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The York Jewish Community Center is hoping to launch a unique pilot program for area students enrolled in cyber charter schools.

Cyber charter schools, which are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, operate independently from — and as an alternative to — brick and mortar public schools. students are educated through curriculum on the internet and electronic devices.

Under the new program, enrolled students would spend their days — from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — in the JCC's child care facilities, providing those who learn virtually with both a classroom and social setting.

Many cyber-schooled "attend" classes at their homes.

Cyber students would also have access to a certified teacher who would be familiar with the student's grade level and individual curriculum, as well as the use of the JCC's amenities including the gym, aquatic center and outdoor play areas, said Heather Miller, who heads the JCC's early child care and development programs.

"It's like a child care program in that it's a safe environment," Miller said. "It also allows them a place to stay focused on what they're doing and gives them any assistance they may need, sometimes when kids are working at home they aren't always able to be focused."

Students enrolled in the program — a first of its kind in the area — will share a classroom space with other cyber students.

"The goal is to provide not only a quality educational environment, but to give them a little more socialization as well," she said.

The community center will also offer art and physical credits, things that can be lacking in a cyber student's curriculum as well as two snacks and a lunch.

Miller said the JCC has been considering the program for several years given, the recent popularity with cyber schooling.

"I have seen a trend in parents taking students out of public school — be it for health reasons, or that they're unable to maintain days or they're athletes or older students that need a more flexible schedule," she said. "We have several of these students already in our facility in our lounge area doing work because of the (wireless internet) access."

A cost for enrollment has not yet been determined, Miller said.

An information session and tour will be held 6-8 p.m. on Monday Nov. 16 in the community center's lobby, 2000 Hollywood Dr. in Spring Garden Township.

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at jschladbeck@yorkdispatch.com.

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