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Getting Ready for the New School Year in Pennsylvania

Getting Ready for the New School Year in Pennsylvania

It seems almost like the summer was gone in an instance. And after the year that we had in 2020, it’s understandable that you’re worried about what will happen during the 2021 school year. As a parent, you might be trying to prepare for almost any situation when it comes to getting ready for the new school year in Pennsylvania. But try not to stress yourself out too much. We’re all in this together, trying to figure everything out.

How Should We be Getting Ready for the New School Year in Pennsylvania?

According to government officials, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Department of Health are encouraging children who are age 16 or older to get the vaccine. President Biden is asking for school districts to provide pop-up vaccination clinics. But what are children under the age of 16 supposed to do? Is it safe for younger children to return to school this year? It’s still recommended that children who are age two or older and aren’t vaccinated should wear masks when they are indoors. And on top of that, individual schools may instill their own rules involving masks and face coverings. Who knows what will happen after the school year has begun? But you can find resources for schools during COVID-19 here.

On top of the regular transition from the summer to the school year, we’re still dealing with uncertainty due to COVID. During all of this mayhem, how can we get children to focus on their schoolwork and what they need to do this year? We put together some tips for getting ready for the new school year in Pennsylvania.

  1. Talk to Your Child about What’s Happening
  2. Make Preparing for School a Positive Experience
  3. Touch Base with the School and Your Child’s New Teacher
  4. Get Yourself Organized
  5. Work Out a Schedule
Getting ready for the new school year in Pennsylvania

Talk to Your Child about What’s Happening

Take some time to sit down with your child and talk to them about the upcoming year. You can discuss how the school year is going to be as well as what your son or daughter’s goals and expectations are. They may be excited about a certain class or teacher or a sports club or other after-school activity. Additionally, you can discuss things that your child is worried about. That may be COVID-related. It might just be entering a new grade or a new school. Or, maybe it’s dealing with bullies or even a teacher that’s strict. However the conversation goes, it may benefit your child just to start thinking about school and get some of their concerns out in the air. Use this as an opportunity to acknowledge that you and your child may both have some anxieties or concerns.

Make Preparing for School a Positive Experience

Going out and buying some school supplies and clothing doesn’t have to be a chore. You can make it into a fun, positive experience. Organizing your trip ahead of time and getting your child involved can make shopping for school supplies and clothes into a better experience. Maybe you get some ice cream or go see a movie after the trip. Or, maybe you plan a little back-to-school celebration. It doesn’t have to be something big. There are a lot of distractions in everyday life. Being there and prioritizing your child means a lot.

Touch Base with the School and Your Child’s New Teacher

If any of your contact information has been updated or changed over the summer, make sure you let your child’s school know about it. It’s important to be able to communicate with the school. Plus, they’ll have your information in case of any updates or changes. Connecting with your child’s new teacher can also be beneficial. Not only are you getting to know them a little bit. Additionally, they’re learning more about you and your family as well as your child’s specific needs.

Get Yourself Organized

If your child is getting ready for the new school year in Pennsylvania, you’ll have to make sure that you’re prepared too. There’s a lot that goes into sending a child to school. You have to make sure your child has their lunch, backpack, homework, and more. Are they taking the bus, or do they need a ride? Are there any after-school activities scheduled for today? Your child may feel less overwhelmed just because you’re organized and well prepared.

Work Out a Schedule

Diving right into a hecticHow Should We be Getting Ready for the New School Year in Pennsylvania school schedule after a relaxing summer can be tough. You can try easing your child back into school by getting back on their school sleep schedule, doing some summer reading, or playing some family board games, like Monopoly or Scrabble. Maybe you can put together a couple of fun homework assignments your child will enjoy.

And if homework completion is something that your child has some trouble with, planning out a homework schedule can be helpful. Some children do better with some downtime when they get home before they start on their homework. If you allow a bit of free time, it could be helpful. And talk to your child’s teacher about how much homework they’re assigning and how long it should take. You can help schedule out your child’s day. A calendar station in a certain area of your home can also be helpful. A designated study area can also be helpful, especially if you have more than one child.

Preparing for the new school year for K-12 students

The Department of Education put together a guide for getting back to in-person learning. But there are other school options out there if you don’t feel ready for that yet. There are different charter and private schools that are available. And there are online charter schools, like PA Virtual, Agora, PA Cyber, ASPIRA, Esperanza, Insight, and Commonwealth Charter. If you’re looking to compare and contrast the best cyber schools in Pennsylvania, we are here to help you with our PA cyber school list. We want to help parents and students who are getting ready for the new school year in Pennsylvania.

