Below are Frequently Asked Questions about our school. Click on a question to see its answer.
ACT Academy is a free, public school open to students across the state of Pennsylvania. Because it is a public school, ACT Academy’s curriculum is aligned to PA state standards. As required for every cyber school in the state, all ACT Academy students are provided a personal computer and printer so they can easily access lessons and submit their assignments. Students work online with live instructors as well as complete independent assignments. However, unlike a traditional school, students can work at their own pace and on their own schedule and have access to a greater variety of courses. While every PA cyber school has some characteristics in common, each also has distinctive features that are described more fully in individual websites and promotional materials.
Achieving Community Transformation (ACT) is a full time virtual public high school. ACT has a strong focus on academic skills, individualized learning, leadership development, and community engagement.
Our mission is to prepare students both morally and intellectually for their future, creating leaders with both intelligence and character—what Martin Luther King Jr. described as a “true education.”
ACT Academy is a high school enrolling students in grades 9-12.
ACT Academy is a tuition-free public school, available at no cost to students who are residents of Pennsylvania.
Enrollment is open now! Parents, please visit our ‘General Requirements’ page under the ‘Enrollment’ tab.
An ACT Academy guidance counselor will work with families to place students in the appropriate courses.
ACT Academy offers a wide range of courses for high school students. Please review the website for the full list of courses.
Students will have access to all of the books and educational resources they need for their courses. Most of the materials are online but if a book is not available online it will be shipped to the student’s home.
ACT Academy is flexible enough to meet the requirements of a range of students, including those who are gifted and talented and those who have special needs.
- For students who seek to be challenged, ACT Academy offers accelerated learning as well as a breadth of advanced classes.
- For students who are behind in school, ACT Academy offers the support and pacing that will allow them to learn and catch up at their own pace.
- For students who are involved in multiple activities and need to work at night or on the weekends, ACT Academy provides enormous flexibility in scheduling.
Yes, ACT Academy will award high school diplomas to all students who meet the PA state graduation requirements. This is not an alternative or GED program. Students who have dropped out of school can enroll, however they must be in the position to be able to earn enough credits to graduate by the age of 21, as stipulated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
A parent or other family member will act as a Success Coach for each student, making sure they are completing their daily class requirements and are on track to succeed. Student grades, as well as any correspondence between the teacher and student, can be accessed by authorized parents/guardians at all times. In addition, teachers will communicate with parents daily or weekly, as needed, via WebMail message or phone. The amount of time required for a parent or “Success Coach” will vary according to the needs and maturity of each individual student.
All Success Coaches sign an agreement with ACT Academy Charter School; although this is not legally binding, it does ensure that roles and responsibilities are clear. For students who do not have a parent who can fulfill the responsibilities of Success Coach, ACT Academy will work with the student to identify an appropriate adult who would be willing and able to serve in this capacity. ACT Academy will also work with partners from local universities and community organizations to identify mentors who may be able to fill the role.
All ACT Academy teachers have at least a bachelor’s degree and are appropriately certified. They are skilled at teaching a standards-based curriculum and incorporating innovative technology into their teaching. In addition, all teachers receive intensive pre-service training on the use of the Connexus®, Education Management System, through which lessons are transmitted and communications tracked.
ACT Academy charter allows students and their Instructional Guide to structure the school day flexibly to best meet individual students’ learning needs. The school’s curriculum, instructional tools, and education management system are available to students every day, around the clock, to facilitate learning anytime and anywhere. The program combines both live instructional sessions online and independent work time and teachers are available during extended school hours (generally 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.), during which they provide direct assistance via WebMail message, telephone, and live instructional sessions online. Teachers are also available after school hours, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, to provide one-on-one and small group tutoring sessions to support students in reaching mastery.
ACT Academy students are required to complete the equivalent of at least 990 hours or 180 days of instruction within each academic year, as required of all Pennsylvania students. While ACT Academy will offer extraordinary flexibility in scheduling, there is one area that is non-negotiable: Every student will be required to master the skills and knowledge covered within the school’s rigorous curriculum, which meets or exceeds the Pennsylvania Academic Standards. The when, where, and how of learning may be variable, but student achievement is not.
The basic school calendar is similar to those of districts throughout the state, with the year beginning just after Labor Day in September, and standard holidays being observed. The school calendar can be downloaded here: 2017-2018 SY Calendar.
There are numerous opportunities within the ACT framework for students to engage in clubs and extracurricular activities such as student newspaper, yearbook, art club, and more. As public school students, ACT Academy enrollees are also entitled to participate in extra-curricular activities within their district of residence. In addition, ACT Academy has a process for awarding credit for structured activities outside of school such as participation in travel sports teams or lessons in music, dance, or drama.
Yes. There will be opportunities for regular web-based interaction (live instructional sessions online) where classmates will log on together to learn and discuss material in various subject areas with a teacher and peers. All ACT Academy students will also participate in the Social Change Seminar each year, which may allow them to work collaboratively with other students on a project of their design, focused on a topic that has significance for their community. At the end of the year, each group of students will present their culminating project in the Social Change Summit, hosted at an area university.
Every ACT Academy student will have an individual student success plan (ISSP), developed in consultation with the student, parent(s), and ACT Academy advisor, to meet both the student’s needs and long-term interests and educational goals.
It is important for students to have a space that is conducive to working productively. The exact location and nature of that space may vary according to individual preferences. However, ACT Academy will offer guidance and technical support to students and their families in setting up an appropriate learning environment in which the technology is accessible and functional and the student can work in a concentrated and disciplined way.