SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — This past school year, for the first time, Scranton Cyber Academy had more students enrolled than any school within Scranton School District.

Robert Butka, the Scranton Cyber Academy Program Supervisor, says it is because of the pandemic.

“We had several students’ families/ family members who died during covid in the beginning. Once that started happening, they were pulling. “

A big switch from traditional days in the classroom.

“They really have the flexibility to work on their courses when it fits their needs. It’s self-paced, so if a student works a full-time job, we have a lot of students that have jobs, if they have family obligations, they are able to complete their course work when it fits into their schedule,” said Katherine Kier, an English teacher at Scranton Cyber Academy.

Around 927 students are enrolled in the scranton cyber academy for the 2022 school year. A notable exception? Only 7 students enrolled in kindergarden compared to 48 last year.

“People forget they missed the kindergarten registration that was in april. I believe, I strongly believe that we’re gonna be back up over 1100 before you know it,” said Butka.

Butka says the start of every school year brings plenty of changes to enrollment.

“We’re going through stuff. I’d like my child to come, I have a fourth grader and a sixth grader we’d like them to come. But it’s also balancing the backside pandemic has gone away, covid doesn’t exist anymore, and I want my kid to go back to brick and mortar. I want them back at West Intermediate or Northeast Intermediate.”

The pandemic was a major reason behind the big push for virtual schooling, but the flexibility of going to class online has made for plenty of success stories. One student who came to the cyber academy missing so many credits, he was worried he wouldn’t graduate on time.

“Instead of having the normal class load of six or seven, we gave him eight to start, he blew through the classes, then he finished his ninth, then he finished his tenth, and this summer he took three more classes in a credit recovery summer school and now he’s coming in senior status as an 18-year-old,” Butka said.

Just one of the many reasons students are opting for Scranton Cyber Academy this school year.

You can see the Times Leader companion piece to this story here.