By David Taylor and Gail Hawkins Bush
Earlier this year, every school district in Pennsylvania shifted to emergency online learning as part of the fight against a global pandemic.
School districts across the state continue to work tirelessly in helping children in Pennsylvania learn effectively online through fully-virtual or hybrid learning models. However, many families continue to have mixed feelings for these temporary models, leading them to seek out the option of cyber charter schools.
Students from kindergarten through high school have been learning and excelling in public cyber charter schools for almost 20 years. And there is quite a distinction between cyber charters and the emergency online learning that brick-and-mortar schools have been adapting to since the spring.
Cyber charter schools are full-time online schools that are designed to educate virtually, which means teachers, students, and parents connect in ways that don’t look like in-person classrooms simply moved online.
True online learning provides for rich, real-time communication between parents, students, and teachers along with shared experiences in a unified virtual classroom platform. It also strips away the distractions of traditional classrooms that can happen in group settings, such as bullying or students feeling unchallenged.
This allows students to focus on what’s most important: their individualized, quality education.
In Pennsylvania, nearly 8,500 students have chosen full-time online school with Reach Cyber Charter School, a statewide, tuition-free, online public charter school for students in grades K-12.
Reach Cyber Charter School serves a diverse array of students from every corner of the Commonwealth, from gifted students who seek an accelerated track, to competitive athletes and performers, pregnant and parenting students, students with disabilities or compromised immunities, military families who need to relocate often, and others who seek an individualized approach to education and a flexible schedule.
As members of the Reach Cyber Charter School Board of Trustees, we know that full-time online schools are an excellent option for families across Pennsylvania – an option that students deserve perhaps now more than ever.
We are thankful for the Commonwealth’s continued support.
Public funding – which is allocated to every Pennsylvania student, not to a particular school or district – is essential for cyber charter schools to give Pennsylvania families the right to choose the education that is best for their students.
David Taylor and Gail Hawkins Bush are members of the Board of Trustees on the Reach Cyber Charter School.