How Cyber School Saved Rachel

Rachel ColemanIn second grade, Rachel Coleman vividly remembers classmates teasing her about her high test scores and ability to learn at a sixth-grade level. “You’ll never get a husband!” girls taunted her. Over the following years, Rachel struggled with getting the right support as a gifted student, dreading how she would cope socially if she was promoted too fast. She found that support at Commonwealth Connections Academy (CCA), one of Pennsylvania’s 16 public cyber charter schools.

At CCA, Rachel was able to graduate by age 15, and is now a junior psychology major at Mary Baldwin College in Virginia. “If anything, I got more personal attention in cyber school,” she said at CCA’s May 2 official opening of its second blended learning center in Pennsylvania. Rachel is not alone: More than 32,000 students are now enrolled in cyber schools, finding the flexible, personalized programs best fit their learning needs.

At the grand opening of CCA’s Harrisburg blended learning center, students carried on with their day as dignitaries filed in and out. “Success coaches” guided students on their lesson plans. A math teacher tutored two students on polynomials, while others gathered round laptops as an English teacher led class. Cyber school students do most of their learning online, but blended learning centers allow for more face time and coaching—and a place to hang out.

CCA Math class“I wish this had been here when I was a student,” Rachel said. Her older brother, also a CCA student, now spends much of his time at the blended learning center. Now reconciled to her extraordinary gifts, Rachel is thriving at college and wants to earn a doctorate in child psychology. For her, cyber school made the difference.

For more on how cyber schools help students like Rachel, see Cyber Schools Save.