Busting the Myth: The Legitimacy of Cyber Schools & CPDLF’s Commitment to Excellence

The world of education is evolving rapidly, and virtual cyber schools are at the forefront of this transformation. Despite their growing popularity and success, a pervasive myth still lingers: the belief that all cyber schools are illegitimate or inferior to traditional brick-and-mortar schools, and that they cannot provide a recognized high school diploma. It's time to bust this myth and shed light on the reality of cyber education, particularly at Central Pennsylvania Digital Learning Foundation (CPDLF).


Understanding Cyber Schools

Cyber schools, also known as online schools or virtual schools, offer students the flexibility to complete their education entirely online. This model provides an alternative to traditional classroom settings, catering to students who need a different learning environment, whether due to personal circumstances, learning preferences, or the desire for a more tailored educational experience. 


When we refer to cyber schools, it’s important to know that we’re speaking exclusively of the CPDLF experience: 

  • Not all cyber schools are public schools. CPDLF is a public school.
  • Not all cyber schools are not-for-profit. CPDLF is a not-for-profit school.
  • Not all cyber schools hold themselves to the same standards that we do at CPDLF. 

As you read this article, please know that we are referring to our practices as a public cyber charter school operating under the purview of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education. 


The Legitimacy of CPDLF

CPDLF is a public cyber school, fully accredited and held to the same standards as all public schools under the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Department of Education. This means that CPDLF adheres to rigorous educational standards, employs licensed teachers, and offers a curriculum that meets (and sometimes exceeds) state requirements.


Certified Teachers

At CPDLF, teachers are certified, just as they would be in any traditional public school. These educators are dedicated professionals who bring a wealth of experience and expertise to their virtual classrooms. They are trained to deliver high-quality education through innovative online methods, ensuring that students receive the same level of instruction they would in a physical classroom. We also have technical instructors who are leaders in their field to provide in-depth instruction in our elective courses. 


Comprehensive Curriculum

CPDLF's curriculum is robust and diverse, designed to meet the needs of a wide range of students. It includes:

  • Core Academic Subjects: Courses in mathematics, science, English, and social studies that align with state standards.
  • Arts & Academics Program: Specialized programs in theater and dance that provide students with opportunities to explore and develop their creative talents earn pre-professional credit.
  • NCAA Core Courses: Designed to prepare student athletes for collegiate sports, these courses ensure students meet NCAA eligibility requirements.
  • Three Graduation Pathways: CPDLF offers multiple pathways to graduation, including:
    • Keystone Proficiency Pathway: For students who demonstrate proficiency in state assessments.
    • Keystone Composite Pathway: A flexible option that combines state assessment scores.
    • Career and Technical Education, Alternative Assessment, and Evidence-Based Pathways: These pathways cater to students with varied academic and career interests, providing alternative assessments and real-world learning experiences.

State Testing and Standards

Just like any public school in Pennsylvania, CPDLF students are required to complete state testing. These standardized tests ensure that students are meeting the educational benchmarks set by the state, and they help maintain accountability and high educational standards. CPDLF takes this a step further by using the results from the tests to understand what each child has learned and what support they need next. 


Engaging and Supporting Students

One of the key strengths of CPDLF is its commitment to student engagement and support. The school provides a range of extracurricular activities and individualized support to ensure that every student can thrive.


CPDLF encourages students to participate in extracurricular activities, offering them the opportunity to join their physical home district's sports teams, theater productions, music groups, and other activities. This hybrid approach allows cyber students to enjoy the benefits of both virtual and physical school experiences, fostering social connections and well-rounded development.


Personalized Guidance

Each CPDLF student is assigned a Learning Guide, who provides one-on-one support throughout the school year. Learning Guides maintain small groups of students to ensure personalized attention, helping each student navigate their educational journey, set goals, and overcome challenges. While brick-and-mortar schools have school counselors assigned to sometimes hundreds of students, CPDLF students enjoy a deeper relationship with their Learning Guide who coaches them through their school experience.


Meeting and Exceeding Expectations

CPDLF graduates students who are career-, college-, or military-ready, demonstrating the school's commitment to preparing students for success in all aspects of life.


