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ASPIRA Inc. of Pennsylvania Launches New Cyber School Initiative

ASPIRA Inc. of Pennsylvania to launch its cyber school initiative for the 2017-18 school year. After a year of refining ASPIRA Bilingual Cyber Charter School programs, ABCCS Principal Nancy Ruiz has produced an effective cyber school model addressing social, emotional and physical education needs.

Philadelphia, PA, June 23, 2017 --( ASPIRA Inc. of Pennsylvania expands its cyber school program to offer hands-on learning, physical education, extracurricular activities and assemblies at the ASPIRA Bilingual Cyber Charter School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The program’s initiative brings cyber education back to a traditional school function: an environment for social development.

The new cyber school initiative began with ABCCS Principal Nancy Ruiz.

“There has been tremendous growth,” Ms. Ruiz says. “Compare this year to last year - students have grown academically, socially and emotionally.”

In October 2016, ABCCS hired Ruiz. Breaking the cyber education mold, she opened up the gym and invited the cyber students to come into the building to explore and be more active. Students began participating in gym class twice a week. She also introduced the monthly Science Lab Day program, wherein students conducted experiments inside the science laboratory. Students who couldn’t attend were able to perform the experiments virtually.

“It’s traditional classroom learning for students who need it,” Ruiz says. “Our teachers follow the PA Common Core standards. Students with special education or language support needs come into the school on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to receive services. Students are assigned an instructional schedule based on their academic needs.”

Several PA cyber schools base their curriculum on blended learning models, combining online learning with a physical location.

ABCCS adds layers of social, emotional and physical development to blended learning. Cyber students enjoy school trips, attend assemblies for academic excellence and participate in ASPIRA Inc.’s large menu of youth programs. Cyber students, like all children, simply need socialization time. The combination of personalized and social learning remains critically important for special education students, a major cyber school demographic.

“Cyber schools provide down time during the school day for students to have free online chat with each other,” Rachel Wise, school psychologist and behavioral therapist, writes in her website “This allows for social connections online throughout the school day. This can be helpful for students who struggle to make personal connections in person.”

Principal Ruiz’ changes align with the ASPIRA Inc. of PA educational philosophy:
“It is important to build meaningful relationships, across race, class, gender, sexual identity and generations to strengthen the existing social capital,” according to ASPIRA Inc.’s list of core beliefs.

Following the ASPIRA Inc. educational model, cyber students participate in mandatory community service, attend career workshops and wear school uniforms upon entering the on-site school.

“I don’t have any behavior problems here,” Principal Ruiz says. “We set a standard, and raise the bar. Students meet it every time because we provide supports and interventions.”

Framing personalized education into a social learning environment produces a legacy model for cyber school education.
Contact Information
Nathan Cross
Candice Martinez

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