Latrobe Family is “Turning Cartwheels” Over their Agora Experience

May 16, 2024 10:50 am

Latrobe Family is “Turning Cartwheels” Over their Agora Experience


While “turning cartwheels” is something Agora junior and state champion gymnast, Maddy Jesky, mastered many, many years ago, the phrase aptly describes how thrilled she and her family are about the past three years they’ve experienced at Agora.


“It was struggle after struggle in school until Agora—which was such a game-changer for us,” said Maddy’s mother, Brenda. If you told me before Agora that Maddy would be graduating in 2025, I would have thought you were crazy. The path with brick-and-mortar school would have most likely had her dropping out at age 16. But here we are, on track for graduation!”


Maddy’s educational challenges began to emerge fairly early in brick-and-mortar school, where autism triggers and sensory overload provided significant obstacles to her learning. Her parents moved her to homeschooling which wasn’t as successful as they’d hoped. Next, they turned to a cyber charter school, hoping that they, being made aware of Maddy’s struggles and autism tendencies, would have a more strategic approach. Unfortunately, Brenda found their approach was simply to overwhelm Maddy by giving her more work. Next the family tried a private school—which helped with socialization but came up short in the academic category by setting her workload at too low a level. Despite the earlier experience with a cyber charter school, Maddy’s parents felt this still offered the best path for their daughter, so they inquired with Agora.


“Agora was the only school that took the time to listen, answer our questions, and treat us with respect. Misty, the enrollment representative took so much time to understand Maddy as well as to listen to my frustrations. Unlike other schools, Agora never thought they ‘knew better’ than us parents. Agora worked with us instead of against us. Throughout Maddy’s education we are holding hands with the same goal in mind—and it has been amazing.”


After a thorough assessment, which took into account Maddy’s learning disabilities and autism diagnosis, Agora determined she would benefit strongly from an IEP.


“Within two weeks, the IEP was in place and Maddy really took off. But Agora also opened so many other doors beyond the academics of the IEP. In fact, by next year we don’t think she’ll even need the IEP.”


Almost instantly, Maddy’s parents saw Agora staff get through and connect with their “unreachable child” with high-functioning autism. The teachers got to know her personally and made learning fun. The IEP was so successful Maddy has moved up a level, is getting As and Bs, and has progressed to asynchronous learning. Teachers showed intense interest in her gymnastics and worked with her schedule so she could continue her practicing and attendance of meets—which made a huge difference to Maddy. And Agora Days Out plus other opportunities nurtured her socialization.


“I don’t know how they did it, except to say that Agora did not come to her level—instead they challenged her and brought her to the level they knew she could achieve. Kudos to Agora—they are a cut above the rest.”


After the family began experiencing the impact Agora had on Maddy’s education—seeing her thrive despite her learning challenges—they decided to transition her older sister, Gabriella to Agora as well. Although learning had never been a struggle for Gabriella, the family saw that Agora could challenge her academically and help build an even stronger student. Today, Gabriella is a straight-A student.

The family’s “double success” with Agora makes them strong advocates for the right of all parents to choose the best educational path for their children. They are also vocal about the responsibility for communities to provide the financial support necessary to keep schools like Agora equipped to meet the growing needs that only a cyber charter school can provide for certain students.


“Cyber charter schools do so much that they actually need more support—why would you take money away from a school like Agora? Agora serves so many districts with kids from all walks of life. You are taking away choice when you take money away. Schools like Agora finally take kids like Maddy out of a box so they can learn properly. Why would you want push them back into that box?”


In the next year, the family is confident they will be celebrating two Agora graduations—Gabriella this June and Maddy in 2025. Agora is honored to be a part of their journeys and confident in their promising futures!