How Cyber School Works at CCA
CCA believes in partnering with the entire family to help your child succeed.
For more information, we have answered common questions about online education and parent responsibilities in a public cyber charter school environment.
Families who seek an alternative educational experience in an online school often have questions, such as:
- What is cyber school?
- How does cyber school work?
- How many hours a day will my child spend on the computer?
- How will teachers gauge my child’s understanding of the material?
With CCA’s emphasis on family involvement, you will never have to wonder about the answers to these questions.
We recognize parents know what’s best for their children, so we approach each student’s education as a family centered effort by engaging students, parents and teachers throughout the learning process.
How Is Cyber School Different From Traditional School?
Pennsylvania public cyber charter schools are authorized and overseen by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Public cyber charter schools must be operated as nonprofit, public entities. They are independently run but funded with public money from the school districts in which their students reside.
Cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania are public schools. This means that a diploma earned at CCA is a public school diploma, just like you would earn at a traditional public school.
Otherwise, public cyber charter schools break the traditional education mold. No longer must students sit in a room together to be taught the same thing at the same time. At CCA, we meet students where they are, and they access their online lessons when and where they choose.
It’s this customized education that makes CCA the public cyber charter school of choice. We involve the family in determining a student’s interests, skills and educational needs, and we customize a suitable learning plan. If a student is advanced in one subject but needs help in another, our teachers provide extra support and advanced learning.
This flexibility is a key benefit to enrolling in a public cyber charter school. Students can take advantage of CCA’s live, online classroom sessions to interact in real time with their teachers and classmates. If their schedule doesn’t permit live viewing, public cyber charter school students can catch up with their online lessons at a more convenient time.
CCA’s customized education allows students to learn when and where they choose. This is how school should work.
What Is Cyber Charter School Like at CCA?
One of the biggest misconceptions about online schooling is that students will spend hours in front of a computer screen. This is not true at CCA.
Our students receive a comprehensive online education through the use of live classroom sessions, recorded lessons, workbook projects, career-readiness education and other learning opportunities.
We recognize that students enrolling in cyber school come to us with varying degrees of academic ability and interests, so we offer tutoring sessions for students who need extra help, accelerated courses for those who want to work ahead, and customized plans for our students with special education needs and English learners.
How Parents Get Involved in Online Learning
At CCA, the entire family is involved in the educational process. As a parent/guardian of a public cyber charter school student, you will serve as the learning coach, working closely with your child’s teachers to develop a customized education plan, track progress and monitor workload.
There are a number of different ways that we connect with and involve parents at CCA. Parents typically serve as their child’s caretaker or learning coach.
At CCA, we refer to the student’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) as caretakers, who are responsible for enrolling their child and satisfying enrollment requirements. They have full and final responsibility for their enrolled child’s education and educational decision-making. Caretakers are responsible for notifying the school if their child is experiencing issues with technology, having difficulty in a particular subject or working in an online environment. CCA will make sure that representatives of our public cyber charter school are available to help in all of these situations.
The role of a learning coach is typically filled by the caretaker; however, the learning coach can be any designated adult who performs tasks such as supporting teacher instruction, overseeing the student’s work and communicating with CCA teachers.
If a caretaker chooses to assign another adult to serve as their child’s learning coach, this person would be considered a designated learning coach. A student at CCA also can have more than one learning coach if multiple adults will be participating in the child’s learning on a regular basis.
Learning coaches have great flexibility in scheduling their child’s daily routine. CCA’s learning management system allows for monitoring attendance and ensuring assignments and requirements are complete. CCA teachers work with families to ensure their child’s success, so learning coaches remain in regular contact with teachers to gauge progress and update plans accordingly.
Your role as a learning coach will change as your student advances through CCA’s elementary, middle and high school programs.
Typically, elementary students require the most support from learning coaches. As cyber school students advance to middle and high school and become more independent, they require less direct involvement from their learning coaches.
What CCA Students Experience at Each Level
Enrolling in public cyber charter school enables your child to experience a customized, flexible curriculum that will lead to continued growth and success.
Through its core curriculum, electives, clubs, field trips and hands-on activities, CCA provides 21st century skills, strong career exploration experiences and the tools to succeed in work and life.
Elementary School: Supporting Young Learners
CCA students in grades K to 5 need a great deal of support from their learning coach, teachers and family members. The roles are defined to make sure elementary students gain the fundamental academic skills necessary for future success.
During these early years in a public cyber charter school, learning coaches work together with CCA teachers and their elementary school student to:
- Create a flexible schedule that includes activities and study breaks;
- Spend at least 25 hours a week learning;
- Perform many offline schoolwork activities like reading, writing and completing assignments; and
- Spend 15 percent to 30 percent of the school day at the computer.
