WAYNE, Pa., May 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Agora Cyber Charter School (Agora), a state-accredited, tuition-free, public cyber school option in Pennsylvania, today announced that Agora music teacher Andrew Rinaldi has been named the 2013 national winner of the American Pioneer of Teaching competition. The award is given annually by PublicSchoolOptions.org, a national alliance of parents, students and teachers that supports and defends parents' rights to access the best public school options for their children.
The American Pioneer of Teaching competition recognizes top performing K-12 teachers who work in nontraditional public schools, such as virtual, charter and magnet schools. Thousands of students, parents and teachers from across the country cast online votes through Facebook to determine the winner of the award, which is held each year in honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week.
"With each year that passes and each innovative school that opens to meet the individualized learning needs of students, we learn more about the creative and innovative ways teachers are helping students succeed," said PublicSchoolOptions.org President Beth Purcell. "Just like their colleagues in traditional public schools, these state-certified teachers are dedicated to educational excellence and student success. As a former teacher, parent and leader of a nationwide organization that represents the voice of parents, it is an honor to recognize teachers who help make a variety of public school options available."
Agora uses the award-winning K¹² curriculum to offer an exceptional individualized learning experience. The program is built on strong relationships – among classmates, teachers, students, and parents – that help the Agora school community connect with one another.
In an effort to illustrate this collaborative atmosphere and show the confluence of music and modern technology, Rinaldi created a YouTube channel that provides additional teaching resources in a compelling manner. As part of the award, he was lauded for his "tireless efforts to make long-lasting personal connections with his students" and recognized for his work in producing a video competition that challenged students to play or sing the National Anthem, with the winner given the chance to perform each year at the school's graduation ceremony.
"Music education thrives in an environment like Agora, where individualized talents are combined with collective passion to create a unique, rewarding experience," said Andrew Rinaldi, winner of the 2013 National Pioneer of Teaching award. "Having access to different learning options empowers young people to take control of their education and select a pace that works best for them. I feel so fortunate to be able to work each day with such a collaborative group of students, teachers and parents, whose dedication and positive attitude is truly inspiring."
Georgia Cyber Academy teacher Mary Michael Pontzer and Arizona Virtual Academy teacher Nicole Kessler-Snook were named national runners-up to the award, and both schools also employ the K12 curriculum. Hundreds of teachers from across the country were nominated for this honor and the PublicSchoolOptions.org Board selected 10 national finalists through an anonymous scoring system which awarded points for harnessing innovative teaching methods, adapting teaching methods to meet the needs of individual students, fostering mentoring relationships with students and overall dedication. Members of the public then cast their votes for their favorite teacher candidate.
While these awards are tremendous validation for the cyber education model, Agora Cyber Charter School students and teachers are no stranger to accolades, with many receiving full or partial scholarships to pursue their dreams. In addition to advanced music programs, Agora students are active in extracurricular activities, including the school's National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society chapters, as well as sports teams affiliated with their local school districts. Agora students also have access to a national network of 100+ clubs that cover a wide variety of interests like Lego, chess, Spanish, photography, guitar, debate and flamenco dance.
Agora also offers an innovative blended learning program for students through its Philadelphia-based Learning Center. In this blended program, area students in grades 3-12 receive face-to-face support from school staff, as well as opportunities for increased student collaboration and remediation.
For additional information on Agora or to get specific details on the enrollment process, the school hosts multiple events in communities across the state, as well as online information sessions. Families have an opportunity to speak with school representatives and learn about how so many children succeed with Agora. Please visit www.K12.com/Agora to learn more.
About Agora Cyber Charter School
Agora Cyber Charter School (Agora), which is currently accepting applications for the 2013/2014 school year, is a full-time, state-accredited, public cyber school serving students in grades K through 12 from across the state. As a public cyber school, Agora is tuition-free, giving parents and families the choice to access the award-winning curriculum and tools provided by K12 Inc. (NYSE: LRN), the nation's largest provider of proprietary curriculum and online education programs. For more information about Agora, visit www.K12.com/Agora.
SOURCE Agora Cyber Charter School