Sister and Brother Graduates

November 10, 2023 9:57 am

From Life’s Straight Pitches to Curveballs—Agora Supports Sister and Brother Graduates


For one Glenside family, Agora wasn’t a lifelong journey—but it certainly has been a life-changing one. Unlike many students who start in early elementary school, Jean’s children joined Agora a bit later. The first was her daughter, Sarah, who started at Agora as an eighth grader after her grades began to slide at her public brick-and-mortar school. Smart and driven in academics, Sarah, it turns out, wasn’t getting the challenges she needed in her brick-and-mortar school. Consequently, she lost interest and focus, and her performance suffered.


Once she came to Agora—a decision Jean made after seeing the ways her sister’s child excelled there—Sarah’s “old self” came shining through. And, in fact, even more of her attributes thrived in the Agora environment. She loved the live classes of synchronous learning and being able to interact with students and teachers. She was challenged and found she had more time for schoolwork and outside interests. It all just clicked for Sarah at Agora—so much so that due to her excitement, her mom frequently found Sarah up at 5:00 a.m. doing school work and getting a head start on her day of learning.


“If Sarah wants to accomplish something, she will, and with Agora she had much more time available to do this,” said Jean. “She didn’t have to worry about the school bus. Her concentration was better at home and without distractions from other students. She even took honors classes and graduated a year early.”


While not every student has the early graduation opportunity, Sarah, her mother, her Agora Family Coach, and the guidance team, carefully weighed what this would entail and what it would mean for Sarah after graduation. The consensus was that Sarah could handle it all. Steps were also put in place to “dial it back” if the aggressive academic path became too much. But Sarah took it all in stride, graduated, and today is a Glenside firefighter working on becoming an FF1 certified firefighter with additional ambitions to secure a job as an EMT.


While Sarah’s path was pretty straightforward, her brother, Evan, had to navigate one of life’s curveballs during his years at Agora. Evan became an Agora student in the tenth grade, shortly after the world shut down due to the COVID pandemic. For several reasons, including health and safety, Evan began to think that returning to brick-and-mortar schooling wasn’t in his best interest, nor the interest of his family. The wonderful academic journey his sister had at Agora provided the “icing on the cake.” Evan was determined to have the same educational experience.


“Mom,” Evan expressed one day early in the pandemic, “I’d feel better if I stay at home. I can concentrate better than at a brick-and-mortar setting. Those teachers are overwhelmed with 30 kids, they don’t have time for all of us. At Agora students get one-on-one time with teachers. And we can email—then hear back quickly.”


Certainly, his mother, Jean, had no objectives.


About two years into his Agora schooling, Evan suffered from a seizure that lead to a fall which caused a head injury requiring several days in the hospital. Medications to control the seizures caused complications and additional hospitalizations. He needed therapy to learn to walk properly and had far more than his fair share of medical appointments. Through it all, Agora made accommodations to work around Evan’s challenges and schedule. The Agora team even consulted with doctors to make sure everything done in school was supporting Evan’s recovery and well-being. During a time when the family was frightened for Evan’s health and future, the Agora team provided guidance and confidence.


“I kept up with teachers through constant email,” said Evan. “I had tests and classes that were switched based on where I was at the time with my accident. Agora was very accommodating and Jeannine, my Family Coach, helped immensely during this time.”


Like his sister, Evan applied himself, set goals, and graduated six months early in January. He is now searching for the right job for him and enjoying keeping up with friends he made at Agora.


While there were many factors that contributed to the opportunities and successes Sarah and Evan had at Agora, the family identifies Jeannine—their Agora Family Coach—as a common bond that made all the difference. Jeannine saw that the family had what it took to support a child through cyber charter school and worked to nurture it.


“Sarah and Evan are extraordinary for all that they went through and have accomplished,” said Jeannine. “But it’s also a major testament to their parents and how they were raised. They have a strong family structure and a strong advocate in their mom. I was more than happy to be a voice to help, and I enjoy staying in touch with them today!”


As for Jean, well, she’s a strong advocate for Agora, too.


“Agora is such a wonderful place, I will recommend it to any family,” said Jean. “If it wasn’t for Jeannine, I don’t know where we’d be today. She was there at every step, especially after Evan’s accident. If I had one wish it would be that I had more children to send Jeannine’s way!”