Girl smiling on couch with laptop

Cayden Guerra

Cayden Guerra

Cayden Guerra is an elementary school student at Pecos Connections Academy (PCA). He lives with his family in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and attends PCA along with his sister, Emma Guerra. Cayden’s switch to virtual school, the result of his mother’s medical treatment, was unexpected, but he is thriving in PCA’s high-quality education program. Cayden’s dad shares his story below.

“Cayden loved school when he was in first grade. He couldn’t wait to get to class each day so he could socialize with his friends and learn new things about the world. When his mom, Ashley, was suddenly diagnosed with leukemia, the world he was beginning to fall in love with suddenly turned upside down. Our family had to move in with Ashley’s parents so they could help take care of Cayden and his younger sister, Emma, while their mother received treatment.

Suddenly, the traditional brick-and-mortar schools were no longer an option because of the risk posed to Ashley’s weakened immune system by the common illnesses children bring home from school. It devastated Cayden and our entire household. It was very stressful because we had little time to decide what to do and we didn’t want Cayden to fall behind. Homeschooling seemed like the only option.

That is when we learned about PCA during a commercial on our local PBS television channel. As an online public school serving students statewide, PCA offers a professionally structured curriculum based on the same standards set for the brick-and-mortar schools. This took our burden away. We would have been lost with homeschooling. PCA provided not only the teaching resources and expertise but also the professional support needed for our family’s successful transition.

Cayden’s grandparents took the helm as his Learning Coaches while his mother underwent treatments and I worked long hours. The dining room table became a hub for discussions about the day’s lessons—a place where the family could forget about the hardships we were facing. And more than that, it really taught us that no matter how hard things get in life, family is what matters most.

Cayden’s first year at PCA was so successful! After only one semester in first grade, Cayden was reading at a third-grade level. In January’s testing, he performed at a 3.11 grade level in overall reading and text fluency. Cayden likes the outdoor science experiments and wants to be a scientist one day.

PCA’s online teachers have been incredibly supportive. They perform one-on-one evaluations, track progress and deficiencies, monitor test scores, and provide Cayden with the individual attention he needs. They also provide additional tutoring as needed for the math and language arts LiveLesson sessions.

PCA also provides opportunities to socialize at arranged outings at parks, restaurants, and an art studio. We plan to take more advantage of these opportunities to allow Cayden to meet other PCA students and get to know his teachers better.

The best thing about PCA is that the whole family is involved in Cayden’s education. There is never a loss for conversation during family dinners. And Cayden now leads the family Bible reading. PCA has really brought our family closer together.”

I think PCA is fun, especially when I can wear pajamas to class anytime I want!
— Cayden