Parent discusses what it means to be part of CCA community
The CCA community allows families from different backgrounds to come together through field trips, clubs and other socialization opportunities.
As a cyber charter school, Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA) welcomes all new families to join our community of thousands of families across Pennsylvania. Without being confined to a standard brick-and-mortar setting, the CCA community connects cyber school students and families from urban areas, rural areas and all other landscapes across the state.
The CCA community goes beyond geographic restrictions, allowing families from different backgrounds, faiths and traditions to come together through field trips, clubs, Family Service Centers, interactions with teachers and more.
For this month’s "We Are CCA" podcast, we interviewed Dawn Stauffer, an experienced learning coach and family mentor in the CCA community.
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“CCA’s really become an addition to our family,” Dawn said. “Our children have been able to make friends with classmates, and some of their teachers even have become part of our family.”
“Mrs. [Andrea] Azzalina has certainly become a part of our family, and that’s all because of CCA,” she said.
“The CCA community is so unique in that we have such a wide variety of families, all with different family makeups, from socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnicities, religions and all other different aspects of diversity that you could even think of,” podcast host Jake Ramsey said. “This allows students and families to be exposed to other backgrounds that they may not have ever encountered before otherwise.”
Dawn’s son, Zayn, has experienced this firsthand. He has become close with another CCA cyber school student with a different religious background, which led to his family getting to work with refugees from that alternative faith background last spring.
“[Zayn] fit right in,” Dawn said. “I really attribute that to the relationships within CCA that allowed him to get out of what might have been his comfort level at one time, and to be very comfortable in that new situation when it came to it.”
What started as a simple chat through webmail soon became a friendship between Zayn and Abdul. They played video games and met up at activity days at the Family Service Center nearby.
Zayn’s relationship with Abdul really began in virtual lessons and in the breakout rooms, Dawn said. She mentioned that, as a family mentor, she encourages families to take advantage of all of the field trips and discussion opportunities in LiveLessons that they can.
Dawn has often heard of field trips being cut at brick-and-mortar schools, whereas CCA hosts more than 500 field trips across the state. Dawn’s family has explored caves, zoos and coal mines on field trips at CCA. Field trips aren’t just opportunities for cyber school students to learn and make new friends. Parents can meet fellow learning coaches and family mentors, too.
“Field trips have always exceeded our expectations going into them,” Dawn said. “We were just at a field trip about two weeks ago and, as a mom, I got to meet other moms and talk about what’s working for our family and the ways we’re still trying to get back into the routine of a new school year, and to have them be able to relate to that gives you a built community among parents as well, and that is so important.”
Outside of field trips, CCA has Community Fun Fests across the state to kick off the school year. Family Service Centers host events throughout the year.
“We went to visit the new Capital Campus Center earlier this year, and as soon as we entered where the event was taking place, Dr. [Reese] Flurie walked right up to us and began talking to us like he always knew us — like we were a part of his family — and that’s exactly how he made us feel, along with the elementary school principal,” Dawn said.
At CCA, the community is more like a family. Teachers, administrators, family mentors, learning coaches and Family Service Center staffers are all there to make sure every family has the support it needs to succeed and flourish within our statewide cyber school family.