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Reasons to Join Online School

Reasons to Join Online School

With everything that’s been going on with schools during the pandemic that past couple of years, you may be considering options outside of the classic neighborhood brick-and-mortar school. Although cyber school may seem a bit different than the school that you went to growing up, there are many reasons to join online school. In this article, we will take you through some of the top reasons to join online school.

Top Reasons to Join Online School

  • Setting Your Own School Schedule
  • Flexibility
  • Fewer Distractions from Learning
  • Find a School that can Meet Specific Needs
  • More Time with Teachers
  • Parental Involvement
Top reasons to join online school

Setting Your Own School Schedule

Many children have busy schedules. They might have an after-school job. Or, maybe they play sports, play an instrument in band, participate in a club, volunteer after school, or have a younger sibling they have to look after. Sometimes it can be nice having a schedule that is set. But being in school every day for a solid six hours straight plus transportation time can be a lot. If your child has a doctor’s appointment or a family matter that comes up, that means that they’re missing school and have to find a way to catch up. That is, unless they go to a PA cyber school that gives them the ability to set their own school schedule.

Letting your child sleep in and start school a little later may seem counterproductive if you’re trying to prepare them for the 9 to 5 workday they’ll face in adulthood. But full-time 9 to 5 jobs aren’t as abundant as they used to be. Many people work remotely nowadays, and the freelance work market has really exploded over the past few years. Therefore, having a flexible school schedule may help prepare your child for the working world of the future. Depending on your child’s age, they may not be getting enough sleep. If they’re allowed to sleep more, they’ll be well-rested for school and more attentive and focused.

Flexibility

Flexibility is one of the topFlexible online school schedules reasons to join online school. In the traditional school, there is a rigid schedule that is broken up by a series of bells throughout the day. Is there any other part of your child’s life when they’ll have to adhere to a bell schedule like this? Most likely not.

Children are given a little more responsibility when they’re able to move from one class to another at their own pace. Additionally, this allows them to spend more time on the subjects they have a harder time with. Maybe your child is a math whizz that struggles a bit with history lessons. If an online school offers a flexible schedule with asynchronous learning, your child will be allowed to put some more time and effort into history lessons and advance in that subject. Plus, they won’t have to worry about falling behind or getting too far ahead of the other students in their class. They can work at their own pace.

Fewer Distractions from Learning

There are a lot of different distractions in the brick-and-mortar classroom. It might be gossip, social anxiety, or a school bully. Or, maybe it’s just someone who keeps whispering to their friend in the corner of the room. It could even be the school announcements or hallway bell that becomes a distraction from learning. When you set up a virtual classroom at home, your child won’t have to deal with any of this. This way, they can focus in on their studies.

On the other hand, you might be worried about socialization opportunities in online school. Some of the top PA cyber schools actually offer a lot of different opportunities for children to socialize. It might be a school club, a class field trip, or an event in the community.

Find a School that can Meet Specific Needs

Nowadays, there are a lot of different options for schooling. You can look outside of the neighborhood schoolhouse to find a school that aligns with your child’s needs and interests. Traditional public schools receive government funding, so there are stricter rules, regulations, and curriculums that they have to follow. Most likely, they’ll focus on the core subjects and maybe have a couple of other offerings. Meanwhile, a private school or online charter has a little more flexibility, allowing them to offer more courses and meet specific needs.

Maybe your child has an IEP that can be addressed better at another school they can attend online. And if your child has an interest in the arts, they can join a performing arts school. If your gifted child is bored in the classroom, maybe they can join an advanced program at another school. And maybe your child has an interest in tech. Online education allows students to start developing their technical skills at an earlier age than many adults did. On the other hand, you may be worried about the amount of screen time that online learning requires. Many of the best cyber schools give students breaks from screen time. That may include hands-on assignments or just a break from classes to get out in the fresh air.

Reasons to Join Online School

More Time with Teachers

In a full physical classroom, students may struggle to get one-on-one time with their teacher. They have to compete with students that are louder or are maybe just sitting in the front row of class. Online learning levels the playing field here. Students can discuss assignments in an online forum or chat with their teacher directly whenever they need to. Meanwhile, in a physical school, you get a teacher for a 45-minute period, and then they’re gone for the rest of the day, teaching their other classes.

Parental Involvement

Another reason to have your child join online school is to get more involved yourself. You might become a learning coach for your child, or maybe you’ll just be there to help out with assignments or offer encouragement. Whatever the case is, you’ll have a better sense of what your child is learning in school. We hope that this list of reasons to join online school is helpful in your decision process.

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Public Vs Private K-12 Schools

Public Vs Private K-12 Schools

If you have a young child that will be heading to school next year, or you’re thinking about exploring some different educational options — you may be weighing the pros and cons of public vs private K-12 schools. How do they compare to each other? Is one of them better than the other? What kind of school is right for my child? Here, we will cover some of the main differences between private and public schools. This will help you in your journey to find the best school for your child’s needs.