Career Readiness

Through its Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, CPDLF offers students the chance to gain practical skills and experience in various fields. These programs are designed to align with industry standards, providing students with a head start in their chosen careers. Students interested in this path attend online classes with CPDLF and spend the rest of their day at their home district’s career center. Their Learning Guide also works to help them gain real world experience through internships with local businesses.


College Readiness

CPDLF's comprehensive academic programs ensure that students are well-prepared for higher education. The inclusion of NCAA core courses supports student athletes, while rigorous academic standards and elective options help all students build a strong foundation for college. PSAT and SAT testing, college applications, and career planning are part of the process for our students who make two or four year degrees part of their goals.


Military Readiness

For students interested in pursuing a career in the military, CPDLF provides the necessary academic preparation and guidance. The school's focus on discipline, responsibility, and leadership equips students with the qualities needed for military service. We’re incredibly proud of service members who have graduated from CPDLF.


Addressing Common Misconceptions

Despite the clear advantages and rigorous standards of CPDLF, misconceptions about cyber schools persist. Let's address some of the most common myths:


Myth 1: Cyber Schools Are Not Accredited

Fact: CPDLF is fully authorized by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Department of Education, ensuring that its programs meet all state educational standards. This authorization is a testament to the school's legitimacy and quality.


Myth 2: Cyber School Diplomas Are Not Recognized

Fact: CPDLF awards high school diplomas that are recognized by colleges, universities, and employers. Graduates of CPDLF have successfully pursued higher education and career opportunities, proving the validity of their diplomas.


Myth 3: Cyber Schools Lack Qualified Teachers

Fact: CPDLF employs certified teachers who are experts in their fields. These educators are dedicated to providing high-quality instruction and support to their students.


Myth 4: Cyber Schools Are Isolating

Fact: CPDLF offers numerous opportunities for social interaction and engagement through extracurricular activities and virtual collaboration. Students can participate in their home district's sports and arts programs, and they have access to a supportive online community.


Myth 5: Cyber Schools Offer Inferior Education

Fact: CPDLF's curriculum meets state standards, offering a diverse range of academic and elective courses that cannot be found elsewhere. The school provides personalized support and guidance to ensure that every student can achieve their full potential.


The Future of Education

The rise of cyber schools like CPDLF represents a significant shift in the educational landscape. As technology continues to evolve, so too does the potential for innovative and effective learning experiences. CPDLF offers a flexible, personalized, and high-quality education that meets the needs of today's students.


Embracing Flexibility

One of the greatest advantages of cyber education is its flexibility. At CPDLF, students can learn at their own pace, on their own schedule, and from any location. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for students with unique circumstances, such as those with medical conditions, athletes with demanding training schedules, or those pursuing artistic careers.


Personalized Learning

Cyber schools can offer a more personalized learning experience than traditional schools. Through the use of data and technology, teachers can tailor instruction to meet the individual needs of each student. CPDLF's Learning Guides play a crucial role in this personalized approach, providing one-on-one support and guidance.


Preparing for a Digital World

As the world becomes increasingly digital, the skills gained through cyber education are more valuable than ever. Students at CPDLF learn to navigate online platforms, manage their time effectively, and become self-directed learners. These skills are essential for success in higher education and the modern workforce.


A Final Word on Cyber

The myth that all cyber schools are illegitimate or unable to provide a recognized high school diploma is just that—a myth. CPDLF, as a public cyber school authorized by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Department of Education, meets state standards. With certified teachers, a comprehensive curriculum, personalized support, and a commitment to student success, CPDLF is proving that cyber education can be just as effective, if not more so, than traditional brick-and-mortar schools.


CPDLF graduates are career-, college-, and military-ready, equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to thrive in their future endeavors. By embracing flexibility, personalized learning, and the advantages of digital education, CPDLF is preparing students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.


Don't take it exclusively from us! View Our Graduates to see who's who at CPDLF and what amazing things they're off to accomplish next. Our featured Learner in this article is 2024 Salutatorian, Kilenya Hale, is planning to pursue her Bachelors Degree through the Kohl's + Guild Education program, which covers 100% of tuition, books, and fees.