One of the major myths about home-based public charter school education is that children will not have age-appropriate, social interaction opportunities. The Family Support and Student Services Department offers an array of socialization events and outings for our currently enrolled families, prospective families, staff and other members of the PA Virtual community throughout the year.
FAMILY SUPPORT COORDINATOR OUTINGS
Three outings are hosted per month by each Family Support Coordinator (FSC) across the state of Pennsylvania. That’s 39 outings per month! The natures of these outings vary, but include community service days, social and educational outings. Some examples of recent outings include:
- Theater events (i.e. ballets, plays)
- Environmental studies
- Roller and Ice Skating Rinks
- Community or regional attractions
- Local Zoos
- State and local parks
- Local Athletic Events
- Educational events partnering with teachers to highlight curriculum areas
FSC COMMUNITY SERVICE OUTREACH
The FSCs involve families in service learning projects within their local communities. Examples of some of those projects include:
- “Koats for Kids” Program: A parent-led and coordinated service learning activity, with the support of the FSC. Gently worn coats, new hats, scarves and gloves are collected and distributed to children and adults in need.
- Jump for Heart: An FSC coordinated and executed activity in collaboration with the American Heart Association.
- Make A Wish Foundation: FSC’s host several special winter service learning projects. All donations received at these special service learning projects go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Literature Experience Days are offered as a partnership between our Co-Curricular and Collaborative Learning Program and our Family Support Coordinators. These interactive, face-to-face events are an opportunity for students to gather together and participate in collaborative activities based around a novel.
Every year, PA Virtual holds three open house Discovery Days events across the state of Pennsylvania. Discovery Days is an opportunity for parents, students and staff to come together for a day full of fun educational events. Set up almost like a trade show, our staff members are assigned to a booth and create activities based around a central theme. Families visit with teachers, participate in educational-based games and activities, and interact with other PA Virtual families and staff. In addition to the booths, Discovery Days has other ways to engage our students. Each year we have a talent show, art show, science fair, and our SOAR program has its LEGO® Robotic creations on display. Our high school students can socialize with peers and also meet with counselors to begin planning their next year’s schedule.
SCHOOL WIDE SERVICE LEARNING PROJECTS
In addition to outings, our Director of Community Relations works with our parents and students to participate in school-wide community-based service learning projects. Below is a list of the most frequent and successful examples.
- Math-a-thon: In collaboration with St Jude Children’s Research Hospital: PA Virtual raised more than $50,000 to aid in research and hospitalization for children with catastrophic illnesses.
- PA Virtual Fights Hunger, Feeds Families: Continuous collection of non-perishable food items at various PA Virtual events and activities. The collected items were delivered to regionally based food banks to help local families.
- Read-a-thon/Zimbabwe Education Fund: This service learning project focused on reading which partners PA Virtual with the Zimbabwe Education Fund to support the children in Zimbabwe by providing resources to improve their education experience and enrich their prospects for the future.
PA Virtual offers an extensive amount of social opportunities for our families. In fact, most of our students find their social lives are just as enriching as their educational lives. The “social scene” is alive and vibrant at PA Virtual!