Online alternative

The Academia, 2233 Linn St., technically may not be a school, but Monday through Friday students are busy working on their studies in the facility. But as Debrah Krauss, founder, explained, they’re doing it at their own pace.

“We’re here to help them with their school work,” Krauss said. “Most of these kids did not do well in their public school.”

Students who attend the Academia are enrolled in a cyber school but come to the facility each weekday, like they would at a traditional brick-and-mortar school. Most students, Krauss explained, have a variety of situations that makes the Academia a better solution than a traditional classroom could offer.

“We’re housing them here but really they’re students of PA Cyber,” she explained. ” We have children that are on the autism spectrum. We have students who have seizures. We have ones who are bullied. We have ones that were the bully.”

By giving students an area to do their school work, it allows families to have working parents without worrying about someone being at home with their child, Krauss said. She added that most parents like the facility because it does give them that option.

Currently, there are 12 students who attend the facility, but it now has expanded, which will allow it to accept more children. There are three classrooms and a library.

Krauss said one advantage for most of its students to attend the facility instead of a traditional school is that they receive a “seamless” education. She went on to explain that since most students have individualized education plans, they receive therapies. But instead of missing a lesson because they left the classroom for a type of therapy, students simply put the video lecture on pause and pickup where they were.

It also is an effective tool to review, she said.

“If the kids don’t get it – and a lot of kids don’t get it the first time – to be able to rewatch is fantastic,” Krauss said.

And sometimes, Krauss said, students just need extra time than their peers to complete tasks, which can be embarrassing.

“When you’re stressed it’s very hard to learn,” she said.

But students aren’t sitting in front of a computer all day. During the morning, students complete the day’s lesson and the afternoon serves as an opportunity for them to participate in special programs.

Spanish lessons, art classes, chime choir practice and swimming lessons all give students extra experiences throughout the week. They also take field trips throughout the year – past trips include New York City, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.

Along with accepting new students, the facility also is working on a toddler space for families already in the program.

Krauss said the facility is continuing to expand and improve.

“I think we do an awesome job for what we have,” she said.