Are You #PAVirtualProud?

PA Virtual Pride Art Contest

Join us in our 2nd Annual PA Virtual Pride Art Contest!

School Choice Week is January 22-28. One of the ways PA Virtual celebrates is through our annual art contest! All PA Virtual students are invited to submit a photo of one original (new) artwork that shows off their PA Virtual Pride.

We want to see your creative side! Students can use any medium – paint, charcoal or even digital graphic design to create a new and original work of art. Make sure to include the name of the school somewhere in your piece. The top three submissions from both Grades K-6 and Grades 7-12 will be put to a school wide vote during National School Choice Week which runs from January 22-28. One winner from each group will be featured in PA Virtual Weekly and on our school Facebook page.

National School Choice Week 2017 will be America’s largest-ever celebration of high quality education options for children. The goal of (NSCW) is to raise public awareness of all types of education options for children. These options include traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, online learning, private schools, and homeschooling. At PA Virtual, we are continually engaging our families to create a safe and successful online community across Pennsylvania.

So show your PA Virtual Pride and share your support for school choice! Students have until Sunday, January 22 to complete the entry form – submit your photos today!

 

Day in the Life of a High School Cyber Student

Cyber_High_SchoolWhat does a “typical day” look like for a high school cyber student? We asked to hear from our students, in their own words. Here is ninth grader, Javier Pitre’s honest and comedic narrative of what a “typical” day in school looks like for him.

Javier has won many awards in martial arts and is a member of the Boy Scouts, volunteering regularly in his community. He is a member of the PA Virtual Scholars’ Academy- an application-based program that allows students in excellent academic standing to begin high school early.

“People often ask me what it is like attending cyber school. Most of the days everything is simple, just the way I like it, but then there are other days where there is a ton of work to do and a lot of stress to handle, just like if I went to a traditional school. 

I start every day by waking up and getting ready for school. At 8:00 a.m., my family goes to our work area and turns on our computers. Funny thing is, our work area is actually down in the basement, and the entire basement was repainted and refurnished to look like a normal school. We have school desks, bookshelves, new flooring, and bins where we keep supplies. After we turn the computers on, the school setting transforms, making us no longer feel at home! First, we check all the work we have to do for the day – it’s called our daily plan and we find it on the PA Virtual website. I’m not the only one down there working though; my brother, sister, and uncle all have work to be done, and classes to attend. I know what you’re thinking: “did he just say his uncle goes to school with him?” Well he does, but he’s only about a year older than me so it makes a little more sense. I attend two synchronous classes: one for math, and one for language arts. I do every other subject asynchronously, although there are tons of options for students to personalize their learning experience with more synchronous classes.

When we are working, I will usually joke around and make everyone laugh. One of my favorite parts of the school day is watching the time countdown to lunch. Why do I watch the time, you ask? Because lunch is awesome, that’s why! We get to watch TV, and eat delicious home-cooked food. Most of the time the lunch lady, which is also my mom, will make us something good to eat like burgers or macaroni. Lunch lasts 1 hour; after that, I have to head back to school to complete my work. For my family, this is what going to cyber school is usually like.

One of the things I worried about before I joined PA Virtual was that I was going to be anti-social. I’m sure that I was not the first to think cyber school students are anti-social. Turns out going to school online gives me plenty of opportunities to be social. In fact, I think it’s better than traditional public schools. In an online setting, I was able to develop leadership skills in virtual classrooms, and outside of what most people think counts as “school.” I learned to communicate with kids who are my age, but also ones who are younger and older than me.

The school organizes outings for us where we can go to a place like the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum to learn about how firefighters used to dress, drive, and fight fires. Another great outing we went to was in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday! My family, along with many other kids and parents, came together to play games, do arts and crafts, and just have fun socializing with each other. At our outings, PA Virtual usually ties in some kind of service learning component to help the local communities across the state. At the Dr. Seuss outing, we got to help spread awareness and collect donations for people with blood cancer.

PA Virtual also has extracurricular opportunities. For instance, I am part of the National Junior Honor Society, also known as NJHS. In this organization, we think about fun projects to do that will help those in need. I have been in this school for five years, and I still love it here!”

 

Ring in the New Year with PA Virtual!

Ring in the New Year with PA Virtual

When you sit down to make resolutions this New Year, consider the option of school choice, and see if cyber school is a good fit for your family! This year, you can make a positive change in your child’s education and watch them flourish with PA Virtual. Enroll by January 18 for the new semester!

In 2017, does your family want to make a resolution to…

Give your students a personalized learning experience?

