Downingtown Goes Cyber


Matt Ronca, Staff Writer

Downingtown has always offered self-paced courses from Kindergarten through 12th grade, including honors, AP, gifted, and more in order to fit the student’s designated needs. The school offers essentially three different classroom environments – traditional courses, blended courses, and now cyber courses. The traditional courses consist of, as the title says, a traditional classroom environment. The student would remain in the classroom for the entire duration of the period. The school also offers blended courses – which means that out of the six-day cycle, three of which are non-meet days, and therefore technically considered “cyber.” The other three days of the cycle would be in the classroom environment, so there would be a mixture of both cyber and traditional. The cyber courses that are being instituted are not mandatory; they are merely an option for those who may need a different academic environment from other students in order to grow and show their full potential.

The school website tries to encourage students to consider the benefits of the Cyber Academy by proclaiming it to be student flexible, the student’s own home school, as well as it being in a formal class appropriate format in order to make it sound appealing to those who may be considering it for their educational purposes. Parents appear to be very in favor of the new cyber courses, or at least in some sort of support of them. The Downingtown Area School District official website provided positive input regarding the new courses. Due to privacy reasons, last names of the individuals quoted will be omitted. Shannon L, parent of a Uwchlan Hills Elementary school student, said, “My son enjoys the option of online classes because he can go at his own pace and contact the teacher if he has questions.” Tracey L, a parent of a Downingtown East High school student, said, “The cyber program was so helpful to us while my son was away from home [playing hockey]. He was able to choose his classes and make sure they were NCAA-approved. They kept a close eye on his progress and made sure he was on point.” The Downingtown Cyber Academy has been offered in recent years in order to promote educational opportunities equally for all students.     

Some students, on the other hand, do not oppose cyber education, but prefer the traditional classroom environment. Alessia LaGrossa, a senior at Downingtown East High School, said “I tend to procrastinate a lot, so being in a traditional classroom environment ensures that I keep on top of my responsibilities, instead of waiting last minute to do them.” She added, “I don’t necessarily think that they are a bad thing, as it provides more learning opportunities; however, it’s just not something that suits me and my needs.”

Regardless of traditional, blended, or cyber courses, Downingtown has continued to rank the 20th best school district in the Philadelphia area.