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Clarion-Limestone School to Offer Cyber Academy

Thursday, August 9, 2018 @ 12:08 AM

Posted by Chris Rossetti

Clarion-Limestone High SchoolSTRATTANVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – Over the past decade or so, public schools have been losing students to cyber schools, but some have started to fight back by creating their own cyber schools.

Clarion-Limestone is the latest in the area to start a cyber school – at least Brockway and Forest Area also have versions.

“We are starting our own cyber academy, Clarion-Limestone Cyber Academy,” C-L superintendent Amy Glasl said. “I’m very excited about it. Our goal is to bring back our students who are at PA Cyber School or other cyber schools, so they are integrated with their friends again.”

Glasl said some of the advantages of a student attending cyber school at C-L as opposed to one of the other cyber schools is that they will get a C-L diploma and also be eligible to participate in extracurricular activities in the district including athletics and band.

“If you are at another cyber school, you can’t be in sports or band or anything like that,” Glasl said. “If they come back to our cyber school, they can be in extra-circulars.”

C-L will offer two different kinds of cyber classes. One would be in the more traditional sense of a cyber academy where students can do the schooling from anywhere. The other is with a cyber classroom within the school building. Students could come to the school and then go to the cyber classroom where they could do all of their classes at a computer or perhaps do some of the classes at the computer and then attend a traditional class or two.

“We are looking to have a blended academy,” Glasl said.

According to Glasl, one of the reasons students transfer to a cyber school is because of bullying going on at the school. She believes that the on-campus cyber classroom could be a way to help those students.

“One of the things that are a concern is the bullying,” Glasl said. “Often times students that leave because they feel they are being bullied or are being bullied and are feeling they are not getting any help with that. They can still come to school and be in the cyber room and we can address (the bullying). For those who have already left, we say come back, sit in the cyber room. At least come back and be in the cyber academy. Maybe, at some point, they can head out into the (regular classrooms) or the cafeteria and integrate back into the school system. If someone is on cyber because of bullying, we will sit down and talk with them and try to get them back in the door, so they don’t have to fear forever. It needs to be addressed.”

Glasl said the district will have one cyber teacher, and then other teachers will rotate through the cyber classroom during free times in their schedule.

She said the district could easily recoup a lot of costs if they can get the students who are currently in other cyber schools to come to the C-L Cyber Academy.

“If we get two students back from PA Cyber, then we are ahead of the game,” Glasl said. “We have 30 to 35 kids in cyber schools right now. We are spending $400,000.00 outside the district on these kids (By Commonwealth law, public school districts are required to pay the tuition of students attending cyber schools). We want to sit down and talk to the parents. We are really here for their kids.”

Glasl said a simple explanation of how a cyber school works is that the students sit down at a computer and learn via the computer. She said they don’t have to log in to have direct contact with the teacher, but can learn via videos and reading material. She also said the cyber teacher is there to help if a student needs help at any point.

According to Glasl, her experience with the cyber school when she was employed in the Brockway School District tells her that the cyber school enrollment will be slow at first but could really take off quickly.

“I know it can be very slow at first from my experience at Brockway,” Glasl said. “But, it catches on very quickly.”

Glasl said she hopes students who enroll in the academy chose to give the in-building portion a chance.

“They can stay in the cyber room all day but can eat lunch with their friends,” Glasl said. “It is a step towards getting them back and involved in the school and being social. It’s not good for anyone to be home all day long like that. Way too many kids are doing that.”

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