Charter School Receives $629,363 Grant from PA Department of Education

The Pennsylvania Department of Education has selected the Widener Partnership Charter School (WPCS) among 57 schools and organizations statewide to receive a total of $64.4 million as part of the 21st Century Community Learning Challenge Grant. WPCS will receive $629,363 over the next three years.

Established in fall 2006, WPCS is the state's first university-based charter school. The school emphasizes a holistic approach to education focused on low student to teacher ratios for personalized instruction; a commitment to making music, art, drama, foreign language, and physical and health education an integral part of the curriculum; fostering the social and emotional development of students; and partnering with families so they are productively engaged in their child's educational experience. The school has made adequate yearly progress on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment tests each year it has been eligible for testing.

"The purpose of these grants is to fund the establishment and sustainability of community learning centers that provide educational services to students in high-poverty schools," said Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis. "The entities which were selected to receive funding from the 21st Century Community Learning Challenge provide educational experiences that complement, supplement and fill in the gaps of the work being done in the classroom."

According to Dr. Paula T. Silver, chairperson of the WPCS Board of Trustees and acting dean of the Widener University School of Human Service Pofessions, the grant will fund a five-day-per-week extended day instruction program for WPCS students. The program will include academic instruction and cultural enrichment activities, and students will be offered dinner at the end of each program day.

"The community learning centers which applied for funding were required to provide students with a variety of enrichment opportunities that they might not receive at school or at home," Tomalis said. "Applicants provide academic, cultural or artistic activities for children, as well as services to the families of participating students."

The federally-funded grant was established under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The Pennsylvania Department of Education received 119 applications, which were reviewed and scored by a panel that then made grant award recommendations. WPCS is one of only 10 charter schools statewide to receive funding through the program.

"Throughout Pennsylvania, there are countless students who are trapped in schools that are not meeting their academic, social and emotional needs," Tomalis said. "Efforts are being made to transform Pennsylvania's educational establishment for the benefit of every student – however change is not occurring fast enough for a generation of students who we are failing. Thankfully, we have organizations and community leaders who willingly continue to support students in their educational endeavors after the school bell rings."

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener comprises eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,600 students. Visit the university website, www.widener.edu.

 

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