Public Vs Private K-12 Schools Comparison

School Enrollment and Admissions

Public schools are mandated by law to accept all children. If you’re enrolling your child in your neighborhood school, you’ll probably just have to fill out a few forms and show proof of your address being within their district. If you decide to choose a different public school, it can be a little more complicated. Depending on where you’re enrolling, you may have to enter a lottery to gain admission. Or, admission may be based on student GPAs.

Private schools can be more selective than public schools. They don’t have to accept everyone, so their application process may be a bit more in-depth. And if it’s a performing arts school, your child may even have to do an audition.

Public vs private K-12 schools

Public Vs Private School Teachers

Frequently, newer teachers are found in private schools. Meanwhile, more experienced teachers look for jobs in public schools because these teaching jobs usually come with better pay. Also, all public school teachers are usually state certified or at least working towards their teaching certificate. Many public school teachers even have graduate degrees. Private school teachers may not be required to get certification as long as they have expertise and a degree in the subject they teach in school.

The Cost of Public Vs Private Schools

One of the main differences between public vs private K-12 schools is the cost of them. For the most part, the cost of public schools are covered by federal, local, and state taxes. Meanwhile, private schools have to fund themselves through fundraising efforts, grants, and tuition. And they can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $30,000. But there are private schools that have tuition assistance and monthly payment plans.

Class Sizes

Generally speaking, private schools usually are smaller schools that have smaller classes than public schools. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, back in 2015, on average, private schools had 166 students while public schools had 526 students. As students advance into public middle school and high school, class sizes usually get bigger.

School Transportation

Public schools have to provide bus transportation to all students in the school’s designated residential area. Depending on what private school you’re looking at, they may or may not provide transportation.

Public vs private school curriculum

School Curriculum

When it comes to school curriculums, public schools usually have strict guidelines, regulations, and budgets they have to stick to. So, they’re more likely to focus in on the core subjects than private schools are. Because they don’t receive any tax revenues, private schools have a bit more flexibility. If your child has an interest in art, acting, or music — a private school might be the right fit for them. Some private schools choose to be highly specialized in certain areas. And some private schools have religious associations. It’s all about finding a school that’s right for your family. 

Another Option to Consider

But when you’re choosing a school, don’t forget about magnet schools, online schools, and charter schools. You may even find that some of the best cyber schools in PA offer the benefits of private and public schools without their downsides. If it is an online charter school, that means that they provide tuition-free education. The school will have to adhere to the same testing, but they won’t have to stick to a physical public school curriculum. And your child will get some flexibility in their schedule and learning style, administered by a top-quality teacher. With cyber school, you’ll never have to worry about school transportation again. That means there will be less time driving around every day and more time learning. It’s easier for a child to fit school into a busy schedule filled with sports, activities, music lessons, doctor’s appointments, etc. In this article, we discuss some of the top reasons to join online school.

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Online Vs. Charter School

Online Vs. Charter School

An important decision that parents must make is how to educate their child. We want to find the best method for our children. But nowadays, there are a lot of different options outside of the standard public education. Therefore, you may be looking at the pros and cons of using a private school and comparing them with an online vs. charter school. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple chart or graph that compares all of the options for you. But we’ve put together some of the key differences between online and charter schools for you here.

Online Vs. Charter School in PA

Online vs charter school

Defining a Charter School

A charter school is a type of public school that is a school of choice. Some charter schools are very comprehensive, offering a full curriculum. Meanwhile, other charter schools focus in on teaching certain subjects. They might focus on the arts, foreign languages, or science and math.

These schools are publicly funded. But they are exempt from some of the state and local regulations, and there’s more flexibility in how the school is run and managed. The school must meet certain educational objectives in order to have their charter.

Defining an Online School

An online or virtual school teaches students either entirely online or mostly online. These kids use technology and an internet connection to take live classes or watch videos that their teachers made for them. If your child has been dealing with school safety issues (like bullies and peer pressure), a virtual education might be beneficial for him or her. You can create a safe in-home environment for your child to learn and develop inside of. If you’re considering online vs. charter school, here are some of the best cyber schools in PA.

School work

Defining an Alternative School

This type of school uses some sort of nontraditional methods and curriculum. Alternative schools are meant to help students who have advanced skills or educational, medical, psychological, or behavioral needs that can’t be addressed in the normal school environment. Similar to a charter school, alternative schools have some flexibility with the way the administration runs the school. Therefore, they can offer different educational programs.

Choosing Between Online Vs. Charter School in PA

If you found your way here, you may be asking yourself, “What type of school is best for my child?” Finding just the right school for your child is an important decision that can affect how well they do in school and beyond. But once you go through the options and find the best school for your child’s needs, it can help give you peace of mind.

