What Cyber Means To Me

March 10, 2024 | By: Alix Morgan

When I hear the word “cyber school” many things come to mind: a wonderful education, flexibility, and most importantly happiness. Cyber school has allowed me to challenge myself as a gifted student in ways I never would have dreamed of at a typical brick and mortar school. My school specifically offers a hybrid program, where students attend an in-person school for half the week, and work asynchronously the rest of the week. At my program, I have been able to build necessary skills such as time-management and independence that will prepare me for college. The program’s flexibility also enables me to schedule medical appointments without the worry of missing instruction. Additionally, cyber schooling allows me to connect with peers across the state, building a rapport with a diverse student body that may not reflect my suburban neighborhood. 

Four years ago, I transitioned from brick and mortar middle school to a hybrid program for gifted learners. I, for the first time, was challenged in my learning. I learned far more during my time at my cyber charter than I did at my district school. I escaped bullying, antisemitism, and a school that refused to accommodate my needs. I was met with open arms at my new school, and encouraged to thrive. I joined the award-winning Mock Trial team, where I learned the value of teamwork and leadership. I never would have found such a warm, nurturing, and loving community had cyber schools not been available. 

A flat allocation to cyber charters would decimate programs like my own across the state. Education is not one size fits all, and students are not a monolith. Depriving Pennsylvania students of this opportunity by underfunding and undervaluing cyber education will irreparably damage us. We are artists, athletes, neurodivergent people, scientists, writers, musicians, and so much more. We are urban, suburban, rural, and everywhere in between. We span from Philadelphia to Erie. We represent Pennsylvanians far more than any one school district. 

Cyber school has allowed us to pursue our dreams. We are not bound to a desk in a crowded classroom with fewer connections to our teachers and the real world. We are encouraged to challenge ourselves inside and outside of the classroom. Cyber school provides increased accessibility for students of all abilities. When I hear the word “cyber school” in the future, I want to remember the things that come to mind today. If this budget is enacted, all I will think of is: fear, inaccessibility, and disappointment. I will remember that our legislators abandoned my community and sacrificed us to political theater. Take the opportunity to speak directly to students. It is our education on the line.

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