Students Don't Fail. Schools Fail Says Achievement House Cyber Charter School

Traditional schools are challenged to meet the disparate needs of students and look for solutions in standardized tests.

Don Asplen, CEO Achievement House Cyber Charter School

A traditional school environment can limit a student’s success for several reasons. Because of this, cyber schools are becoming a more popular option for students. Last year, 32,958 students across Pennsylvania enrolled in a Cyber School for the 2017-2018 school year.[1] The primary reason for the recent growth is that online programs can differentiate learning environments to meet the unique needs of their students.

“At Achievement House Cyber Charter School, teachers must teach responsively to meet the needs of his/her students. Teaching with the students’ needs in mind is at the center of the AHCCS philosophy, "says Don Aspen, CEO. "When a teacher can tailor the content and process of teaching, they can ensure that the individual student is set up for success."

Teachers must teach responsively to meet the needs of his/her students. When a teacher can tailor the content and process of teaching, they can ensure that the individual student is set up for success.

Don Asplen, CEO, Achievement House Cyber Charter School

This approach to teaching and learning is entirely different than in a traditional setting. AHCCS adheres to Pennsylvania standards and provides an environment that empowers teachers to be more creative in meeting the unique needs of each student. In a cyber environment, a teacher can use their professional choices that are based on high-quality curriculum, flexible groupings, and student readiness.

Also, at AHCCS, there are several different programs and clubs (listed below) that allow students to blend their academics and interests to succeed in their futures:

1. Schoolyard Ventures – An Entrepreneurship program: Schoolyard Ventures is a program that will enable students to take the hands-on initiative to start their own business. Throughout this project, students have the opportunity to learn what it means first-hand to start their own business by taking the initiative and responsibility. Previous projects include a 2015 plan from Mattie, a former Achievement House student, who took on the Startup Corps course to start his own coffee business.

2. Innovation Academy and “Fearless Firsts”: Innovation Academy (IA) offers students courses that foster innovation through creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. Students who participate in this program gain marketable skills through courses in 3 areas: Maker Movement, Entrepreneurship, and Computer Science. They also have the opportunity to earn Microsoft® certifications. “Fearless Firsts” are IA workshops offered the first day of each month that students can choose from based on their interests.

3. Work-Study Program: The focus of the work-study program is to allow students to develop their work and career-readiness skills. It will enable students to participate in a weekly paid position and earn elective credit for doing so*. Students are responsible for weekly check-ins with their teacher and a final presentation of their experience. Students must also maintain a passing GPA in their core classes and appropriate school attendance, quarterly, to be eligible to remain in the program for the next quarterly period.

*Students must be at least 16 years of age or in the 10th grade to participate in this program.

4. PA Youth Leadership Network (Virtual Chapter):  PYLN (Virtual Chapter) allows students from 13 different cyber schools from across Pennsylvania to connect and interact. It also allows students to connect with their communities by building their learning, service, leadership, and self-advocacy skills. The mission is to coordinate a network that is led and driven by inclusive organizations of youth and young adults with and without disabilities across Pennsylvania by promoting leadership, empowerment, and learning in areas of employment, education, and community engagement.

5. Virtual Job Shadowing: Students can further their educational and career interests through virtual job shadowing. Students interested in this program will undergo an online and in-person interview, as well as meetings with various administrators and departments, to secure a placement that is right for them. This program allows students to learn more about their interested career paths, gain real-life skills, and will ultimately help them to further their career.

6. Career & Technical Education: Students on the career path will have the opportunity to develop real-world skills through Achievement House’s Innovation Academy, which offers Microsoft IT Academy, Schoolyard Ventures, and courses in the Business and Technology Department. Students can also take additional course offerings such as Career English, Graphic Design and Marketing, and CPR/AED. If students plan on attending college, Achievement House offers both college-prep as well as AP courses.

Since Achievement House is an online charter school, students can learn and interact with technology whenever they do schoolwork. When students enroll with Achievement House, they are provided with a state-of-the-art laptop, printer, and accessories. They will also be reimbursed for home Internet costs.

7. Young Parent Alliance Club: Students may have various responsibilities, such as work, community involvement, and family duties, in addition to academic work; the Young Parent Alliance Club is offered to student-parents who have familial responsibilities as well as school duties. It allows student-parents to connect with other student-parents and offers additional support to these students to find a balance between familial and school responsibility.

At Achievement House Cyber Charter School, the responsibility to students exceeds the parameters set forth by state standards.  Each student has individual goals, learning styles, and educational needs.  Our process considers the whole student and is designed to cooperatively ensure that all goals are met. After all, state standards are not the only way to determine the success of a student. 

AHCCS is one alternative to traditional schooling for students in Pennsylvania. AHCCS is:

·         Non-profit

·         Tuition-free

·         A public Pennsylvania charter school

·         Services students from grades 7-12

To learn more information about Achievement House, visit


Source: Achievement House Cyber Charter School

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