District provides options for education


Jayla Nartatez

Some students complete their classes through the ACA program, which is the online learning program for Altoona.

Jayla Nartatez, Reporter

Over the years, the district has developed different ways that students are able to receive an education and complete the courses needed.  Some students attend school in person, some complete their work through cyber learning and some do both in person and cyber.  

Senior James Kennedy completes his school work through the ACA program, which is the districts online learning program.  The ACA program allows him to have more time for school and other activities in his life. 

My favorite part about online learning is being able to have all week and weekend to complete the assignments. I chose to do cyber so I would be able to have more hours at work,” Kennedy said.

For senior Savanah Green, she chose to have both an in person and online schedule.  Green discovered this option when she spoke to an ACA adviser and was able to work out a schedule that worked best for her.

“They didn’t offer AP French and AP Literature in ACA, so I asked if I could take them in person. It also leaves me with more time during the day. Since my after-school schedule can get pretty busy, it is a huge help. It leaves me with time to relax without having to socialize with a bunch of people,” Green said.

Senior Elly Eisel attends school in person and reflects on the advantages of being in a high school environment. 

“Being in school to learn has been beneficial at school because I am able to ask questions and communicate with teachers and classmates to ensure my learning experience thrives,” Eisel said. “Education is very important to me, so being in person guides me in achieving my goals in a more efficient way.”

Since Kennedy has been receiving an education through the ACA program, there are numerous reasons as to why he prefers that way of learning over being in person.

“I prefer cyber rather than in person learning because you are able to have more time I feel to do your assignments. Plus you can also get help from your teachers but you have to message them,” Kennedy said. 

Attending school in person and being a part of ACA, Green experiences more opportunities in her personal life.

“Cyber learning leaves you with a lot more time on your hands. It allows me to get more work hours, but if you aren’t a busy person it can get boring quickly. Doing both in-person and cyber learning gives me the opportunity to have that free time while still taking a foreign language course as well as my AP Lit course that isn’t offered through ACA,” Green said. “For me, it’s a win-win, but it won’t always work for everyone.”

During the pandemic, Eisel understood what it felt like to do cyber learning, but found it difficult to adapt to.

“My routine completely changed as I was left to form a sense of responsibility when doing my assignments. It was important to keep yourself motivated to excel in your classes despite the difficulties. It made me feel very distant from the world and disappointed that I couldn’t participate in my daily activities, but overall I try to have a positive attitude about that experience as I do believe I experienced much growth,” Eisel said. 

While business education teacher Jesse Frailey teaches both in person and cyber, he is able to recognize and understand how students thrive in both settings.

“I think that both require different skills, cyber only requires a lot of discipline in trying to work on your own and complete things while in person there is a lot of teacher relationships.  But I think a lot of people have different strengths when it comes to this sort of thing.  Some people are better when their teacher leads them, and some people are better on their own. I think that having a good mix of that is probably where most people are at these days,” Frailey said. “By having both sorts of scenarios in their day, it might come together and strengthen those skills.”

For Kennedy, the ACA program is something he recommends to other students.  

“I would recommend doing cyber to someone else, the reason is if you have trouble with staying focused or even just waking up for school. The only thing is you have to make sure you are turning the assignments in which isn’t hard,” Kennedy said.

Being able to learn through both in person and online has benefited Green in some ways.

“It helped a lot with my attendance and the classes are super easy compared to my AP work. There is a reasonable amount of assignments each week and they honestly don’t take that long to complete since they’re all electives. They also have a lot of electives students would be able to select while learning in person,” Green said.

After learning in person her whole life, Eisel encourages others who have done cyber and may be thinking about attending school in person.

“It is important to have the experience of attending school in person because it can prepare you well for your future. Communication and environmental skills are just as important as the lessons that are taught at school, and I think that a public environment would allow students to develop some of those skills,” Eisel said. 

As Green has experienced both in person and cyber school, she gives advice to those who could be in a situation like her.

“I will always recommend in-person learning over cyber, but if you are struggling with attendance, have stressful things going on at home or have trouble making time for after-school events or appointments I would recommend cyber. I believe it is better to attend school in person because you can be sure that you are actually learning the materials when a teacher is able to show you with a hands-on method. It also keeps you actively socializing which is ultimately beneficial even if it doesn’t seem like it,” Green said.  “All in all, it honestly depends on how you learn. Of course, you can still participate in clubs, but it’s not the same as making friends in class.”