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Pottsgrove Expands Its Cyber School Choices

POTTSTOWN PA – A relatively new online education program being offered to Montgomery County schools as a cyber alternative for students’ classroom attendance is apparently winning high marks from users and administrators, but it hasn’t yet won all the virtual academy business from the Pottsgrove School District.

The district Board of School Directors on Tuesday (Sept. 29, 2015) authorized two separate contracts for access to computer learning options to be offered by both the Chester and Montgomery counties’ intermediate units (IU). Costs related to either contract were not immediately available.

Technology and Communications Director Michael Wagman noted the district had relied for several years on services from Chester County’s Brandywine Virtual Academy, with which current Pottsgrove students “are having some success,” he said. “Parents are pretty comfortable” with what they see in Brandywine, Wagman added, “and we didn’t want to disrupt students.”

The district launched its cyber school in June 2011. It’s intended to attract families interested in education alternatives, while letting participants stay connected to local friends and teachers in Pottsgrove’s traditional bricks-and-mortar classrooms.

Pottsgrove isn’t putting all of its eggs into Brandywine’s basket, though. Its similar agreement with Montgomery County “allows us to phase one out and phase in the other, so we can move in a methodical transition,” Wagman said. The district may even take the best of both services to further enhance choices for virtual students, he hinted.

Director Rick Rabinowitz, who represents Pottsgrove on the Montgomery IU board, noted he’s familiar with the new online entry and “what went behind it.” It’s already been picked up by other districts that have praised its quality and delivery, he said, and Wagman acknowledged the positive comments.

The Chester and Montgomery programs are “pretty comparable,” Superintendent Shellie Feola agreed.

The Montgomery County program shows a lot of promise, Wagman said, but added “we know a lot about what Brandywine offers, and as we’ve sat down and talked with our families they feel much more comfortable and confident with Brandywine.” Further evaluating the Montgomery County offering, and using its most attractive components, makes good marketing and education sense, Wagman indicated.

Related (to the Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ Sept. 29 meeting):

 

Photo from Google Images

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