Caroline Naser

Caroline is a Pennsylvania middle-school student who loves science, sailing, reading fantasy novels, and participating in extracurricular clubs. In her previous school, she wished she had more time to pursue those interests and include them more centrally in her education. The Connections Academy-supported Reach Cyber Charter School gave her the ability to merge her interests with her education, and Caroline couldn’t be happier about that.

Caroline Naser

“I was part of my family’s decision-making to join Reach Cyber. I started in September 2017 after having attended a private, parochial school. I wanted to stay at home more, do STEM activities, and hands-on projects. My school work at Reach Cyber lets me do that, and that's one of the things I like the most. I love the idea of flexibility and being able to choose the order in which I do my lessons.

At first, I thought that I would have to sit at home for hours and do nothing but school work all day, but I soon realized that the teachers make it fun for me. The teachers give fun assignments and work. I like LiveLesson® sessions because we get to go on the webcam.”

And, Caroline did not have to give up on friendships or connecting with other students through clubs and activities. "I like Reach Cyber because of the flexibility of the lessons and the fact that even though I am in a virtual school, I still have friends. I like all the clubs I’ve joined because they are STEM-focused, and the teachers are excellent. I get to explore things that interest me more. Independent study is fun because I can get credit for doing fun projects that I pick.

I am a part of the local school district marching band, and they have practice three times a week. It is easier for me to get to practice on time because of online schooling. As long as I get all of my work done, I get to participate and go to competitions.

Caroline Naser

Travel is also important for my family and me. Last summer, I went to Tall Ships Camp on the Lettie G. Howard at the Erie Maritime Museum. Because I am at Connections Academy, I am able to go sailing more now and go on a great sailing trip in the Atlantic Ocean for two weeks during the school year. The school was very supportive of me going on this trip and approved my absence to go sailing.

Last year, I went on a three-week camping trip that included hiking, and sightseeing at 15 U.S. National Park Service sites in 16 states. Whenever I had Wi-Fi, I would sign into Connexus and check my webmail and complete a lesson or two. I worked ahead before we left, and did not have much catching up to do when we got back.

Reach Cyber and Connections Academy are helping me reach my goals. I’m only in seventh grade, but I already have money set aside for college because I won a $500 scholarship to Harrisburg University. I also won the Winter STEM Competition by making two Rube Goldberg Machines.

I am taking steps toward a STEM career through my courses, talks with a scientist, clubs, and contests. I’m learning a lot, but it is way more fun than having to sit around in a classroom all day. Reach Cyber has been perfect for me.”

“I am taking steps toward a STEM career through my courses, talks with a scientist, clubs, and contests. I'm learning a lot, but it is way more fun than having to sit around in a classroom all day. Connections Academy has been perfect for me.” – Caroline Naser


Leigh Anne Kraemer-Naser, Parent

Leigh Anne Kraemer-Naser, mom to middle-schooler Caroline, finally found a setting in the Connections-Academy supported Reach Cyber Charter School that embraces all of her daughter’s different interests. Before choosing Reach Cyber, Leigh-Anne felt that the local bricks-and-mortar school in Pennsylvania did not fully appreciate or understand how all of her child’s interests intersected with her education.

Leigh Anne and Caroline

“In our last school, teachers saw Caroline’s love of reading fantasy novels and tinkering with electronics as distractions from ‘real learning,’” said Leigh-Anne. “The other children were exclusive and abusive. I needed an environment where Caroline’s individual needs as a student and a person would be supported, encouraged, and celebrated. I knew that the local bricks-and-mortar schools couldn’t provide both the social and academic setting to meet all of her needs.”

That’s when Leigh-Anne started to look for an alternative solution. “I found a list of online schools on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website and came across Reach Cyber Charter School. As I started reading, it seemed like things were too good to be true. I worried about whether my daughter would thrive in this environment and if I’d have enough time to devote to being a Learning Coach for two children and still run a successful business from home.”

Leigh-Anne attended a parent information session online, and later that week had a call with the Connections Academy coordinator. Now, in her second year with two children enrolled at Reach Cyber, she has no regrets about making the transition.

“I love the flexibility that online school gives my family. We’re traveling more, spending more time together. I get to be present and active through what remains of their childhood.

The teachers are so empowering. I never thought I'd encounter so many professionals who are able to see where each child is and raise them to new heights. The STEM team at Reach Cyber and the Clubs and Activities and Leadership teams at Connections Academy have given my child her confidence back and given her a sense of empowerment over her education, how she spends her day, and how she succeeds. Caroline loves STEM, and she has built robots, websites, apps, and microcomputers with the support of teachers who have let her design her own learning path.”

“I love the flexibility that online school gives my family. We’re traveling more, spending more time together. I get to be present and active through what remains of their childhood.” – Leigh-Anne Kraemer-Naser