Multiple Paths to Graduation
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.
Reasons Students Attend PA Cyber Charter Schools
Students are struggling with their current studies
According to the Department of Education, more than one third of Pennsylvania students score below proficient in Biology and Algebra and more than one fourth of students score below proficient in literature. PA cyber schools, like PA Virtual, individualize education for each student to meet students where they are. They do this through baseline testing that allows the cyber school to place students in the appropriate class level so a child will be challenged, but not overwhelmed. PA Virtual also assists students and families by providing tutors, one-on-one time with teachers through weekly office hours and a comprehensive Family Support Department. PA Virtual families are never alone - from the time a child enrolls until they graduate.
Children need a more challenging structure
On the other hand, many families look to cyber charter schools to challenge their child. The report referenced above by the Department of Education also showed that one in four students in Pennsylvania received advanced scores in Biology and Algebra on their Keystone tests. The same baseline testing cyber schools utilize that shows if a child is struggling can also show if a child needs more of a challenge. Cyber schools like PA Virtual often offer Advanced Placement and Honors courses. PA cyber high schools also offer supplemental material to enhance a child’s education. This not only provides students with the challenge they’re looking for, but also allows students to explore their interests and guide their next steps post-graduation.
Families need more flexibility with their schedule
There are many reasons why a family may need a flexible schedule for their child’s education. If a student is competing in a sport at a high level, he or she may need flexibility so they can properly train and participate in competitions. This was the case with PA Virtual alumnus Ivan Lodnia, who was drafted by the NHL’s Minnesota Wild. Other students may be professional dancers, musicians, actors or even entrepreneurs. Cyber school flexibility can also be leveraged for high school students who have medical concerns that won’t allow them to participate in a traditional school day. Regardless of the reason, PA cyber schools are willing to work to find the right schedule for your family.
Parents want to be more involved with their child’s education
Many parents want to be more hands-on with their child’s education. Some choose to home school, and some look for other educational options. As students move into middle and high school, it can become more difficult for a parent to take on the role of their child’s primary instructor. Parents of high school students may find that a cyber high school is a good option.
Adult participation at home is necessary for students to be successful in the cyber charter model. At PA Virtual, parents are given the title of a “Learning Coach," emphasizing how important the parent is to student success. Parents, or the primary adult at home, have access to lessons, as well as grades, attendance, schedules and projects. Parents also have access to their child’s teacher by phone and email, not just during their quarterly parent-teacher conference. PA cyber high schools like PA Virtual provide a perfect balance for a family that wants to be deeply involved in their child’s education without having the responsibility of being their child’s primary teacher.
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Children can flourish in a distraction-free environment
Children deal with more distractions than ever while in school. Beyond typical high school politics, high school students have to manage classroom distractions, social media, and longer commutes while they focus on learning. Enrolling in a PA cyber high school allows students to control their learning environment in their own home. In the cyber education model, teachers can control distractions in the online classroom by privately messaging students, allowing group work to happen in breakout rooms. At PA Virtual, all live classes are recorded so students can re-watch a class if they are out sick or simply need a refresher. Online schooling allows students to focus on their education without the distractions found in traditional high schools.
PA Cyber High Schools Offer Socialization Opportunities
One of the biggest fears families have about a child attending a cyber charter school is that they won’t develop socialization skills and will miss out on social opportunities. This is not true at all. Cyber high schools offer socialization opportunities on a regular basis. This usually is organized in the form of field trips like outings to parks, museums, and environmental centers.
It wasn’t long ago that the Washington Post found PA schools to be the most inequitable with funding. When there are funding shortages, district high schools have been known to cut clubs, service learning and social opportunities, things PA cyber schools still offer. Some clubs PA Virtual Charter School offers include National Honor Society, Drama and Media Arts, Gaming Club, Photography Club, Animal Club, and Student Council, among many others. Children can also participate in extracurricular activities, like sports, at their local school district per PA Charter School law. This gives students the opportunity to experience the best of both worlds. PA cyber high school seniors also have their own graduation and senior prom.
Online High Schools Prepare Students for College
The goal for many high school students is to attend college after graduation. Cyber-schooled students are not only prepared for higher education, they have a head start in the ever-changing landscape of learning and the workforce. Online students are used to meeting course deadlines while working independently and learn how to be organized. They have a leg up on technology from their peers - especially helpful in a world where companies are allowing employees to telecommute more and more.
Cyber schools also provide students guidance with finding the right college, setting up campus visits, offering financial aid nights and giving students opportunities to earn scholarships. Students of cyber high schools not only get into colleges and universities, they thrive in them.
Cyber Students Are Successful in Post-Secondary Endeavors
Cyber high school students are not only accepted, but are recruited by top universities. The PA Virtual graduating classes of 2018 and 2019 were offered nearly $2 Million in scholarship funds for post-secondary education. Many of these students go to universities all over the country, including Penn, Howard, Harvard, Texas A&M, Temple, University of the Arts and Florida State, just to name a few. Many alumni go on to be successful after college as well. PA Virtual’s graduates have gone on to careers in IT, journalism, medicine, psychology, education, finance and even own their own businesses. Many graduates will point to their cyber school experience as to why they are so successful post-graduation and why they chose their profession. Sigrid Gulbis, a PA Virtual alumni and current PA Virtual teacher said it best:
“While being educated at PA Virtual was when I first fell in love with education. I saw how much the teachers cared and the impact they were having on my life, and I wanted to have the same impact. This is why I decided to study education and become a teacher."
The world we live in is ever-changing and we need to change with it. Know that you have a choice for your child’s education. If their current school isn’t working for your high school student, it may be time to explore other options such as cyber education. Students enjoy the perks of being a high school student while earning a diploma that universities respect and being prepared for their post-graduation challenges. Contact PA Virtual today to see if this is the right fit for your family.
Interested in learning more about cyber charter schools? Check out the The Ultimate Guide to Attending a Cyber Charter School In PA that will give you information on everything from teachers and curriculum to what happens after graduation.