Achievement House Cyber Charter School staff members, Shana Harris and Brittanie Strachko, had the distinct privilege to participate as panelists on the 2021 ELECT Statewide Virtual Conference Panel Discussion: Initiating, Maintaining and Strengthening Relationships with Students and Families in Fully Virtual Learning Environments. Both Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Strachko have been employed at AHCCS for more than six years and have extensive experience working with students and families.
More than 350 educational colleagues from across the state of Pennsylvania gathered to learn, discuss, and collaborate on trends and issues that pregnant and parenting students face. The panel featured professionals from multiple Pennsylvania Cyber Schools who provided insights on how to navigate the many important aspects of cyber education and its significance in correlation to student and family relationships.
Mrs. Harris said, “As Mentor and SAP Co-Coordinator, one of my goals is to connect our students with specific resources in their local area that provide support and with whom our staff can collaborate. The ELECT program has proven to be an excellent support option for our young parents across the Commonwealth. It was an honor to be a part of the panel discussion and work alongside other cyber school peers.”
The panel discussion featured six segments that highlighted a different aspect of fostering positive relationships with cyber education students and their families. The panelists shared their insight and advice for educational professionals to help them guide and motivate students who are or will be parents. During the discussion, Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Strachko shared some resources that Achievement House Cyber Charter School offers to students and families to foster beneficial relationships and educational support.
Mrs. Harris said, “There are always teachers and non-teaching staff that are available to students and their families. Accessibility to be able to reach a person after hours has been helpful to our students and their families.”
Mrs. Strachko, who works in Student Services, facilitates sending out care packages that include clothing and diapers to the Young Parent Alliance Club members.
“For me getting hand-written thank you cards from teenagers is huge.” Mrs. Strachko said. “I have these cards hanging at my desk.”
All the panelists from the varying cyber schools use different platforms to reach their students. However, both Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Strachko, and the other panelists agreed that it is essential to personalize and communicate in a way that works best for the family. Also, that it is imperative to foster a positive mindset for students and guardians, and other school staff members. Mrs. Harris explained that when talking to students and guardians, it is always good to let them know that you recognize them as a person and are there for them.
AHCCS is grateful for Mrs. Harris and Mrs. Strachko’s continued commitment to virtual learning academic success and their relentless dedication to strong and supportive relationships with students and families.