It’s National School Choice Week!

Every January, thousands of people around the country—including here in Pennsylvania—celebrate the diversity of education options available to kids today. The movement recognizes one size doesn’t fit all, so National School Choice Week embraces local district schools, charter schools, private school choice, homeschooling, and more.

Opponents of school choice like to say every child deserves a good school. The problem is, there isn’t just one definition of a “good” school. That’s why choice is so important. This week we’re going to spotlight Pennsylvania students who have found their niche through one of Pa.’s school choice options.

Layla's best promotion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Layla Koon is a 15-year-old student at PA Virtual Charter School. She calls her decision to leave her local district for PA Virtual four years ago “the best decision I have made in my educational career.” Layla has lived in three states and experienced many types of schooling. She says she absorbs information like a sponge, which has left her bored in conventional classrooms. It was only when she found PA Virtual that she was able to learn at her own pace and stay engaged with her learning.

What does Layla like about PA Virtual and why has she chosen to stay?

  • Flexibility: Cyber school has allowed her to take advantage of numerous learning experiences, including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, while staying on top of her school work.
  • Staff: Her teachers continually check in with her to ensure the work is sufficiently challenging.
  • Socialization: Layla has friends across Pennsylvania thanks to PA Virtual. Field trips organized by regional Family Support Coordinators have given Layla the chance to visit cool sites across the state, like the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia and the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. These trips have also allowed her to meet the friends she has made in her online classes.
  • Curriculum: PA Virtual uses a rich and dynamic curriculum that has been developed by teachers, scientists, writers, and other subject-matter experts. On top of this, Layla was invited to join PA Virtual’s Scholars Academy, which allowed her to take 9th grade honors courses as an 8th grader. Through the Academy, she and other students work with additional teachers on interactive projects to ensure students are challenged. According to Layla, “For the first time, I was actually enjoying school because it wasn’t a cake walk. I had to work for my grade.”

For Layla—and for thousands of children across Pennsylvania—a cyber charter school is the best fit. She’s “forever grateful” for the ability to attend PA Virtual.