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FAQs

General

WHAT DISTINGUISHES AGORA FROM OTHER CYBER CHARTER SCHOOLS?
Agora offers a superior education with a complete support team providing your student(s) with a personalized learning experience. Some of the key distinguishers are:

  • A regionally assigned Family Coach who maintains regular contact with the student and family to ensure academic success
  • Highly skilled teachers that are state certified in their subject area
  • Simple, straightforward attendance policy
  • A flexible schedule allowing students a self-paced personalized learning experience
  • An Individualized Learning Plan guiding the student to academic success
  • Academic subjects with defined mastery objectives, a combination of real-time and recorded classes, small-group instruction, and tutoring sessions
  • Wide variety of face-to-face educational and social school gatherings and online academic and social clubs to enrich your student’s online school experience
  • Parents / Learning Coach online and face-to-face workshops and conferences
WHICH GRADES ARE OFFERED BY AGORA CYBER CHARTER SCHOOL?
Agora Cyber Charter School offers kindergarten through 12th grade.
WHAT DOES AN ENROLLED AGORA STUDENT RECEIVE?
Each student will receive a laptop computer, LaserJet printer, headset, a set amount of ink cartridges, Agora branded backpack, first class curriculum, a combination of textbooks (online or printed), lesson plans, enrichment courses, and a subsidy for Internet access.
ARE THERE ANY FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES THAT STUDENTS EXPERIENCE DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR?
Students and families will be responsible for purchasing some consumable materials like pencils, pens and household supplies that would be used in science experiments. Some additional costs could include optional field trips that are organized by staff.
DO AGORA REPRESENTATIVES EVER VISIT MY HOME?
On occasion, a Family Coach may visit your student in your home. You may also invite your teacher to come to your home, although this is completely optional. Webcams are occasionally used, with parent permission, to conduct live therapy sessions with some special education students.
HOW DO AGORA STUDENTS INTERACT SOCIALLY?
Throughout the year, students are invited to participate in face-to-face or online school gatherings, field trips, picnics, and other social events. In select cities across the state, students and parents also meet regularly in a school-sponsored location. Local Agora families also organize activities on their own to gather together in their area on a regular basis.
WHAT ABOUT EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES?
Students enrolled at Agora can participate in their local school districts extracurricular activities. The Charter School Law requires a charter school student’s school district of residence to allow the student to participate in the school district’s extracurricular activities if the student is able to fulfill the requirements of participation and the charter school does not provide the same extracurricular activity.
WILL MY CHILD HAVE THE SAME GRADUATION OPPORTUNITIES AS STUDENTS IN TRADITIONAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS?
Yes. We are a public school in Pennsylvania, so students can earn an accredited diploma according to Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements based upon successful completion and mastery of course content. We host graduation ceremonies and activities at the end of the 12th grade.

Attendance

WHAT IS THE ATTENDANCE POLICY?
As an online public school, Agora Cyber Charter School is required to monitor student attendance in accordance with all applicable statutes and State Board of Education Rules. Agora teachers and administrators monitor student attendance daily. Students are required to follow the school calendar, which includes a minimum of 180 school days. Attendance only occurs on “school days” as listed on the school calendar. Agora will identify the best learning path, either Synchronous or Asynchronous, for each student’s academic success. Synchronous students are expected to attend all assigned sessions scheduled each school day. Students working asynchronously will be responsible for completing lessons from their daily schedules each school day. All students begin as synchronous learners.
CAN I TAKE A VACATION DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR?
The school calendar includes school “holidays” or vacation time. Whenever possible, family vacations should align with school vacation days. If a student skips a day during the week, he or she will be marked absent. Vacation is not an approved reason for absence in the state of Pennsylvania. Parents can apply for “Educational Leaves of Absence” during the school year. Requests must be submitted to the Principal 10 days prior to the absence. Leave will be approved based upon consistent student progress and attendance. No educational leave will be granted in any of the testing windows for state mandated testing.

Enrollment

HOW LONG DOES THE ENROLLMENT PROCESS TAKE?
The enrollment process depends on the timeliness in receiving the required documents and attending an information session. Families that have as many of the required documents readily available speed the process along. This is especially the case in the summer months  where some schools close and house the documents required to complete enrollment.
WHAT IS THE REQUIREMENT TO ENROLL IN AGORA CYBER CHARTER SCHOOL?
The student will need to meet the age requirement, and be a resident of the state of Pennsylvania. Residence is defined by the address submitted for our school files, and where the family and student is physically located.
WHAT IS THE AGE REQUIREMENT FOR ATTENDING AGORA?
Students must be at least 5 years old as of the enrollment date set by their local school district. Students can enroll up to the age of 20 and can finish the school year after turning 21. However, they cannot start at Agora after 21 years of age.
HOW DOES THE LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT KNOW THAT MY STUDENT IS ENROLLING AT AGORA?
Once the initial enrollment process has begun, the parent/guardian will need to notify the local school. The parent/guardian should notify within 15 days of enrolling with Agora. Agora staff also contacts the school to assist in gathering required documents to help complete the enrollment process.
WHEN SHOULD I WITHDRAW MY STUDENT FROM HIS OR HER CURRENT SCHOOL?
Once your student(s) is approved at Agora, you can withdraw the day prior to the first day of school. Since students must be in an educational setting during the academic year, withdrawing prior to their Agora start date result in truant status in their local district, and make you subject to truancy fines.
HOW MANY OF MY CHILDREN CAN ATTEND AGORA CYBER CHARTER SCHOOL?
Any or all of your children from kindergarten through grade 12 can attend Agora Cyber Charter School.
IF I HAVE QUESTIONS, WHO DO I CALL?
Please call 1-855-748-4735 for assistance with the Enrollment process.

