Kelsi Rohrbaugh works best independently.

She's efficient working at her own pace and was not interested in the drama she found as a ninth-grader last year at Northeastern High School.

So instead she enrolled in Northeastern's in-house cyber school program.

"It's what you're supposed to be learning without all the other stuff," Rohrbaugh said.

Her decision wasn't made lightly. First she had to convince her grandmother, Tina Rohrbaugh, and her mother, April Swartz, that she could excel in an online setting.

Both were hesitant at first, but Swartz was happy the in-house cyber option would allow her daughter to participate in all district activities, including walking at graduation in a couple of years.

"I wanted to be a big bawl baby (when that happens)," Swartz said.

And there are other events before graduation, too. Rohrbaugh went to the homecoming dance this fall and can attend all events for Northeastern students. Rohrbaugh's grandmother said she was concerned because she was unsure of how the program worked.

"When she first said something about it, I said, 'We're not doing home-school,'" she said.

Proving herself: Rohrbaugh took it upon herself to dispel other concerns her family members had.

She wakes up and starts on school work almost immediately, keeping a schedule similar to a traditional school day.

Rohrbaugh said the difference is the self-directed nature of her courses: She can complete her assignments in her four classes without waiting for other students to finish.

Rohrbaugh and her family have few complaints about the program. Rohrbaugh waited weeks for her English books, but the family said the fault lies with Apex Learning, the cyber school that contracts with the school, instead of the district itself.

Rohrbaugh is also working out the finer points of learning via the Internet. She needs to use a printer and scanner to complete her work. She has access to both, but using them frequently is one of the main adjustments.

Rohrbaugh said motivation is key for succeeding. She likes the flexibility she has and wants that to continue. She knows if she doesn't do well in the setting, she'll probably have to return to a more traditional classroom.

How it's working: But Rohrbaugh is earning grades consistent with her previous school performance, and she and her family are pleased with how she's doing.

Rohrbaugh plans to continue in the cyber school program through the rest of high school. But she did add one caveat: She wouldn't suggest starting the program in ninth grade.

Rohrbaugh said she thinks it is important to attend high school for at least one year to see what the experience is like before deciding on another option.

Rohrbaugh's grandmother said she is glad the program works for her granddaughter.

"She kind of took off with it," she said.

--Reach Nikelle Snader at