their current school situation isn’t working for them. Charter schools allow parents to make a choice that better suits their needs and the needs of their child.
Over 32,000 students are educated by cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania. Families that enroll their children in PA cyber schools note many different advantages for their children. For more information about charter schools and cyber charter schools, please take a look at our post, "Why Do Parents Prefer Charter Schools?" Today, we’ll explore the many reasons that families choose cyber charter schools for their children to help you determine whether a cyber charter school might be the right option for your family.
Zachary Griffith is a 2014 graduate of PA Virtual Charter School. After high school, he went on to attend Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania where he majored in Political Science with minors in Classical Studies and Legal Studies. He received his bachelor's degree in December of 2017 from Albright College. In 2018, he was accepted into Widener University's Delaware Law School and is currently in his second year of studies for a Juris Doctorate degree. Recently, Zachary was appointed to the Editorial Board of the Law Review at his law school. We caught up with Zachary who gave us some insight on how PA Virtual has prepared him for college and law school, and he also shared some advice for any current high school students considering a career in law.
As a parent, you obviously want to make the best choice for your child when it comes to schooling. Whether your child is approaching high school age, or is already enrolled in high school, it’s important for parents to understand that there are alternatives to public school available. Many parents worry that their local public school isn’t up to par for whatever reason. Perhaps their child has already had a bad experience in the school district, or perhaps you yourself are not satisfied with the way things are being done. That’s a frustrating situation to be in, but it doesn’t have to be permanent.
At PA Virtual, parents are heavily involved in their children’s educational experience each day. It is crucial that all of our students have a dedicated adult to help support them through their academic journey, as this shows them that their education is a top priority. Parent involvement can lead to improved grades and test scores as well as lower drop-out rates, while being quite a rewarding experience for parents.
After attending PA Virtual from kindergarten through senior year, I transitioned to a brick and mortar college. While I did experience an initial learning curve, I discovered that I was well-prepared to succeed in a different educational environment. All the skills that have contributed to my current success came from my cyber charter school education. Today, I want to tell you about four skills which are unique to online education that geared me and my classmates towards success in college.
I love family meal time. I love it when schedules allow the whole family to be at the dinner table at the same time, enjoying favorite foods, and having great conversations that continue long after the last spoonful of chicken pot pie has been claimed. I love it the most when the conversations happen spontaneously, and we have to follow a backwards trail to figure out how the topic ended up here. And, of course, plenty of inside jokes and family stories make it even better.
Thousands of students each year realize that something isn’t working for them at their local school district, and they start looking for an alternative way to receive their education. If that’s where you are, and you’ve decided that a cyber charter school would be a great fit for you, you’ve come to the right place. You may be wondering, "How to convince my mom to let me do an online school?" This blog can help you prepare to talk with your mom (or dad) about making the choice to enroll at an online school.
Starting at any new school can be an adjustment for any family. For families making the jump to cyber education, there is often a transition period, especially for those who have just enrolled their first child into the world of virtual education. Let’s take a look at some important things you should know about PA Virtual Charter School.
A common question prospective families ask us when beginning the enrollment process is how often their child will get to socialize with others while being educated in a virtual environment. It's a valid concern as socialization is an important part of a child's development. At PA Virtual, we offer a variety of opportunities for both students and their families to explore local attractions, meet other PA Virtual families in their area, and build strong relationships.
Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), a cyber charter school is an independent public school and a non-profit organization that uses technology to deliver a significant portion of curriculum and instruction. More than 35,000 students in Pennsylvania take advantage of this model of education, and there are currently 15 cyber charter schools available to students across the state.
Do cyber students go to college? The short answer - YES! Just like many high school students, cyber school students DO go to college after they graduate. Parents often wonder how their child’s school will prepare them for post-graduation success, no matter which model of education they choose. In this post, we will explore how cyber students prepare for college, the resources available to PA Virtual Charter School students, and the success of our students.
Transitioning to a cyber charter school can be a significant change, and one that is undertaken for a variety of reasons. Some families choose this model for the quality of education: that’s why my parents chose PA Virtual for me. For others, it’s a solution for problems sometimes faced at brick and mortar schools, such as anxiety and bullying. Still others come to cyber charter schools because of the flexibility they offer.
We recently hosted a Facebook Live session to answer the questions we get asked the most about attending a cyber charter school, as well as questions about transitioning to a cyber charter school after the school year has started. Director of Parent Education & Engagement, Jennifer Brodhag and Director of Marketing & Communications, Jennifer Kilpatrick also took questions live from the audience. Jennifer Brodhag is also the parent of three former PA Virtual students. The recording of the session can be found below. Don't have time to watch? Keep scrolling for some of our most frequently asked questions.