As a K-12 school it is incredibly important that our curriculum meets the needs of every student. Each course offered aligns with the PA Core Standards set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, but allows students to work at their own pace. Students with special needs who may need more time to complete assignments aren’t pressured by bells or rigid schedules of a brick traditional schooling environment.  Advanced students have the ability to work ahead when they are comfortable with the material, join clubs like National Honor Society, and even graduate early through the Scholar’s Program.

Create a safe and nurturing learning environment for your child?

Many parents choose cyber education to help their child escape from an unsafe school environment or bullying. In the safety of their own home, students can focus on school work without the added fear and distractions that bullying can cause.

Make new friends?  

Cyber school is a great way to connect with students and families outside of your neighborhood! Your child will be in a virtual classroom with students from all across Pennsylvania each and every day. Additionally, PA Virtual offers multiple regional outings every month for families such as college tours, service learning projects, and other fun activities like bowling and snow tubing!

Allow your child to pursue their passion in the arts or athletics?

Many students enroll at PA Virtual due to the flexible scheduling that allows them to complete school work on the go and at their own pace. For a student who is competitive athletically, or gifted in the arts, dedicating extra hours of practice to master their craft is important – but so is their education! Cyber school gives students the ability to manage their own time and find a balance that maximizes the amount of time they can spend pursuing their passion.

Is PA Virtual right for you? Find out today!

PA Virtual Family Digs for Fossils

PA Virtual Family Digs for FossilsWhat really happened to the dinosaurs 65 million years ago? One PA Virtual family headed to Rowan University’s Fossil Park earlier this month to find out!

Dinosaur lover and PA Virtual 7th grader Joshua Griffith and his family spent the day at the fossil park learning about the importance of this particular fossil pit and digging into layers of earth that were formed during the Jurassic period. Eventually Josh found a shark tooth, piece of turtle shell, pieces of sponges and a piece of bone. Of course, we know sharks don’t live in New Jersey, but millions of years ago, part of Southern New Jersey was a shallow sea making sea animals fairly common to find among other fossils.

Fossil Park, an extension of Rowan’s School of Earth & Environment has only been open to the public for a little over a year. Under the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, the 65 acre quarry may hold the key to what happened during the mass extinction that eliminated the dinosaurs. Dr. Lacovara was one of the key researches in discovering what may be the largest dinosaur to ever roam the earth – the Dreadnoughtus. It took over four years to transport the remains from where they were found in in Patagonia, Argentina to Philadelphia to be studied.

PA Virtual Family Digs for FossilsA surprise for the Griffith family? Dr. Lacovara was visiting the site and they were able to meet him and discuss his famous TED Talk!

The site has welcomed hundreds of local students in hopes of uncovering fossils and other clues to the past, but dig days are limited to four days each spring and fall. The Griffith’s were part of just 75 people who were able to take part in the dig, which began with an informative presentation and a chance to work side by side with Rowan’s paleontologists.

Want to learn more about Rowan’s Fossil Park and Dr. Lacovara? Check out his recent TED Talk about hunting for dinosaurs!

 

Three Ways to Keep Your Child Engaged During the Holiday Season

Fireplace reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In the cyber setting, we know our Learning Coaches go above and beyond each day to be a part of their child’s educational journey. A PA Virtual, we know that when parents are engaged and supportive of what their child is learning, the child is more likely to succeed.  However, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is enough to distract even the most attentive family. How can you keep students focused as the holidays approach this year?

  1. Spruce up your learning workstation! With the holidays approaching, it is a time when many decorate their homes inside and out. But what will you do with your child’s workspace? By now, your child has decided what their favorite space for school is in the home, but how can you organize or restructure that to give them a more conducive learning environment?
    • Organize an end of semester clean out to declutter papers that have piled up since September
    • Hang twinkle lights to brighten up their personal space
    • Keep an extra pillow or blanket handy and create a cozy reading space as the temperatures drop 
  2. Traveling? The beauty of cyber education is that students can take their virtual classroom anywhere. If you find yourself traveling this holiday season while classes are still in session, you can take the opportunity to share with your extended family some of the benefits of cyber education! However, to ensure student success while traveling do your best to:
    • Secure a strong wifi connection
    • Make sure you know of all upcoming deadlines
    • Even in a house full of family or a hotel – try and find a designated space for school with as few distractions as possible 
  3. Get out of the house! PA Virtual offers socialization events year round for our students in various regions, but during the winter months, we start to see the same faces over and over. These outings, sponsored by our Family Support Coordinators are a fun way to meet new people and sometimes even give back to the community. For a full list of upcoming events in December and January make sure to check out our FSC /Outing Information Main Page. Here you will also find:
    • Helpful parent resources
    • Family Support Coordinator contact information
    • Information on PA Virtual College Tours

Don’t let your holiday spirit make you lose focus! Parents, what do you do to stay active and engaged in your child’s learning experience during the hectic holiday season?

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