When the COVID-19 global pandemic hit Pennsylvania in March, public schools were forced to close and took on the unprecedented challenge of shifting school education plans to remote platforms — sort of like building a plane while you’re flying. PA Superintendents, School Board Members, educators, paraprofessionals, and staff all showed that #PASchoolsWork in the face of any challenge.
And while many schools already offered virtual learning options, today more than 90% of Pennsylvania public school districts offer an online learning program for their students. This option keeps students connected to the school district teachers, curriculum, and community, while allowing for a seamless return to school when the time is right.
Many Pennsylvania school district’s COVID-19 reopening plans force parents to make difficult decisions about their child’s education. Some parents are considering cyber charter schools as one option. On this page, you will find the resources you need to help you make the best decision for your child and your community. Be sure to check before you choose!
BEFORE YOU CHOOSE A CYBER CHARTER SCHOOL, HERE ARE SOME QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK.
Does the Cyber Charter have certified teachers?
Up to 25% of the teachers at each cyber charter can be uncertified, and oftentimes teachers are not certified at the appropriate level. Your local school district is required to ensure 100% of teachers are state-certified. Be sure to ask who will teach your child and inquire about his/her certifications.
How many hours of teacher instruction?
Cyber charters frequently use recorded programs that can be re-used in many classes or for students individually. On average, cyber charter schools offer limited live instruction. For example, an average 2nd Grader would receive about 36 minutes of live instruction daily from a cyber charter teacher.
How does your local school district measure up against the Cyber Charters?
PA cyber charters consistently rank as the lowest performing schools in Pennsylvania. Toggle over the map below to see how your district measures up. You can see all cyber charter school performance data on the Future Ready PA Index.
If schools reopen, will it be easy for my child to come back?
Sticking with your local school district’s online option is the easiest way for your child to return when schools re-open. Choosing a cyber charter removes your child from the local school district, while your local school district’s online program offers a seamless transition back into the district’s in-person instructional program – and your child will be with his/her peers and district’s teachers.
Will my kid need me to work with them during the day?
Cyber charter schools generally require parents to serve as learning coaches. On average, parents of students in grades k-5 are expected to serve as learning coaches for approximately five hours a day and up to 25 hours per week.
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Compare your school district’s performance ratings.
Click around to these sites to learn more.
PA schools are facing enormous challenges. COVID-19 requires additional health & safety protocols, virtual learning resources, and myriad unanticipated expenses — all requiring additional resources for school districts across PA that are already struggling with chronic budget shortfalls. JOIN PA Schools Work to help us advocate for adequate and equitable funding.