Learning coaches will find they spend about five hours each day monitoring their student’s coursework and helping with lessons. Learning coaches will communicate regularly with their child’s teacher, track their child’s progress and provide a structured home environment for learning.
Middle School: Fostering Independence
When students enter grades 6 to 8, the role of the learning coach evolves. Middle school students develop more independence in and personal responsibility for their own studies. Students work more closely with subject-specific teachers, but learning coaches still provide a strong foundation for their child’s online education.
Learning coaches and teachers will help cyber school students in grades 6 to 8 learn to:
- Follow a schedule that fits a student’s individual needs;
- Spend at least 28 hours a week on their studies;
- Combine online lessons and traditional schoolwork in their classes; and
- Spend 50 percent to 75 percent of the school day on the computer to attend virtual lessons and complete assignments.
Learning coaches can expect to devote two to three hours each day to overseeing their child’s schoolwork. In addition to providing their child encouragement and support, learning coaches track their child’s progress, monitor their grades and maintain regular communications with teachers.
High School: Setting and Achieving Educational Goals
When students reach high school, they start taking a more active role in their own education. Students in grades 9 to 12 have even more control of their schedule and activities than they had in middle school and elementary school. At this point in their journey, students work with learning coaches and teachers to set educational and personal goals to prepare for life after high school.
Learning coaches work with high school students while they:
- Spend at least 28 hours a week on schoolwork;
- Learn primarily online through independent learning and virtual classes; and
- Spend 80 percent to 90 percent of their school time on the computer.
At this point in the online education environment, learning coaches serve as advisers, guiding their child to become more independent learners. As a learning coach, you will spend about 30 minutes each day monitoring schoolwork and encouraging your students if they need additional support. Learning coaches also verify all assignments and exams are completed on time, communicate regularly with teachers and attend conferences.
Cyber School Online Lessons and Curriculum
CCA strives to deliver a customized learning experience to prepare students for success. Our courses and clubs provide career-ready skills, giving students the tools to follow any path they choose.
Our teachers and school counselors work in a variety of ways to support our families, including:
- Describing curriculum at various grade levels;
- Discussing advanced placement and honors options;
- Sharing interest-based course options, such as Chinese, web design and entrepreneurship; and
- Defining potential career pathways for success beyond high school.
From grades K through 12, CCA’s curriculum includes core courses in math, science, language arts, English and social studies and a vast array of electives to address various interests. CCA also offers gifted and talented, honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and College in the High School course options.
At the elementary level, online lessons are a companion to a print-heavy curriculum. Even kindergartners can enroll in electives to learn languages from Spanish to Chinese to Arabic. Elementary school students receive substantial support from their learning coaches in establishing work routines and completing their schoolwork.
Beginning in third grade, students can be considered for honors courses. CCA’s honors program offers rigorous and challenging online coursework designed to meet the needs of gifted and advanced learners.
By middle school, students receive more online lessons but printed materials are still provided. In addition to the core curriculum, students can sample electives from digital art and design to journalism to photography. Middle school students gain greater responsibility for their schedule and education, but learning coaches retain a guiding hand.
CCA’s high school curriculum guides students into a successful future – whether they choose to attend college or vocational school, enlist in the military or enter the workforce after graduation. Core curriculum subjects remain the same, but public cyber charter school students now can take electives ranging from astronomy and 3D modeling to entrepreneurship and web design. At this stage, online lessons and independent learning make up most of the school day.
In addition to honors courses, high school students can apply for Advanced Placement (AP) courses and take college courses while attending CCA.
A Day in the Life of a CCA Student
The safety and flexibility offered by a public cyber charter school ensure your child gets a customized education at the times that are best for the whole family. Our online program also allows families to follow a traditional, structured school day. CCA offers virtual classes each day that provide live instruction and interaction with teachers and classmates.
However, one of the things many of our families enjoy is the flexibility for students to customize their days as much as they desire. An elementary student might work on math in the morning, play outside, read a book, attend computer club and after dinner tackle an English lesson.
A middle school student could take a science test in the morning, attend a field trip, take an online math lesson, finish a social studies activity, and after dinner attend a Girl Scouts meeting.
By high school, a student could get to the orthodontist, take AP calculus, hit dance lessons, work on an AgWorks at CCA® experiment and babysit siblings at night.
At CCA, we believe this is how school should work.
What’s Cyber Charter School and How Can It Work for Your Family?
If you’re a Pennsylvania family interested in learning how your child can benefit from a customized education in a public cyber charter school, CCA invites you to talk with us to learn more about the benefits of an online K through 12 public education at no cost to your family.
CCA offers families a flexible public education customized to meet your child’s skills, interests and educational needs at every grade level and for every type of student. Learn how public cyber charter school works and how CCA puts your family at the center of your child’s education.
Interested in learning more about CCA? Contact a CCA parent to hear their experience. If you’re ready to get started, enroll today!