‘I can work at my own pace’: St. Pete 6th grader advocates for school choice while preparing for high school

WFLA plus

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Allison Ley was reading at a fifth-grade level by the time she was in kindergarten. The now-sixth-grader from St. Petersburg is currently preparing for high school.

“We knew that she had some unique challenges and some unique strengths,” Ley’s mother Melissa said.  

Ley was diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety and severe depressive disorder when she was younger. Shortly thereafter, her mother enrolled her in an online public school called Florida Cyber Charter Academy. 

“I knew she needed more individualized attention. Where she needs acceleration we can accelerate, where she needs remediation, we can remediate,” Melissa Ley explained. 

Instead of a traditional brick and mortar school, 12-year-old Ley sits at her kitchen table every day and takes online courses with a live instructor. She tells 8 On Your Side that for years, she has been able to customize her education to fit her needs. 

“It’s better for me. Now I can work at my own pace. I really feel it is beneficial for not only me but a ton of other kids,” said Ley. 

Ley, who sings in her spare time, is also an advocate for school choice at the state level. 

“In some states, thankfully Florida is one of them, you have school choice where you have charter schools, public schools, virtual schools, home schools and public schools,” Ley said. “If you are getting bullied, falling behind or going too fast, then you can’t switch to a different school that meets your needs. You have to stay in your zoned school and that’s not fair because you can’t be successful.”

Ultimately, Ley is preparing to head to a collegiate high school where she will get her high school diploma and a two-year college degree. 

To learn more about Florida Cyber Charter Academy, visit their website here.  


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