We hope that this article was helpful for you when comparing online vs. charter school. Additionally, you can learn more about public and private schools here. Check out our blog for more articles and information.

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Top PA Cyber Schools

Top PA Cyber Schools

There are many different reasons to have your child enroll in an online school. If you’re thinking about online education this coming semester, you’re probably researching the top PA cyber schools. We are here to help make that process a little easier for you. You can learn more about us here. If you’ve found your way to this page, you may be wondering how to find a good cyber school. Here are some things you should consider when choosing a school. This is an important decision to make, so it’s best to look into each school’s offerings.

Identifying the Top PA Cyber Schools

What is the Curriculum Like?

You want to find a high-ranking school with the top certified educators that can help your child do their absolute best in school. Some schools will let you see samples of the curriculum before you make your decision. But you want to find one that has a high educational performance rating. Some schools offer live synchronous classes, and others have asynchronous classes (recorded video lectures). Meanwhile, there are other schools that use a combination of both. Depending on the specific learning style of your child, one method may be better for him or her. Flexibility within the school schedule is one of the benefits of cyber school.

Top PA Cyber Schools

What are My Responsibilities as a Parent?

Does the school provide the technology your child needs for cyber learning, or do you have to spend money to acquire it? You’ll want to find a school that invests in the best technology for online education. Additionally, how involved are you as a parent? Are you just there to supervise, or are you more active in your child’s education?

What Services Does the School Provide?

As many people learned in the spring of 2020, learning online is a lot different than education in a brick-and-mortar school. It will take your child a bit of time to become accustomed to their new school environment at home. The top PA cyber schools offer a variety of support services for their students.

Socialization opportunities

Will There be Opportunities for Socialization?

When they’re considering cyber school, a lot of parents are concerned with socialization opportunities. Does the school offer field trips, clubs, after-school activities, dances, graduation ceremonies, etc? You don’t want your child to miss out on their chance to meet new friends and gain socialization skills. This is also an important part of the educational experience.

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Is it Safe to Go Back to School?

Is it Safe to Go Back to School?

In America, it seems like we’re getting new COVID-19 news each day. U.S. government leaders have had a tough time enforcing the rules of social gatherings and social distancing. Some states have lifted their lockdowns. Meanwhile, the number of Coronavirus cases and deaths increase in other states. With all of this still going on, parents are left wondering — is it safe to go back to school? Parents want their kids to get the best possible education while also having great experiences they’ll remember all of their lives. But is it really safe to reopen schools?

Is it Safe to Go Back to School

Is it Too Soon to Reopen Schools?

The CDC is supporting the idea of reopening schools in the fall, but they have received some backlash from medical and educational professionals. Studies are still inconclusive at this point, but it seems that children may not be as much at risk as older adults. And younger children may not carry and spread the virus as easily. However, teens are still able to carry the disease and spread it to their family members. Once one student gets COVID-19, it’s likely that he or she will pass it to their friends. That’s why it’s important for kids to practice social distancing, wear masks, and wash their hands frequently. Plus, teachers, faculty, staff members, coaches, and bus drivers are also at risk of COVID-19. Here are some COVID-19 resources for schools.

Reopening Schools

There’s a lot that we have to consider about opening up schools. School officials need to look at classroom sizes, ventilation within school buildings, population density, shared equipment, high-contact areas, local amounts of COVID-19 cases, and means of transportation. Even if kids are able to sit in their assigned seat with a mask on all school day, they need to get up at some point. They have to be able to eat their lunch and use the bathroom.

It’s also important to note that physical schools offer more than just an education. In addition to the STEM subjects, children gain friendships and emotional skills. Also, students have access to support programs, internet usage, and healthy meals when they’re at school.

The new year is upon us, and we still don’t really know what’s going to happen. Some schools are talking about using distance learning. Meanwhile, other schools are considering hybrid schedules. Students will spend some days in school and other days at home doing virtual learning. And then there are other schools that want to give parents a choice of sending their child to school or keeping them home. You may not think that you have a choice in this matter, based on the state or school district you live in. But that’s not the case. You can still enroll your child in a cyber school.

Cyber Schools and the Coronavirus

With very little warning, brick-and-mortar schools were forced to provide remote learning. While your local school may not have much experience with online learning, virtual charter schools have years of experience with it. Plus, several online schools are already set up to provide learning support services and other resources and technology for their students. A lot of parents are wondering — is cyber school a good choice during the pandemic? If you’re asking yourself, “Is it safe to go back to school?” virtual education might be the right option for your family. At this point, at least, it seems to be a safer educational option. Here are some tips for picking one of the top online schools.

Cyber schools and coronavirus