Cyber charter schools seeing increase in enrollment amid pandemic

Originally aired on WJAC-TV – July 22, 2020

While school districts across the region are finding new ways to adjust during the pandemic, cyber schools are avoiding the need for change and are actually seeing an increase in interest.

Insight PA Cyber Charter School is known for their online, individualized classes. CEO, Eileen Cannistraci says right now they’re seeing an increase in new enrollments by 50% compared to last year. She believes the pandemic is the contributing factor.

“Typically, at this time of the year in July you don’t see parents who are really engaging in trying to find out about schools,” said Cannistraci. “You see that more towards mid-August. So we are seeing a spike at a time of the year when we normally don’t but we don’t know if this trend will continue or is it just that it’s a little earlier this year due to COVID versus last year,” she added.

While local school districts are trying to navigate what it will look like for students to return to the building in the fall, cyber schools have not been forced to make changes to their teaching styles.

“Our hope obviously is to expose more families to what online education looks like. Because I think we are going to start to see this more in the future of education,” said Cannistraci.

I asked Cannistraci if she believes the school will see a decrease in enrollment after the pandemic subsides and restrictions are lifted. She says they’re always prepared for a flux in students.

“There’s no requirement for a length of time to be enrolled. They can come, they can enroll if they are looking for something a little more consistent currently and has some experience,” said Cannistraci. “As the schools reopen or offer more opportunities in a brick and mortar, then they can just withdrawal from our school and go right back to their brick and mortar school, so we are a public school just like the school districts are,” she added.

Insight PA Cyber Charter School is a state public school offering individualized classes online. Some local school districts also offer similar cyber curriculums for homeschooled students. Cannistraci encourages parents or guardians to do their research before deciding on cyber schooling.

“My encouragement to them is to do their homework. Look for programs that are established and have online curriculum which makes it easier to navigate and tap in to all the different resources that are out there on school websites to help them make the decision about what they want to do with their children,” said Cannistraci.

Learn more about Insight PA Cyber Charter School by visiting their website here. Contact local school districts in the area to learn about the availability of cyber classes.

To learn more about Insight PA Cyber Charter School, visit https://insightpa.k12.com/

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