Reach Cyber Charter School

Media Relations

The Challenge

Reach Cyber Charter School is a STEM-focused, tuition-free, online public charter school for K-12 students throughout Pennsylvania, a crowded and competitive online charter school state. When first opening its virtual doors in 2016, Reach Cyber selected D+P to differentiate it as a public school of choice for students and families in search of a new learning environment. The challenge expanded when in 2020 and 2021, COVID-19 forced everything online and quickly demonstrated that not all virtual classrooms are created equally. With that, D+P’s assignment evolved to help differentiate Reach Cyber as a school designed for online learning success vs. traditional teaching that tried to replicate itself on computer screens.

The Approach

students building wooden toolboxes in a workshop

To accomplish both objectives, storytelling is at the heart of our work. Early on, we built a strategy that illustrates Reach Cyber’s success and expertise by highlighting the stories of Reach Cyber students and faculty. By establishing relationships with counselors and “family mentors” across the state, we created a network that allowed us to mine for compelling stories among the Reach Cyber community and profile the lives of many students and teachers as if we were part of their virtual classrooms. Fast forward to the pandemic era, and that strategy was ready-made for generating additional stories of student and teacher success. In each case, D+P conducted interviews with students and teachers to elicit storylines that bring key Reach Cyber messages to life, including the flexibility the school offers students to pursue their passions – be it entrepreneurship, competitive sports, the performing arts or helping out on their family farms – or overcoming challenges from bullying or illness. With those stories in hand, D+P crafted hyper-local media pitches to the small towns and big cities across the Commonwealth with the aim of enticing other families to explore the benefits of Reach Cyber for their students.

The Results

Success comes in a variety of stories in print, digital and broadcast outlets about the students and the happenings at Reach Cyber across Pennsylvania. Stories range from profiles about students to letters to the editors from satisfied parents to op-eds by senior leadership to feature stories on unique programming offered by the cyber school.