An alternative education - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Letters To The Editor

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An alternative education

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Posted: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 3:30 pm

Dear Editor:

Wow, it's already that time of year we affectionately refer to as "back-to-school time!" The school supplies have been bought, new clothes have been worn, and families everywhere are secretly breathing a sigh of relief, - "the kids are back in school!"

Well, let's hope that's how the scenario goes in your home, but what if it's not? Please allow me to ask you, is your child or children truly happy in school? If not, did you know you have another public school choice?

As a parent, our children's happiness is first and foremost on our minds. We want to make sure that when our children leave the house in the morning, they are excited and eager to start their day. The sad reality is that many of our public school students are not excited and eager to begin their day but truly fearful and anxious to attend their neighborhood school. It's hard for people to imagine that this is true, but it is a very real scenario that is growing in many of our public schools across the United States.

Keep in mind that traditional schooling works for many kids but others need alternative education for many different reasons. Many kids feel they don't fit in or they are being bullied in their school environment. This is heartbreaking for a parent. They see their child anxious and upset every day due to issues at school. These issues can be related to a school's curriculum, environment or both.

Some students need more time to master concepts or they whiz through the assignment and have to wait for other learners to catch up. Many of our students at Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) are accelerated learners who were bored with the pace of their classroom lessons in the brick and mortar school and needed their curriculum stepped up a notch.

I'm Denise Pawlowski, a special education teacher at Arizona Virtual Academy. I'm part of something different, a public school education alternative. AZVA is a tuition-free, public school option for kids in grades K-12 across the state. It's an education alternative where kids attend public school from their homes and where parents play an active role in their child's education.

The teachers at AZVA are passionate and offer guidance and support to the parent (learning coach) and students. We make sure the curriculum is individualized for each child, so no child gets left behind and no child gets held back if they want to be learning more. We have award-winning curriculum that has been developed by Ivy League graduates and is aligned with the State Standards.

At Arizona Virtual Academy we're doing something different, with an education that is working beautifully for so many students, and I'm proud to be a part of it.

To all the families who are sending their kids back to school, best wishes to you! But remember, you have a choice in how your children are educated. Please visit us at to learn more about our virtual academy.

Denise Pawlowski

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