Agora Alum Shares: It’s “About Time” for Cyber Charter Education

November 28, 2023 10:27 am

Leah became part of the Agora family when she was a high school freshman—one of two children Tracy and Patrick Harrington enrolled after they experienced the inability of brick-and-mortar schools to successfully “pivot” to distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, Leah proudly counts herself among the thousands of Agora graduates who have thrived—academically, personally, and socially—because of the school’s educational excellence and proven model for cyber education.


“My old high school wasn’t prepared for COVID, or anything like that,” said Leah. “I wasn’t getting the education I needed. There was no discipline. Coursework was confusing. But Agora was tried and tested and true.”


For Leah and her parents, those three words meant—and to this day still mean—everything for Leah and her younger brother, Cooper. They gave the Allegheny County family the confidence to leave the traditional path of schooling and embrace cyber charter school education—and they’ve never looked back.


“Everyone questioned me, ‘why didn’t you go back to “regular” school after the pandemic?’” said Leah. “My answer is an easy one—I had no reason to. I was doing better at Agora than in-person school, so why change? Agora’s live classes and club experiences were the same I got in-person at my old high school before COVID.”


There are many attributes— from Agora’s Family Coaches and individualized educational plans to flexible schedules, challenging curriculum and more—Leah cites when sharing what helped build her success at Agora. However, all these benefits converge on one concept: more time. Often, individuals overlook the time students spend commuting to brick-and-mortar school, changing classes, and, at times, idling during extended lunch periods or homeroom. Moreover, it’s easy to forget about the way early wakeup times required for bus rides to school can contribute to tiredness and compromise the learning process. Once Leah started at Agora, she really came to appreciate the extra time she had.


“I’ve saved two hours in bus rides alone,” said Leah. “I used to have to get up at 6:00 a.m. and rush to get a bus so I could be sitting in homeroom by 8:00. At Agora, I got up at 7:30 a.m. and was ready for 8:00 class.”


For Leah, this additional time—as well as the time afforded her due to the well-structured use of class time and overall efficiency of the Agora system—made a world of difference on many levels. She found she was much more productive in her schoolwork. She joined the writing and book club, where she satisfied both her intellect and her desire to be social and make new friends. She participated in many meetings and used the extra time to meet with teachers to help define, and advance, her own academic and post-Agora goals. Plus, with the extra time, she was able to get a job with a local mom-and-pop store.


Now, having graduated from Agora, Leah is headed to school to get an associate degree in paralegal sciences. After that, she’s set her sights on transferring to a four-year college then attending law school. While she acknowledges cyber charter school may not be right for everyone, she encourages families to at least explore the possibilities—especially if a student isn’t being academically challenged in their current school, has a learning disability, has a medical condition or family responsibilities that make schooling difficult, or has social anxiety.


“Agora is great at getting students back to what they need. They stand out in how they educate. Their system is much better. And I grew a lot over the years with Agora’s support,” said Leah.