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.
For the first time in PA Virtual’s history, we have hired one of our alumni as a teacher! Former student Sigrid Gulbis was hired this past summer as a High School Math Academic Support Teacher. Ms. Gulbis entered the first grade during PA Virtual’s second year in business and graduated four years ago. This past May, Gulbis graduated Summa Cum Laude from DeSales University with a bachelor’s of science in math. “It’s interesting to see many teachers who instructed me are still at the school and now are my coworkers,” Gulbis said.
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After deciding she wanted to focus on a competitive tennis career beyond the high school level, Julia Darkey, a former student in the Manheim Township School District, has found a great balance by enrolling at PA Virtual. “In Lancaster County the idea of homeschooling is very common, but not so much cyber school,” said Renee Darkey, Julia’s mother. “We knew another local family through tennis who had a great experience with PA Virtual and knew it was the right place for Julia.” Each year, the media reports stories of cyber students who face challenges when trying to attend their local proms, homecoming or take part in district activities- a practice that is illegal per charter law - because they are not considered “district students.” The Darkey family, however, has never experienced this with MTHS. Coaches and the administration have since gone above and beyond to make sure that Julia is always included in school team activities, despite the fact that she isn’t present in the same classrooms as her teammates during the day.
In the United States alone, roughly 2.7 million young women participate in Girl Scouts and cookie season officially kicked off in January! Last year, Caitlin Wert, now in 10th grade, received the Silver Award from the Girl Scouts of Eastern PA for her efforts in educating her female peers on a range of important matters. Through lessons learned in cyber education, Caitlin was able to confidently and accurately teach these lessons. “Through sessions offered by the Guidance Department at PA Virtual, I have become educated on important topics such as bullying, self-esteem and respect. I incorporated some of what I learned into my "Girl Power" program, especially during the session I held on anti-bullying.”
Another way PA Virtual students are celebrating National School Choice Week (#NSCW16) is through participation in our statewide art contest! All PA Virtual students are invited to submit a photo of one original work of art that shows off their "PA Virtual Pride." After we receive all submissions, winners of the contest will be determined by our own students who will vote on the top three pieces of art. Check back in February to see the winning entries posted here and on the PA Virtual Facebook page.
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! If you'd like to learn more about PA Virtual, click the button below to request more information.