By Mike DeNardo

CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) — Students at a Pennsylvania cyber-charter school logged onto a “virtual rally” yesterday to celebrate School Choice Week.

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Cyber-charters do have some physical locations, and students at the Achievement House cyber-charter resource center in Chester, Pa. viewed a virtual rally on their laptops.

“First, we just want to thank all of you for coming today…”

Cyber-freshman Alexia Church says her mom took her out of Chester-Upland.

“It was 40 people in one classroom at one time.  Three fights a day, probably,” she recalls.

Now, taking online courses, she says she’s learning.

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“My grades are good.  I’m in honor classes,” Alexia says.

But the state is putting the brakes on new cyber charters.  This week it turned down the applications of six new ones.

Emlyn DeGannes, director of Achievement House’s center in Chester, says the cybers have inherited challenges.

“As much as the numbers speak accurate, we are doing our best to reverse the problems that we are seeing with the children coming in:  low reading scores, low math skills,” she says.

Eleven of Pennsylvania’s 14 cyber charters scored well below the state average on the School Performance Profile, with Achievement House scoring about half of the state average.

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