Olivia Porter

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Recent Posts

Ed Camp: Empathy Focus in Professional Development

Posted by Olivia Porter on 11/2/18 2:47 PM

Today our staff is spending an entire day devoted to professional development, and there’s a common thread throughout this year’s “Ed Camp.”

Being a school in today’s ever-changing world means we have to adapt. We believe it is education’s responsibility to adapt as the world changes, so we can best prepare students to thrive.

There’s one thing, however, that must remain consistent within our education: empathy.

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Topics: Tech & Teaching

Holocaust Survivor Speaks to PA Distance Students

Posted by Olivia Porter on 10/29/18 12:26 PM

Today, PA Distance students had the opportunity to hear from a Magda Brown, a Holocaust Survivor.

Education is about bettering the future: from a 6th-grader whose learning transforms how she sees herself to a graduate who starts as a first-generation college student. Improving individual futures, however, is only one part of education’s power.

We cannot forget another part of education’s power, especially as we are faced with the mass shooting at one of Pittsburgh’s synagogues this weekend.

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Topics: News

PA Distance Learning Cyber School Students Pledge to Be Drug-Free

Posted by Olivia Porter on 10/26/18 3:12 PM

All week students across the nation and at PA Distance are celebrating Red Ribbon Week to increase drug prevention and awareness.




At PA Distance, we use Red Ribbon Week as an opportunity to collaborate as a school-wide team and unify as a drug-free community.  Our entire staff spends the week teaching our students about the negative effects of drug and alcohol use, making better choices, and how to plan for a drug-free future.

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Topics: News, Family Resources

Teachers Present on Bringing a Writing Center to Cyber School

Posted by Olivia Porter on 10/4/18 12:12 PM

PA Distance Learning teachers will present at the Drexel University School of Education Virtual Conference for K-12 Online Learning on October 5, 2018.

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Topics: News, Tech & Teaching

PA Distance Learning Administrators to Present at PA Community on Transition Conference

Posted by Olivia Porter on 7/24/18 3:25 PM

Jamie Desrochers, Director of Special Education at PA Distance Learning, and Kelly Crooks, 7-12 Principal at PA Distance Learning, are presenting at the 2018 PA Community on Transition Conference.

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Topics: News

Student Spotlight: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

Posted by Olivia Porter on 7/3/18 1:23 PM

More often than not, students end up teaching their teachers beautiful things here at PA Distance Learning. One graduate the teachers will never forget is Will Werner.

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Topics: Stories

Student Spotlight: Cali the Conqueror

Posted by Olivia Porter on 6/26/18 12:36 PM
Cali is not your typical high schooler. She’s an amazing artist (check out her work below), but what makes her stand out is her positivity, her drive, and a family that brings out the best in her.
But last year, Cali got some  bad news. Life-changing news.


When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn

You have cancer.”
That’s the news Cali got her sophomore year of high school.
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Topics: Stories

Elementary Music in Cyber School: The Tools of the Trade

Posted by Olivia Porter on 1/18/18 8:34 AM

By Elisa Carpenter, Music Teacher

“…its objectives are two-fold: to aid in the well-balanced social and artistic development of the child, and to produce a musically-literate adult; an adult who can read and write music as easily as words..”  - Zoltan Kodaly

An intriguing quote from Zoltan Kodaly, the founder of the Kodaly Teaching Method developed in Hungary.  Years ago he wanted to be involved in a music education system that was capable of leading children toward love of and knowledge about music, from the youngest of ages into their adult lives.

Many educators, whether in traditional or cyber school, strive to replicate this idea each and every day, in their own course, in new ways, and with fascinating tools so their students are well prepared and successful!

This ideology has laid the foundation for my love of teaching. In this article, I will describe some of the tools used to cultivate a well-balanced and artistically expressive elementary musician, all in an online elementary education environment!
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Topics: Tech & Teaching

Cyber School Literacy Communities: Connecting Writers Across Distances

Posted by Olivia Porter on 12/13/17 10:28 AM
by Ms. Hannah Lewis, Secondary English Teacher

Photo courtesy of @bamagal on Unsplash

This generation of students are more literate than past generations. They engage with writing daily, sometimes hourly, on their smart devices and computers, usually communicating with one another. Yet, they are plagued by record-breaking amounts of depression and anxiety.


In spite of their constant connectedness, they feel lonely.


In this world of hyper-literate, connected-yet-isolated students, being a literacy teacher presents new opportunities and challenges, some of which are exacerbated where I teach, at a cyber school in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Topics: Tech & Teaching

Bringing Project-Based Learning to Life in the Cyber School Setting

Posted by Olivia Porter on 11/15/17 2:41 PM

By: Peter Mysels, Secondary Social Studies Teacher

One of the mental hurdles many cyber school teachers need to overcome upon entering the field of cyber school teaching is removing the preconceived notion of…

“Will I be able use the same, projects, assignments, and methods I did in my traditional school, now that I am a cyber teacher?”

I'd like to challenge you: rather than, “Will I be able to? I encourage you to consider, How will I? 

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Topics: Tech & Teaching

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