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StrongMind Story:



Online Learning Consortium

Founded in 2009

Enola, Pennsylvania

Serving PA students in K-12 schools

About Capital Area Online Learning Association

CAOLA is the largest online learning consortium in Pennsylvania, serving 11 Intermediate Units and 140 schools. Since 2009, CAOLA has provided a customizable online learning solution for Pennsylvania districts and schools, serving 115,000 students with 940,000 course enrollments.

CAOLA is a leader in online learning and is a member of prominent online learning organizations, including Quality Matters, the Virtual Learning Leadership Alliance, and the Digital Learning Collaborative.

CAOLA works with local schools to provide online courses and instruction. A CAOLA partnership allows families and students to engage in flexible online learning while remaining enrolled in a local school where students can participate in extracurricular activities and remain part of the school community.


CAOLA offers an extensive catalog of courses for K-12 that are aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic and Core Standards. If a school needs instruction, CAOLA provides high-quality online instruction from a Pennsylvania-certified teacher specially trained in offering online instruction. Districts and schools can also customize courses offered by CAOLA to meet local curriculum requirements. CAOLA works closely with Quality Matters to evaluate online courses and ensure they meet the criteria for high quality and are aligned with the Pennsylvania Academic and Core Standards.

CAOLA supports all students, including English language learners, students with special needs, and students with special circumstances. Course pathways and requirements can be customized to meet the individual needs of students, ensuring that flexible learning is available for all learners.

Partnering with StrongMind

StrongMind provides standards-aligned, research-based, and Digital Promise-certified digital courses for K-12 students in CAOLA partner schools and districts. All courses include a variety of rich media, interactive activities, low to higher-stakes assessments and performance tasks, project-based learning, opportunities for collaboration with teachers and other students, and opt-in scaffolds to support students who need extra help. Full reporting tracks student progress and learning, with unique views for all stakeholders—administrators, teachers, parents, and students. 

CAOLA accesses the courses through the StrongMind instance of Instructure Canvas, a learning management system (LMS). Course users, such as students, teachers, and administrators, log in to the LMS to work in courses, as well as view progress and performance reporting. StrongMind also provides a parent/guardian/mentor role log-in(s) that allows this supportive role to view student courses, completed work in courses, the student grade book, and announcements for the associated student or students. This LMS access is view-only and the parent/guardian/mentor cannot change any coursework, grades, or any other data.

The Canvas LMS integrates with the CAOLA student information system (SIS), Genius. Genius uses an (API) to push enrollments and pull data from Canvas to Genius, providing a seamless course access experience for CAOLA partners. Schools that partner with CAOLA also have access to data from Genius.

StrongMind also provides instruction from highly qualified teachers, as well as initial and ongoing implementation support for students, teachers, and families. Schools offering StrongMind courses will have the opportunity to use their own teachers, a StrongMind teacher, or a combination of both. CAOLA and StrongMind work together to support users and school entities in offering high-quality online learning experiences.

Student award

CAOLA student receiving an achievement award

The Model

CAOLA is an innovative program offering huge benefits for students while they learn from home or another flexible location and still remain a part of the local school community:

  • Students stay enrolled in their local school district
  • Students earn their diplomas from their local school
  • Students can still participate in school-sponsored activities and sports
  • Students choose full-time or single enrollments, whichever meets their goals

CAOLA works for students with a wide variety of needs and goals, including:

  • Students with disabilities that are best served by an online environment
  • Students who need a flexible schedule for their jobs, children, or other family responsibilities
  • Students with health issues or social challenges who would miss a significant amount of class time in a traditional classroom

“Our partnership with Strongmind has been highly beneficial. The comprehensive program enables educators to tailor lessons to suit their student's individual requirements. Moreover, the customer support provided by Strongmind has been positive. They are consistently accessible and ready to assist with any concerns or challenges.”

Holly Brzycki, Supervisor of Online Learning at COALA

CAOLA allows students to select from a wide variety of core courses and electives, some of which may not be offered by their local school. Electives include curriculum in high-demand, high-paying career fields, with some courses preparing students for industry certification while still in high school.

The StrongMind courses are engaging and immersive, including:

  • Rich multimedia, such as videos, audio, and infographics
  • Interactive experiences, including gaming and simulations
  • Project-based learning for solving relevant, real-world problems
  • Opt-in scaffolds to support student when they need it
  • A variety of ways to practice and demonstrate learning

The Outcomes

In the 2022-2023 school year,* CAOLA served 15, 243 students seeking a flexible learning model while still staying enrolled in their local school.

Part-time students Full-time students Course enrollments**
8,878 6,365 115,949

CAOLA courses provided positive impacts for students with the majority of students earning passing grades and credits in 2022-2023.

90% course completion rate Grade of ³70%
82% 69%

* The 2022-2023 school year covered 6/1/22 through 5/31/23.

**CAOLA uses other course providers in addition to StrongMind.

StrongMind has over 20 years of experience supporting online schools and districts in K-12. We know what it takes to build strong communities within flexible learning environments and elevate the learning experience for students.