PA Virtual Back-to-School Picnics

PA Virtual Back-to-School Picnic

Fall is in the air, and the seasons are changing! PA Virtual celebrated going back to school this September by bringing together hundreds of students over the past few weeks at almost 20 locations statewide.

Celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, PA Virtual Family Support Coordinators are excited for the new school year. While September’s events were all about fun and casual picnics, PA Virtual FSC’s organize monthly events for local students, parents, teachers and staff to get together and socialize. Interactive games and other arts & crafts gave students in attendance the opportunity to get credit for 75 minutes of Language Arts and 75 minutes of PE for the day.

Many times the events are focused around a community service project, such as making Ugly Quilts, or have an educational component such as college tours or trips to local museums and historical sites. PA Virtual FSC’s help students of all ages in their area come together in a positive, safe, and fun learning environment!

At the Montgomery County outing, FSC Heather Schaffer introduced an idea she hopes will spread to other areas of the state – #PAVCSRocks!PA Virtual Rocks!

Ms. Schaffer and the students ventured into the park grounds at the Manderach Memorial Playground in Limerick to collect rocks. After clearing and painting the rocks, students wrote out the designated hashtag for sharing #PAVCSRocks. Students also completed this fun rock painting activity at Everyone’s Playground in Horsham. Students are encouraged to send in pictures to their Family Support Coordinator of their rocks and give details of where they hid them so that we can create a school wide “scavenger hunt”.

What do you do if you find #PAVCSRocks in your neighborhood? Share its location; then move it somewhere new! Share a clue with your classmates to see if they can find it and let it travel the state!

PA Virtual outings aren’t just for students – parents were invited to an information Q&A session to answer any questions they may have about the coming year. The outings also serve as a way for new families to connect with Parent Ambassadors and other families in their area.

More Back-to-School picnics will be held on Friday, September 30th. Check out the locations and all of the great events we have scheduled for October on our Outings page.

 

BlogCTA

Why I Chose PA Virtual- Isabella Uber

 

PA Virtual Senior Isabella UberParents and students choose cyber charter schools for many different reasons but one of the most widely known is flexibility. One student in particular, Isabella Uber, chose PA Virtual for just that reason. After her parents split, they considered both local school districts, and Isabella began to look into cyber school.

After extensive research, she chose PA Virtual four years ago, and hasn’t looked back!

“I love that I don’t have to worry about getting behind academically because of what house I’m in or what parent I am with,” said Isabella. “I can log on from anywhere, get my work done, and still spend quality time with my family.”

Isabella is able to split her time almost equally between her parents’ homes. Without having to shuttle back and forth on pre-picked days, she is able to be more involved in school. She is a member of the school student council, several clubs and recently found time for a new hobby – competing in a beauty pageant.

“My teachers here have always encouraged me to get involved and express myself, and I think that gave me the courage to enter the pageant in the first place,” said Isabella. “I learned so much (competing in the pageant) and it was such a different experience. I was named a finalist, but if I had won, I planned on using the title of Queen as a way to encourage others around me to volunteer and share the message of giving back.”

National America Miss prides itself on being a “purpose driven pageant,” with a focus on community service, communication and growing confidence in their participants.  Winners of individual State Queen Titles represent their state in various ways at local events, but also by focusing on the importance of serving one’s community.

Volunteering through DoSomething.org is the main way that Isabella gives back to her community – even without a crown. Since registering on the site, Isabella has participated in over a dozen campaigns for various causes. She has participated in a variety of campaigns that help on the local and national level, such as cleaning up over 1,000 items of trash from the streets in her neighborhood, or flagging illegal ivory items on Craigslist to stop elephant poaching across the world.

“I never thought I would have such an impact in the world until I started with DoSomething. I like taking a stand for those who may not have the voice to stand up for their beliefs. I love being able to help when I can and DoSomething provides me with those resources. I feel like I have a lot to offer the world and help those who are less fortunate.”

Isabella will be graduating in June, and her future plans involve giving back in a big way – to her country. She is considering entering either the Marines or the National Guard, but as she just began her senior year, there is still plenty of time to make that decision!

 

BlogCTA

The Kitchen is Your Cafeteria

Healthy FoodNational Kids Take over the Kitchen Day is September 13! Cyber school families have an added responsibility that most may not think about – your kitchen is the cafeteria! Day after day of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches can get old, but balancing healthy and cost saving meals can be tough for families. Let your students take over the kitchen with some of these fun meal and snack ideas on September 13 or all year round!

