Back to school prep for cyber students presents different challenges, benefits

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ROARING BROOK, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WOLF) -- These textbooks aren’t any different from the ones you see in school, but instead of bringing them home from school, they were delivered to a Roaring Brook doorstep from Commonwealth Charter Academy – a statewide public cyber charter school.

They’ll be used at home by the Repella family.

Its all part of their back to school prep as cyber school students.

“When your child gets assigned to their classes, they automatically send the workbooks and the textbooks that go with it. The textbooks are also available virtually,” Christin Sankey, mom of the Repella kids, said.

The Repellas are in their third year at CCA, choosing to leave a brick-and-mortar school to better accommodate their oldest child’s health issues, and escape a tough social environment.

With that came many changes, mostly positive ones.

“I can work at my own pace, I don’t have to rush, and I’m a little more focused at home than I am in a classroom,” Gwen Repella said.

Gwen is the youngest and is very creative. She’s in the art club at CCA and the school sends almost all of the art supplies she’ll need along with those textbooks.

Mom Christin says it’s a stress reliever.

“We kind of really don’t start to prepare until the end of August. We were a family for whatever reason our shipment didn’t actually come until last week, some families got their supplies at the end of June, but we really don’t stress about it too much, its almost relaxing, you don’t stress going back to school where a lot of people are very nervous.”

The only other thing to do ahead of the first day of classes on September 6 – setting a schedule.

“You do have a planner that says you can do this stuff at these times that you can stay with, or you can change up your own schedule depending on what your day is like,” Damien Repella said.

And though oldest daughter Alexis says she’s not quite ready to get back to studying, she says there are some key reasons why she prefers doing it the cyber way.

“Staying in your pajamas all day, you can work at your bed, you kind of just lounge around and I think the difference is that you’re on the computer and the teachers aren’t always there, but they are there, so you can contact them pretty much anytime, so it’s a lot simpler.”

Some other ways cyber school students prepare for a new school year include planning field trips, the family says they go on two per month, and also first-year families are assigned a family mentor if they have any questions about the process.

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