Mrs. Jamie Isiminger and her daughter, Jacey, Appreciate the Open Communication & Collaboration

Posted by PA Distance Learning on 12/6/21 7:55 AM

Mrs. Jamie Isiminger, of Washington County, enrolled her daughter, Jacey, at PA Distance last year when she was in 2nd-grade.

“Like many families, we were interested in cyber school because of the pandemic. I knew a few people who were signing up for other cyber schools.”

Now, as a 3rd-grader, she is in her second year at PA Distance and getting fully acclimated to learning virtually in an elementary setting. 

“Before we enrolled her, we attended the virtual info sessions to learn more about the school. Then, we decided that PA Distance would work best for us,” Jamie said. 

“Once we did enroll, the virtual orientation sessions were extremely helpful.” 

Jamie expressed that one of the reasons she decided to enroll her daughter at PA Distance was the blended learning model.

Jamie Isiminger

“I liked that she is able to attend live classes, with her teachers, and also work separately on her own,” Jamie explained. “Cyber school gets a bad reputation. People think it’s just homeschooling your children.”

“I like that I can spend more time with my parents,” Jacey said. 

During the school week, Jacey wakes up, has breakfast, and starts her school day. She and her mom review her “Weekly Checklist” where her classes and assignments are listed for each day and when tasks need to be completed. 

She watches videos she is assigned and works on her daily math worksheet. Later, she has her live classes and, afterward, works on homework and asynchronous assignments with her mom’s help. 

“The Weekly Checklist is really great,” Jamie explained. “It’s easy to follow along and to keep her on track.” 

“I also know so much more about how she’s being taught now that she’s learning at home,” she added. “It’s easier for me to help her and be that parent facilitator when she’s working on homework. It works out really well for us.” 

Jamie also explained that cyber schools, like PA Distance, aren’t fully understood by the public. Before she did some research, she didn’t know either. 

“We’ve gotten extra help, teachers really try to meet her where she is and they put in extra work to help her be successful,” she explained. “I don’t think people realize how much teachers can do, even on a computer, and how many resources they have for the kids.” 

“There’s also a lot of variety of extracurricular opportunities when it comes to virtual summer camps and clubs,” she added. 

Jacey is in the American Sign Language (ASL) Club, Stress Busters Club, and a Friendship group with her school counselors.

“It’s a great chance for her to be social,” she said. “She’s usually quiet but benefits from it.” 

“There’s such amazing involvement from the school counselors to the teachers. They can meet in groups or individually if they need it,” Jamie noted. “I love that there’s collaboration with other organizations for tutoring, too.”

Jamie also noted that the open and constant communication between parents and teachers and school staff also pleasantly surprised her. 

“I’m that mom that will email and call teachers and not feel bad about it,” Jamie said with a laugh. “But here, the teachers and staff are always super responsive. Probably easier than when Jacey was enrolled in our local district.” 

“The PA Distance Tech Support has their own phone line and I’ve reached out to them for help several times,” she explained. “They are all very helpful if we are having issues.” 

“There’s more interaction and involvement than I ever expected,” she said.

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