  1. Plan out snacks and lunches ahead of time to eliminate the endless “what’s for lunch?” loop. Use an app like LaLaLunchbox to organize virtual lunchboxes for each student during the week. The app then makes a grocery list based on your lunch plans so you don’t over buy!
  2. Have healthy snacks on hand – stocking up on fresh fruit and vegetables is often less expensive than boxes of other food. If you have a snacker with a sweet tooth, but want to avoid full sized candy bars, mix up this simple Lemon Buddies snack, made with Chex Mix Cereal!
  3. Everyone loves pizza – the beauty of having access to your kitchen and not waiting in line for it means that your students can help you make it! Friday in school cafeterias across the country is traditionally pizza day, why not make Friday in your kitchen Pizza Friday? Change up your normal toppings and check out these 10 Kid-Friendly Pizza Recipes.
  4. Pick a country, any country! How about Japan? Have students research fun facts about Japanese culture, traditional dishes that are served, and find recipes you could try at home. Making your own sushi is a great way to get the whole family involved and learn about different cultures and cuisines!
  5. How do you end a perfect meal? Dessert of course! Yogurt popsicles are a great way for each child to customize their personalized pop with their favorite flavors. This simple patriotic recipe calls for blueberries and strawberries, but the possibilities are endless. What fruits would you chose?

PA Virtual families! If you spend September 13, or any other day celebrating National Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day, share your recipes and photos with us on Facebook!

 

BlogCTA

Logging Daily Attendance- The Key to Academic Success

Attend Today, Achieve Tomorrow

Did you know that nationally, as many as 7.5 million students miss 10 percent of school days in excused and unexcused absences every year? That’s 135 million days of school. As you know, a single missed school day is one a student never gets back. Each time a student misses a day of school, the entire class is affected. Good attendance is important at every grade level. It is important to instill this in children at the elementary level. In our community of partnership, learning and achievement, we work together to make sure all students can reach their academic goals and that begins with daily attendance.

At PA Virtual, we monitor attendance in three ways.

First, our students are required to log into Blackboard every school day, Monday through Friday, to record their daily attendance. We encourage our students to make logging into Blackboard part of their morning routine. Every day at noon, our Family Support Coordinators check attendance. If your child has not logged into Blackboard by noon, we will call and send you an email encouraging you to have your student login for afternoon classes.

Second, if your student is engaged in live, Synchronous classes, their teacher will be monitoring their attendance. Our teachers strive to make every lesson rich and engaging. It is essential to your student’s academic success to be ready for class each day and to participate in these great opportunities.

Finally, our parents help us track our students’ academic hours through the Online School. Students in Kindergarten through 6th grade are required to log 900 total academic hours throughout the course of the school year. Seventh through 12th graders are required to log 990 total academic hours. By tracking your student’s academic hours through the K12 Online School, you help our teachers to know how best to support your student’s academic goals.

We know your student’s academic success is important to you. That’s why we will continue to commit ourselves to helping your student make positive decisions that support their academic goals. The simplest decision your student can make is logging daily attendance.

 

BlogCTA

Back to School Tips and Tricks

School SuppliesFall is fast approaching and we are excited to welcome all new and returning students back to PA Virtual. How can parents help make sure students are as prepared as possible and set up for success this school year? Here are a few tips and tricks!

  1. Establish a workspace and schedule for your student: Cyber school can be flexible, but the most successful students establish a schedule and stick to it. Balancing live classes with homework and community, or extracurricular activities takes time, but you can do it! Designating a space where your student can work free of distractions will also help them focus and get back into school mode.
  2. Get involved: Each month PA Virtual’s Family Support Coordinators host events around the state where PA Virtual families can network and socialize. These events are great for students, but also great for parents who can meet other cyber parents and become a part of an engaging support network. This month, our Back to School picnics will bring families together in over a dozen different counties.
  3. Understand the expectations: Cyber school parents can expect to be very hands on when it comes to their online educational experience. This will of course vary by age, but having a basic understanding of the learning management systems (Blackboard) and programs the school uses (Microsoft Word / PowerPoint / Excel) will go a long way when it comes to helping out. PA Virtual challenges students to become more accountable and work independently, but not without some parent guidance!
  4. Ask for help: New to cyber school? We’ve been there! Our Parent Ambassador Program helps out new families by matching them with veteran Learning Coaches, based on their child’s educational needs, grade level and general geographical location. To request a mentor, just fill out this form and our staff will contact you to see how they can help!
  5. Start your day off with a great breakfast: We always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day for young students, but parents tend to skip out on breakfast. Treat yourself to some fresh fruit with your morning cup of joe to kick start your day.

Parents – we want you to join the conversation! What tips would you give other parents who are getting ready to go back to school? Let us know in the comments below!

 

BlogCTA

Top