The Heck Family Finds Comfort & Support within the PA Distance Family

Posted by PA Distance Learning on 11/22/21 9:57 AM

(Left to right Jillian, Janelle, Jennika, and Jaxxon Heck) 

Mrs. Susan Heck, of Elkland, PA, enrolled her six children over two years ago. Her two eldest children have already graduated from the virtual halls of PA Distance.

Her eldest son,  Jeremy (known as JT), graduated in the spring of 2020 and her eldest daughter, Jillian, graduated in the spring of 2021. Her second eldest daughter, Julia, is a junior but is taking enrichment classes and may even graduate early in the spring of 2022. Her three youngest children, Jennika (8th grade), Janelle (6th grade), and Jaxxon (4th grade) are all finding their stride and appreciate the opportunity to learn from their own home with family.

“The teachers have great personalities and were always willing to talk,” Jeremy said. 

“My teachers are supportive and understanding,” Julia added. 

Susan Heck (1)

Mrs. Heck recalls when she was researching cyber schools she found herself on the PA Distance website and called the enrollment department to ask questions. 

“PA Distance, from the very beginning, has been honest and upfront about everything,” she explained. “I was doing lots of research over the summer before enrolling and I really liked everyone that I talked to. The enrollment team was so friendly and helpful with all my questions. The enrollment and registration process was so smooth and I could do everything electronically from home.”

Mrs. Heck also appreciates the support and communication that PA Distance offers her children - from the teachers to the counselors to the support staff - and beyond.  

“I love having the freedom where I can reach out to my children’s teachers,” she said. “As a parent, I am always in the loop. We are asked to give feedback, can check their grades, are able to contact teachers via email, chat, text, Parent Square or Google Hangouts.”

“A lot of times the school counselors notice issues before I do, and they reach out proactively,” Mrs. Heck explained. “They listen to us and do their very best to solve any problem that might arise with the students now, and into their future.”

“PA Distance also offers virtual group parent conferences and presentations when convenient for parents,” she added.

Mrs. Heck also notes that although her children’s classes are rigorous, they still receive help directly from their teachers. 

“The classes are very challenging,” she said. “Jeremy wasn't very good at science but, when he took Chemistry, his teacher helped him day and night and he improved tremendously.”

“I am able to get one-on-one help,” Jennika explained. “If I’m behind on work, my teachers remind me of when things are due and when I need to finish something. They listen when I’m confused.”

She also noted that, beyond the curriculum and classes, her children participate in extracurricular activities. 

“They offer engaging virtual field trips and career fairs where the kids feel like they're actually there,” she explained. “Last year's Career Fair was fantastic. I sat in on the whole event with my son, Jaxxon, and it was really nice.”

Overall, Mrs. Heck believes her children will remain at PA Distance throughout their K-12 schooling because of the improvement, both to their mental and emotional well-being, she has been witnessing. 

“There’s a lot of things people don’t realize about cyber school. PA Distance has after-school clubs, host classes on cyberbullying, and have in-person office hours. The in-person and virtual field trips are also very well done.”

“The in-person office hours are so much fun,” Jennika explained. 

“There’s a lot to say about the school, I could go on forever,” Mrs. Heck added. “The teachers really encourage my children to do their best.”

“My children have all started to shine because the teachers help them believe in themselves and be proud of their work,” she ended with. “The school didn’t just hire teachers, they hired life coaches.”

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