Archive for the ‘Insider Perspectives’ Category

Why I Chose PA Virtual: The Wert Family

Philadelphia, PA

Why_Choose_PAVirtal_Caitlin_WertIn 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.”

After brainstorming about potential projects, Caitlin concluded that what she was most passionate about was helping those closest to her—her female peers. She contacted her local library about conducting a series of lessons that would be aimed at educating girls her age and slightly younger, and was immediately granted permission.

“She wanted to give girls a place where they could come and express themselves safely,” said Cindy Wert, Caitlin’s mother, “she said that if she could make an impact on just one girl she’d be satisfied, but she ended up doing so much more.”.

Each of the 8 weekly lessons focused on a theme. The themes were Self-Esteem, Anti-Bullying, Friendship, Problem Solving, Respect, Confidence, Cooperation and Love Your Planet. By the end of the series, Wert had taught a total of 40 girls. She credits this success to the leadership abilities she obtained through both Girl Scouts and her online education.

“Not only have I learned leadership skills through Girl Scouts, but being a student at PA Virtual has definitely had an influence on my leadership abilities. I would say in 5th or 6th grade, I really started to come out of my shell in my classes. Girl Scouts and PA Virtual have both been a factor in my leadership and service to others.”

Caitlin has moved on to the next level of Girl Scouts and will be working toward her Gold Award this summer.

How can you help your child achieve academic success? Click below for more information on how you can enroll your child at PA Virtual today!


PA Virtual Pride Art Contest Winners


PA Virtual students are celebrated National School Choice Week (#NSCW16) by participating in our statewide art contest! All PA Virtual students were invited to submit a photo of one original work of art that shows off their “PA Virtual Pride.”

Thank you to everyone who submitted artwork and supported the contest by voting! Over 500 members of our community voted for their favorites. Here are our winners!

PA_Virtual_Art_Contest_Tianna_E_GrK      PA_Virtual_Art_Contest_Robert_P_Grade9


National School Choice Week Art Contest


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.

Throughout the year, cyber schools can bring students together with online activities like this no matter where they live. Our family support coordinators also schedule regional events so students can meet other cyber students in their local area. Cyber school students also constantly interact with one another using the various online platforms.

NSCW_Logo_HorizontalDid you know? Yellow is the official color of National School Choice Week. According to popular color theory, yellow (the color of sunshine) is associated with joy, happiness, and intelligence.

Feel free to share your thoughts, plans and pictures here, on social media, or through the blog about National School Choice Week!


PA Virtual’s Art of Autumn


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!


Why I Chose PA Virtual: The Jerome Family

Pittsburgh, PA

Large group of people with their thumbs up.Jennifer Jerome had wanted her son Austin to attend a traditional brick-and-mortar public school at least through elementary school, but by second grade it was apparent PA Virtual Charter School would be a better option for him. Because he is autistic, Austin struggled to pay attention in a traditional classroom.

“I would actually volunteer in the school just to be able to observe him in class,” Mrs. Jerome said. “He wasn’t paying attention to the teacher. He would watch what the other 27 students in his class were doing to make sure they were doing their school work first. He wasn’t really learning.”

She and her husband, Donald Jerome, considered sending him to a different school specifically for students with autism, but the school could not guarantee he would be in a classroom with other higher functioning students with autism. The most viable option seemed to be to enroll him in cyber school with his stepsister Ashlie Stevens, who started at PA Virtual in sixth grade. Ashlie is now a sophomore at PA Virtual.

At the time Austin transferred to PA Virtual, he was in danger of being held back at his traditional school – performing far beyond what was expected of students his age. Almost four years later, Austin has begun sixth grade and is now working at grade level. Before deciding on PA Virtual for Ashlie, Mrs. Jerome researched at least four other cyber schools.

Ashlie and Austin both enjoy attending PA Virtual and are doing well in their classes, but the cyber school experience has especially benefited Austin.“I thought it was going to be this huge battle to get him to participate, but once he got started he loved it,” Mrs. Jerome said. “In the elementary school, he would never raise his hand. At PA Virtual, he clicks away on his computer mouse and is fully engaged in his online classes.”

In addition to his academic achievement, another transformation occurred in his behavior. Austin used to come home from school and have what Mrs. Jerome described as “meltdowns,” where he would lay on the floor kicking and screaming and banging his head.

Mrs. Jerome believes cyber schools can be a better option for children with autism and other learning disorders that make it difficult for children to focus on learning in a physical classroom. PA Virtual provides Austin with a distraction-free, online classroom environment. She also learned techniques to help Austin stay focused on his school work, which seems to be easier for him as an autistic student in a cyber school environment.

Although she had hoped Austin would have the opportunity to socialize with other children all the way through elementary school as Ashlie did, both children participate in an after-school program affiliated with the Boys and Girls Club of America at the Sara Heinz House in Pittsburgh. Austin also interacts with other children who participate in the Lunch Bunch, a group of PA Virtual students who meet online through the school to socialize while eating their lunch at home and participate in supervised games and activities.

“All I wanted is for them to learn, and my kids are learning at PA Virtual without having to worry about fitting in or being bullied,” Mrs. Jerome said. “I know they are learning more at PA Virtual than they would be if they attended the public schools in our neighborhood.”

For information about enrolling in PA Virtual Charter School call toll free at 866-728-2751 or email