South Western Academy

The South Western Academy (SWA) program was approved by the South Western School Board in May of 2013 for grades k to 12. Academy learners are also official South Western School District (SWSD) learners. All SWA learners will receive a laptop computer that is their own personal device to use as long as they are a SWSD learner. This is the same exact laptop computer that all SWSD learners use in our buildings.

Curriculum Options

Grades K to 8

The SWA program for grades K to 8 uses Pearson's Connections Learning curriculum and teachers. All Connections Learning teachers who work with our SWSD learners are highly qualified teachers certified by the state of Pennsylvania. These courses are graded through percentage grades (0-100%) and students will typically have one main Connections Learning teacher assigned to them as their primary learning coach. Learners can expect some physical materials to be delivered to their homes to help support the online curriculum materials. Students typically take 4 core classes, and then one or two “specials” such as art, music, keyboarding, etc. at any one time. Learners will need to connect with their Connections Learning teacher approximately 2 to 5 times per week for a 30 minute online “Live Session” (i.e. video chat) to talk about how things are going.

Parents of younger online learners need to plan to spend a fair amount of time helping their son/daughter plan out their day, assist with understanding lesson directions, monitoring their work habits, modeling how to troubleshoot problems, and help teach basic computer operation.

Grades 7 to 12

Our 7th to 12th grade program features online courses from Pearson Connexus that have been reviewed, adjusted, and are implemented by local South Western facilitators who are highly qualified teachers certified by the state of Pennsylvania in the courses they facilitate. These courses are graded through percentage grades (0-100%). SWA has a physical location in South Western High School where our learners can come in to work as needed. Our high school learners are also able to take face-to-face classes at SWHS if they would like. All SWA learners will receive a South Western School District Diploma once they have completed all applicable graduation requirements.

Mr. Bryan Tayman, M. Ed.
Coordinator of Online Learning & SWA
t: (717) 632-2548 x21870
f: (717) 633-4819

Ms. Kristin Fredrick, M.Ed. - Math

Mr. Jim Shaffer, M. Ed. - English

Mr. Eric Barshinger - Social Studies

Mrs. Tonya Ledbetter - Science


The following are expectations for participation in SWA in grades 7 through 12. Note: Red policies are policies that only apply to SWHS learners in grades 9-12.

Learners in grades K - 8 who are using other online curriculum programs through SWA, such as Connections Learning or, will need to follow the expectations of those programs.

Meet Attendance & Academic Guidelines:

  1. PA Guidelines require 180 five and a half hour days, or 990 hours per year. SWA requires a full time commitment in order to be successful.
  2. All .5 and 1 credit courses must be finished within the semester.
    1st Semester = Mid January, 2nd Semester = Early June
  3. All 2 credit Year Long courses must be completed within school year.
  4. Pacing: Please complete a minimum of 18 six hour days (99 hours) per month September - May.
  5. You should communicate in writing (email is fine) family trips, vacations, extended illness, or other reasons for extended periods of time not doing school work. Extended absences due to medical issues may require a doctor's note.
  6. Complete assignments in a timely manner by due date or EARLY. If you fall behind, you will be contacted by your facilitator. If you fall more than a week behind, you will need to start coming into SWHS to work with your teachers until you catch back up.
  7. Always immediately sign into/out of the SWHS attendance office when entering/leaving SWHS.
  8. During periods of Required Attendance - must be at SWHS from at least 8:30 - 2:30 and in SWA classroom. Always sign in and out of the main attendance office.
  9. You may come in ANYTIME on your own. When you are proactive and choose to come in, you may come and go as you please! Always sign in and out of the main attendance office.
  10. Learners new to SWA should plan to attend school for their first three days to ensure they understand how to access and complete their courses.
  11. Learners who have a blended schedule are required to return to school for their ENCORE period during the first two weeks of each semester. Your required ENCORE day(s) matches your face to face class period(s). For example, if you have a face to face class period 1, you will need to plan to return to SWHS for period 5 on Day 1. If your face to face class is period 3, you will need to plan to return to SWHS for period 5 on Day 3, and so on.
  12. For all core courses, you must complete your final exams in school in a proctored location. These will count 20% of your final overall course grade.

Agree to stay in touch and communicate with SWSD staff as needed to ensure student success. This may include conferences/phone calls/emails as needed.

  1. Check your school Gmail ( regularly and respond in a timely manner. If you do not receive a response to an email, please call.
  2. Please respond to voice messages. We will do likewise.

Agree to come into SWSD for required state testing.

  1. PSSA Language Arts and Math (grades 3-8) - April
  2. PSSA Science (grades 4 & 8 only) - Early May
  3. Keystone Algebra Exam (taken after completing Algebra 1 course) - Mid January or Mid May
  4. Keystone English Literature Exam (taken after completing English 10 course) - Mid January or Mid May
  5. Keystone Biology Exam (taken after completing Biology course) - Mid January or Mid May
  6. Specific testing dates and procedures for your child will be shared with you through mail prior to testing.

Familiarize yourself with and follow all SWSD and school building policies and regulations outlined in the learner handbook.

Complete the SWA Mustang Pride “homeroom” course.

  1. SWA Orientation
  2. Learner Handbook / Board Policies
  3. SWHS Graduation Project Requirements
  4. PSSA / Keystone State Test Prep
  5. CIPA (Children's Internet Protection Act) Requirements, etc.


You must be a South Western School District (SWSD) student to be eligible for the South Western Academy (SWA) program. Open enrollment is May 1 through August 30. Enrollment at all other times is determined on a case-by-case basis by expressing your interest to your SWSD building principal. Due to limited staffing and class size limits, the SWA may close enrollment once we have reached capacity. This is to ensure our students receive a quality educational experience. We currently have an enrollment limit of 60 students. This is to ensure we can provide the best educational experience for our learners based on the staff we have available.

Students Brand New to SWSD: You must first register at the appropriate SWSD school building. During the SWSD registration process, notify the secretary that you are interested in becoming an online SWA student. You may also have an opportunity to meet the guidance counselor during the registration process. Please take a minute to say “Hi” and get to know them. They will be there to help you along the way, especially with scheduling!

Students Already Registered with SWSD: Please contact your son or daughter's school principal and/or guidance counselor and let them know you are interested in joining SWA.

Next Steps: You will be contacted by Bryan Tayman, Coordinator of Online Learning, to set up a follow up meeting to introduce you to the Academy. Bryan will go over the details of the SWA Program, get your son/daughter's accounts and courses set up, and answer any questions you have. This meeting lasts about an hour, and we request that the SWA student attends this meeting. Click here for directions to SWHS, our physical location for SWA.

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