Tuition-Free Cyber Schools Are an Important Option for PA Families

Cyber charter schools are offered in Pennsylvania as an option for families and students who are looking for a change from their local, brick-and-mortar public school.

Boy wearing a headset and working on his laptopThey offer a truly flexible option for families whose schedules do not fit into a school’s traditional hours of operation, as well as for students who need more than they are getting at their local public school. At a tuition-free cyber school like Commonwealth Charter Academy (CCA), students in grades K-12 who are Pennsylvania residents receive a customized online education that they complete at their own pace at a time convenient for the family.

CCA Is an Accredited Online Public School

CCA is a tuition-free public cyber school accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Elementary and Secondary Schools.

The Middle States accreditation is recognition that CCA offers students in grades K through 12 a quality education that can be reciprocated with other schools, and it validates the value of CCA’s education to other accredited institutions.

For more than 125 years, the Middle States Association has been helping schools establish and reach their educational goals and advance student achievement. As an accredited online public school, CCA is committed to maintaining those high educational standards and to seeking continual improvement in student learning.

How the Department of Education Designates Cyber Charters

Students in Pennsylvania who attend public school must do so in the district where they live. Students in grades K through 12 cannot choose to attend another public school outside of those boundaries unless they and their family move and establish residence in that district.

As a way to, in part, expand choices in the types of educational opportunities available within the public school system, the Pennsylvania Legislature authorized charter schools in 1997 and permitted the establishment of cyber charter schools in 2002.

Charter schools are independent public schools established and operated under a charter from the local school board and located in a physical space within the borders of that school district. Cyber charters, on the other hand, are an independent public school established and operated under a charter from the state Department of Education. Most of their instruction is delivered through the internet or other electronic means.

In addition to offering public school choice for students in grades K through 12, the Pennsylvania Department of Education says that charters and tuition-free cyber schools were authorized as a way to improve learning, increase learning opportunities, encourage innovative teaching methods and create new professional opportunities for teachers.

Both charter schools and cyber charter schools must be operated as nonprofits.

Charter schools are exempt from some educational mandates but are held accountable for academic results and follow federal and state public education laws. For instance, they are not exempt from mandates governing special education, civil rights, health and safety, and employee criminal history checks.

Cyber Charters Have the Same Funding as Traditional Schools

Because charter schools and cyber charter schools are independently operated public schools, they do not charge students tuition. The district of residence of each enrolled student must forward most of the tax dollars it receives for that individual student to the charter or cyber charter school in which the student is enrolled. The amount of funding a charter school receives is based upon a statutory funding formula, which requires tuition rates for both non-special and special education students.

Pennsylvania law establishes a payment schedule for school districts to send the student funding to charter and cyber charter schools. If a district fails to do so, the law contains provisions for the state to deduct the funding and provide it to the charter schools.

Accredited online public schools need to keep the lights and heat on in multiple buildings every day for their teachers and administrators – just like brick-and-mortar schools. They also have operational expenses, including developing customized curricula, supporting and updating all the required technology, operating Family Service Centers and maintaining a full complement of state-certified teachers and all of the requisite support staff.

Providing Quality Education for Students in Grades K-12

Every family in Pennsylvania is unique, and many of them find that their local, one-size-fits-all school district is not right for their child.

It might be because a child needs extra academic help or needs accelerated learning but the pace of their education stays the same despite their individual needs. Perhaps a child is being bullied and parents feel they have no recourse. In other neighborhoods, it might be too dangerous to walk to school. Some children have obligations to care for younger siblings or older relatives, and still others are pursuing a sport or artistic endeavor that is impossible to pursue with a traditional school schedule.

All of these families can benefit from a tuition-free cyber school like CCA. We put the family at the center of the educational experience. The total flexibility for students in grades K through 12 allows families to decide what time is best for learning. CCA students can take a real-time virtual class or they can watch a recording of it when it’s suitable for them. That frees time for internships, practices, family trips and any other passion a student wants to follow.

As an accredited online school, CCA recognizes that our students come with different skills, abilities and needs. CCA works with families to customize their child’s education, and our teachers are ready to provide extra help or advanced learning in any subject, whichever a student needs.

And it all takes place from the safety and comfort of your own home.

CCA is a tuition-free cyber school that provides a quality education at your child’s pace and on the family’s schedule. It’s the way school should work.

CCA Is a Top-Rated Tuition-Free Cyber School

Tuition free cyber school CTA

If you’re a family ready to let your child thrive in our accredited online school, you can start your application by filling out this form – all you need is your name and an email address.

We’ll then send you a secure enrollment link. The application takes about 15 minutes, and you can save and close it at any time. Once you submit it, a member of the CCA enrollment team will work with you to provide us required documents.

After they have been successfully submitted, we will schedule you for a Great Start Orientation Session, which gives new CCA families a comprehensive overview of parent, student and staff responsibilities in your new tuition-free cyber school.

If you are interested in learning more about CCA, contact a CCA parent to hear about their experience. Ready to get started? Enroll today!