Online High School in PA | Education Overview

The online high school students at PA Distance cyber charter school are required to engage in a total of 5.5 hours of school per day within our blended learning environment, which contains “synchronous” and “asynchronous” forms of education.

Download the 2024-25 High School Course Catalog.

How Does Online High School Work?

PA Distance’s virtual high school program incorporates synchronous live learning sessions and asynchronous learning opportunities.

Online High School in PA

“Students need a partnership. They need a teacher to work with them in real-time, as large groups, in small groups, and one-on-one sessions to ensure their learning needs are being met, and they are experiencing academic growth.”

Mrs. Heiles, Instructional Specialist

“PA Distance is a community of educators and learners. To us, teaching is not just a job, it’s a craft. We continuously strive to be better teachers than we were the year prior. Stagnancy is short-lived. Routine isn’t routine.”

Mr. Mysels, High School Social Studies Teacher

“I love that I can create meaningful lessons that can easily be adapted to suit each of my student’s needs because at the end of the day, they are what matters.”

Mrs. Donofrio, High School English Teacher

“At PA Distance, we care about the students’ academic well-being. Not all students are the same, and we are willing to personalize their learning experience.”

Mrs. Smialek, Instructional Specialist

“I love that I am surrounded by highly trained staff that I can learn from and that I do work each day that I am passionate about and makes a difference in student lives.”

Ms. Budd, Career Education & Work Teacher

Educational Programs

To enhance the online schooling for high school experience, PA Distance utilizes online instructional resources that support and supplement our curriculum. Some of the educational programs that our teachers utilize include:

Computer Science for All

PA Distance virtual high school students have the unique opportunity to enroll in brand new computer science electives designed to teach them the basics of computer programming, coding, and video game design. The PA Distance Computer Science Team believes that computer science knowledge is attainable for all students, no matter their background or prior experience.

After-School Clubs

Every year, a variety of virtual club opportunities are introduced to our cyber charter students. Some of our current after-school clubs include:

  • Dungeons & Dragons Club: 9-12th graders

  • Student Leadership Club: 7-12th graders

  • Literary Magazine Club: 9-12th graders

  • Cooking Club: 8-12th graders

  • Stress-Free Students Club: 7-12th graders

  • Yearbook Club: 9-12th graders

High School Graduation

To celebrate the end of students’ high school education and honor their hard work, PA Distance hosts a yearly in-person graduation ceremony in Harrisburg, PA. During this event, seniors and their families are able to meet their teachers and classmates while receiving a high school diploma in their caps and gowns. 

Student Support

Student support should extend to education and beyond. With the help of our interventionists, counselors, teachers, and student support staff, we can meet each student where they are and help them to grow.

To ensure every child has the tools that they need to be successful, PA Distance utilizes a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) to grow out students academically, behaviorally, and socially.

  • Delivery of standards-based instruction and differentiated learning opportunities to meet the needs of students
  • Collection and analysis of multiple data points to support informed decisions regarding curriculum, instruction, and assessment
  • Implementation of a tiered system of support to differentiate programmatic interventions of all students

Office Hours

Students have the opportunity to meet any of their teachers for additional help on their daily assignments. At 3:00 p.m. every day, students can meet with their teachers virtually via a video call, phone call, or chat.

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

To provide a behavioral support system to high school students, PA Distance utilizes Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). PBIS is a process for creating safer and more effective schools. It is a systems approach to enhancing the capacity of schools to educate all students by developing research-based, school-wide, and classroom behavior support systems. High school students are given monthly projects to show their progress in exhibiting what PA Distance called our Core Four, made up of four behaviors we feel students need in order to be successful in life as well as school. These include organization, self-advocacy, working independently, and attending school.

As a reward for students exhibiting our Core Four behaviors, high school students can enter a monthly prize drawing.

Career Education & Work (CEW) Program

We require all of our students to go through our career education and work program in order to prepare them for life after online high school in PA. Requirements vary based on grade level. For more specific information, please see our Career Readiness page.