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The Gauntlett Family, PA Leadership Charter School (PALCS)

Learn more about this Exton family's experience with a public cyber school.

When Danny Gauntlett memorized the periodic table at a young age and kept advancing in higher-level classes that soon became too easy for him, his mother, Deanie Gauntlett, knew there was something that public school just couldn’t provide for him.

Danny needed to be challenged more, and even the gifted program in her school district had gaps. So she started considering online schooling.

The Gauntletts, who live in Exton, found the solution at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS), a public, online K-12 school that creates an individualized curriculum based on the needs of each student.

After working on higher level math at home with Danny, Deanie realized that switching her child to the University Scholars Program at PALCS would get her son the education he craved — and the ability to do it at his pace.

“It wears you down as a parent to constantly ask for what your kid needs,” she said.

“PALCS has been a lifesaver for us.”

Cyber schools can face an uphill battle with parents: some think it’s essentially homeschooling, and others worry that an online curriculum isn’t rigorous enough.

Neither is true at PALCS, Deanie said. Danny’s work challenges his intellectual needs, and his teachers are empowered to teach what they’re best at, not just what’s on standardized tests, she said.

“Danny has always loved chemistry and that’s all he’s ever wanted to get to,” Deanie said.They’ve made it super easy, and all you have to do is ask. You get a ‘yes’ instead of a ‘no,’ which is what I usually faced at our home school district.”

Now in eighth grade, Danny is in advanced math and science classes, and participates in a variety of extracurricular activities, including Math Counts, the National Geographic Geography Bee (where he represented PALCS at the state level), and even Mock Trial.

He also gets the opportunity to meet other students when he visits the blended campus in West Chester.

“It’s not just sitting in front of a screen,” Deanie said. “They have the chance to take out the time waste during the day to pursue a passion.”

Want to know more about PALCS?

Check out the virtual school demo, or schedule an in-person tour today!

Photographs by Casey Kallen. 

The Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS) is a state-approved public cyber school for students in kindergarten through 12th grade who reside in Pennsylvania. The PALCS community digitally connects students and parents to PA-certified teachers and innovative curriculum.