Scarlett Rivera and her mother Inger were looking for a school that could offer a safer and more rounded academic experience than their local public school. “Scarlett wants to act and sing,” Inger explains, “and she had a little bit of a problem with some mean girls at school.” By sixth grade, Scarlett began to feel like she needed another option, and her mother agreed.

As luck would have it, the Rivera’s neighbor was the chair of the music department at the PALCS Center for Performing and Fine Arts (CPFA). “She kept telling Scarlett how great it was,” Inger says, “so we decided to audition.”

“And I got in,” Scarlett adds with a smile.

Once enrolled, Scarlett found that, not only did she love the program and the improvement in negative socialization, but also her cyber courses helped her to learn and achieve more than she had before. “She actually did better on her PSSA scores after a year at PALCS than she did in public school,” Inger says. “She learned better online without classroom distractions and with one-on-one attention from teachers.”

It was that individual instruction that Inger believes made the difference in Scarlett’s education. “In a traditional public school,” she says, “once you’re done with a class, to get back to that teacher is really hard.” But at PALCS, the teachers were readily available to answer Scarlett’s questions. “Every time Scarlett needed extra help, her math teacher would be right there. She would sit there with her and explain everything until she got it.”

Unlike her peers at public school, the Center for Performing and Fine Arts students have made Scarlett feel accepted. “The kids that she meets at CPFA are all welcoming,” Inger explains. “There’s no drama.” At CPFA, they save that drama for the stage.

But Scarlett might not be the only Rivera interested in PA Leadership. “She has a little sister who’s in public school,” Inger says, “and I think she wants to come to PALCS, too.”