Academic

WHAT SUBJECTS WILL MY CHILD STUDY?
The base subjects taught at Agora Cyber Charter School, as in all public schools, are: English/language arts, math, science, history, and the arts. Your child will study other subjects based on grade level and state requirements, such as elective courses.
WHAT IS THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN PARENTS AND STATE-CERTIFIED TEACHERS?
We embrace a collaborative partnership between teachers and parents to empower students to reach their personal potential. Teachers give feedback on student assignments, and use multiple instructional strategies to ensure that all students achieve mastery.
HOW MANY TEACHERS WILL MY CHILD HAVE?
Students in kindergarten through the 2nd grade have one teacher.  Students in grades 3 through 12 will have one teacher for each of the core instructional areas.
HOW DOES AGORA MEET THE NEEDS OF GIFTED AND TALENTED STUDENTS?
An instructional team uses the existing curriculum components and supplemental activities to meet gifted and talented learners in a number of ways. The students may receive:

  • Placement at a higher instructional level in a course
  • Faster pacing in the courses
  • Individualized Learning Plan tailored to the student’s advancement
  • Personal learning time
IS THERE A SPECIAL NEEDS PROGRAM?
Yes. Approximately 20% of our students enrolled in Agora are special-education students.  We work with their home school district to provide an IEP (Individual Education Plan), and follow all federal and state regulations and standards. As a public charter school, we implement Chapter 711 for special education and Chapter 15 Section 504 for protected handicapped students.
WILL MY CHILD HAVE THE OPTION OF LEARNING A WORLD LANGUAGE?
A world language course is offered to all students who meet the academic criteria.
WILL THERE BE LIVE ONLINE CLASSES?
Yes; live online classes will be held to ensure student academic achievement. There will also be various enrichment session opportunities in all subject areas.
HOW MUCH TIME DO STUDENTS SPEND ON THE COMPUTER?
The specific time spent on the computer varies based on the individual needs of the student. Each student’s strengths and weaknesses dictate the frequency of online sessions, additional programs, and remediation needed. We believe in a balanced approach toward education. In general, students are expected to spend the following amount of time doing a combination of online and offline work: Elementary: 4 – 6 hours, Middle School: 4 – 6 hours, High School: 5 – 7 hours.

Testing

ARE LETTER GRADES GIVEN? WHAT ARE THEY? HOW ARE THEY DETERMINED?
Agora Cyber Charter School is a mastery-based program, which means students master concepts and lessons before moving on to the next lesson. Students submit assignments to their teachers for evaluation and feedback.

For kindergarten through grade 5, we use standards-based grading. Each quarter, students receive a standards-based report card that shows the parent/learning coach how the student is performing based on grade-level standards.

For grades 6 through 12, we use quantitative grading on a 0–100% grading scale. Teachers assess mastery and provide quantitative feedback.

HOW WILL MY CHILD BE EVALUATED?
  • Lesson assessments/quizzes
  • Unit assessments
  • Semester assessments
  • PSSA
  • Diagnostic / progress monitoring assessments
  • Keystone exams ·AIMSweb
  • Standardized tests
  • Online synchronous conferencing with the teacher
  • Phone conferencing with the teacher
DO I HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN STATE TESTING?
All students are required to participate in state testing.

Technical

DO I NEED TO OWN A COMPUTER TO ATTEND?
No. Each student will be loaned a computer system (including a laptop computer, printer, and software) to support the learning process. Middle and high school students receive laptops to use while attending Agora Cyber Charter School, along with a scanner and fax/printer. These items must be returned when the student leaves the school. Agora Cyber Charter School will arrange for technical support and troubleshooting for these systems. Your family will need to secure an Internet service provider, and Agora will provide a stipend for the cost of the Internet service. The stipend is disbursed twice each school year.
WHAT COMPUTER SKILLS DO I NEED?
The parent/learning coach needs to have basic computer skills. Use of the computer is an important part of the program, but in the early grades it is mostly the parent (or other responsible adult) who interacts with the computer. The program is user-friendly.
WHAT ABOUT TABLETS AND OTHER MOBILE DEVICES?
Technology’s portability is increasing and many families have iPads and other Android tablets or phones. We understand the need for our systems to be ready for the future and to support mobile devices. At this time, we do not guarantee that our programs will work with mobile devices. Mobile support is in the roadmap and will be supported in the near future.