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More Scranton students choosing cyber academy

Newswatch 16's Courtney Harrison spoke with a teacher about why the choice of virtual learning is on the rise.

SCRANTON, Pa. — Fewer students walk the halls in Scranton schools because more students are learning at home. Since the beginning of the school year, enrollment in the Scranton Cyber Academy has more than doubled from about 600 students to nearly 1,300 students.

The district's cyber academy began in 2017 as an alternative to traditional cyber charter schools. The pandemic has led more parents to choose Scranton's cyber option for their students.

"It is not for everybody, and there are challenges, but fortunately, having a dedicated staff that is full time and addressing the needs of those cyber students is kind of the best path for closing as many of those gaps that might exist," said Corey McNulty, a Scranton Cyber Academy teacher.

More students require more teachers. The staff of 37 full-time cyber teachers has taken over many empty rooms throughout the district, including the library at West Scranton High School. Teachers in a room often call on each other for help.

"It's a lot more cooperative in that regard, in terms of instruction you would get in a brick and mortar because you're just the one teacher in a classroom," McNulty said.

The cyber program is also beneficial for those students who are able to work and help with the family income and still do their classes.

"Recognizing and being able to accommodate the economic needs that each individual family has in a district as diverse as ours, and recognizing that one student's home situation is going to be different than another and that we can provide the best education for them possible and make sure they get a high school diploma."

The Scranton School District is looking to hire more teachers to serve the cyber academy's growing enrollment.

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