What 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!”