Charter school tests new students
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Rebecca Haldaman with daughters left to right: Taylor - 9, Ashley - 8, and Samantha - 7 arrive for reading and math testing and are greeted by Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School K-2 teacher, Donna McManus, at the Moya restaurant in Jim Thorpe.
Two Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School teachers gave reading and math screenings to 14 new students to their Kindergarten to Second Grade program.
The home schooling program focuses on parents serving as coaches for their children with the school providing curriculum materials, interactive internet learning session, monthly on-line classes, and monthly teacher-to-coach phone calls.
The parents and students who came from such diverse areas as Kunkletown, Mountaintop, Wilkes-Barre, and Jim Thorpe, met at a central location, the Moya restaurant in Jim Thorpe.
"Today, I'm giving reading screenings and a bit of math screening to children K-2 in my class to determine their reading level," said Pennsylvania Virtual Charter School teacher, Donna McManus. "That helps me to instruct them online." McManus and fellow teacher, Anita Shoner, were each evaluating their new students.
McManus joined the cyber-school in 2001, one of the first teachers hired by PAVCS.
"It's never boring," she said. "Every year it's a little bit different as they refine the school over the years."
"It is very rewarding-challenging at times compared to a regular school building," she noted. "It's very similar and different-the principal difference is the parents are doing a lot of the teaching."
"My role for them is to support and coach," she said. "I communicate with them at least once a month on the phone and as many times as needed by email."
"The children have language arts and math sessions once a month. I offer remedial times if they need it."
"I've seen so many situations over the years where it really works well," McManus said. "I've had gifted students that can go at a fast pace, and be challenged and not bored. I've also had many remedial children that take a little while to learn. It gives them the extra time and attention that they need."
Stephanie Verme invited the school to meet at her Moya restaurant. Her six-year-old daughter, Maxine, is starting at PAVCS.
"I selected this school because we travel, and I wanted her to have more freedom," she noted. "It suits our lifestyle. I'm her coach, and I love it. We have a new thing to do together."
Maxine said that she is looking forward to playing the tambourine, which is included in her music kit.
"My daughter, Ciara, was struggling in the public school she was at last year," said Rebecca Shainline. "A friend was enrolled at this cyber-school with their daughter, whose the same age as my older daughter. She was doing really well. I thought this would be a way to have her work at her own pace to get back to grade level because she was struggling in some of her subjects."
"I'm making a commitment to help with the teaching," Shainline said. "I feel good about that. I can see where she is struggling, help her, and know where exactly she is at."
"When she was coming from public school, I asked her, 'what did you do today?'" said Shainline. "'Nothing,' she would say-I didn't know what she was doing. Now, I know exactly what she is doing."
For information, see: www.pavcsk12.org.