Archive for the ‘Media Advisory’ Category

2016 MLK Day of Service at Cyber School

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Service Learning is an important aspect of community life at PA Virtual. The mission of the Student Services Department is to provide PA Virtual students and families with an atmosphere that supports the needs of self and family and encourages a spirit of leadership through community outreach. 

In January 2016, millions will come together to volunteer and honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, who never stopped asking the question, “What are you doing for others?”

On January 22nd, the PA Virtual (as a cyber school community) will honor the MLK Day of Service by working together to fulfill Dr. King’s vision for a better America – it’s a day “on” instead of a day off. PA Virtual will be providing school-wide volunteer opportunities across the state.

PA Virtual students will be volunteering at the:

In recognition of the national MLK Day of Service, PA Virtual would also like to encourage everyone to make Monday, January 18th, “A Day On! Not a Day Off”. Please take some time on January 18th to celebrate the contributions and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by performing a service related activity in your area such as:

You can find other volunteer opportunities on January 18th on the MLK Day of Service website. Roll up your sleeves and find a service related activity in your local community on the 18th!

Feel free to share your plans and pictures about how you are spending “A Day On! Not a Day Off!”

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Cyber-charters are “schools that teach,”

Gov. Wolf: Maurice Flurie, Joanne Barnett

and Patricia Rossetti

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By Maurice Flurie, Joanne Barnett and
Patricia Rossetti

As educators of schools that teach more than 36,000 students, we welcome reforming Pennsylvania’s charter school law.

We are, however, extremely disappointed that the needs of students and opinions of parents are seemingly being ignored in the current political debate.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education  has increased its oversight of public cyber charter schools over the past three years.

The accountability measures of House Bill 530, recently passed in the House and currently residing in the Senate, will only improve those efforts. These changes are welcomed by the CEOs of all 14 public cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania.

As additional accountability measures are discussed, it is important for taxpayers and lawmakers to remember that charter and cyber charter schools serve a critical role in the educational landscape of Pennsylvania.

For many families, these schools of choice are the only avenue for an acceptable public education.

Cyber charter schools are “schools that teach,” and 10s of thousands of parents want us to teach their children.

These students attended traditional public schools and it did not work for them. The data shows the largest concentration of students who attend public cyber charter schools are in grades nine through 12 and frequently arrive performing well below grade level.

However, academics are not the only reason a parent chooses a cyber charter education

Many times, parents choose public cyber charter schools because their student is being bullied, or because they may have a specific medical need that prevents the student from succeeding in a traditional classroom.

Either way, it is clear that parents do not choose to enroll their student at a public cyber charter school because something is right at their traditional school, but rather because something is wrong.

It would be wrong to take that choice away from a parent or force them back into an option that previously did not work for their student’s unique needs.

The strengths in public cyber charter schools reside in students’ “academic growth” and graduation rates. This is due to intense remediation and support mechanisms put in place after assessments are taken shortly after enrollment.

Public cyber charter schools are very open and transparent about their fiscal operations and must file annual reports and audits, just like traditional schools. On average, public cyber charter schools spend just 1.5 percent of their total budget on statewide marketing and any advocacy efforts.

This is a mere fraction of the amount used to support the lobbying efforts of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA),  which draws dues directly from teachers’ taxpayer-­funded salaries to influence election efforts and policy decisions.

In 2014, PSEA spent a reported $3.6 million in political activities and lobbying, with additional spending of a reported $2.7 million from their Political Action Committee (PSEA­PACE). That equates to $6.3 million in 2014 political spending alone.

Additionally, it is clear that the state funding formula needs to be addressed across the board – this includes traditional schools, as well as public charter and cyber charter schools.

The funding commission that would be created under House Bill 530 is welcomed by the public cyber charter school community. However, we do not support the arbitrary cuts in Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed budget nor its comparison to online programs offered by Intermediate Units.

Charter school reform is long overdue. That is why we remain hopeful that many of the provisions of legislation sponsored by Rep. Mike Reese, R-Somerset, will lead to necessary updates to the Charter School Law to provide for increased transparency and accountability measures. Such accountability, we might add, is not and has never been discussed for traditional public schools and it should be.

Public cyber charter schools are “schools that teach,” and tens of thousands of parents want us to continue teaching their children.

Maurice Flurie is the CEO of Commonwealth Connections Academy
Dr. Joanne Barnett is the CEO of PA Virtual Charter School

Patricia Rossetti is the CEO of PA Distance Learning Charter School.

PA Virtual Uses Lynda.com

LyndadotcomLogoPA Virtual Charter School students, teachers and staff are introduced to a new friend and tutor — Lynda.com. PA Virtual can now provide its students and staff with answers and solutions to virtually any question or problem using technology and software programs in their classrooms and school work.

Want to become a master of classroom technology? Trying to figure out how to edit videos? Want to learn graphic design? Need to create a spreadsheet or other software-based document? Always wanted to build your own website but didn’t know where to start? Or maybe it is time to sharpen existing skills?

Lynda.com has a searchable database of more than 6,000 professionally-produced training courses and more than 135,000 individual informational video organized by topic. That’s a whole lot of know-how to explore.The videos are available through a subscription service paid by PA Virtual and is being offered for free to all of their students, teachers and staff. Subject areas include computer programming, web development, graphic design, photography, business, education, 3D design, animation, video, audio and music.

It is just one more benefit of attending and working at PA Virtual Charter School!

ViewDocument_IconRead more about in in this press release or take an exploratory tour through a promotional video from Lynda.com.

 

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