Technology Windfall for Widener Partnership Charter School

Students returning to the Widener Partnership Charter School on September 4 were greeted by new technology in their classrooms. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and the Radnor High School Chester Community Service Club recently donated more than 60 refurbished laptop computers and other technology to the state’s first university-based charter school.
Evangeline Cai
The GSA Mid-Atlantic Region donated 30 laptop computers, three printers and a scanner, while Radnor High School students donated 30 laptop computers and 20 MacBooks, according to Widener Partnership Charter School Principal Darlene Davis.

"Technology is vital to learning and the engagement of students, especially at the elementary school level," Davis said. "These computers will be put to good use in advancing the science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning at the school. We thank the General Services Administration and the students of Radnor High School for their generous donations."

The computers donated by Radnor High School were the result of volunteer work that senior Evangeline Cai did at the charter school. Cai served as a teaching assistant for the last four summers at a reading clinic at the charter school. Her volunteer work prompted her to start the Chester Community Service Club, which is dedicated to raising funds, holding book drives and encouraging Radnor students to volunteer at the charter school's after school program. The club raised money to buy software for the computers, and they worked with the Radnor Microsoft Authorized Refurbishers Club to update the computers and ready them for donation.

"We want the students to take full advantage of the computers to enhance their learning experience and make it much richer," Cai said, who was named a Widener University High School Leadership Award recipient last year for her volunteer work. "Both Radnor and Widener Partnership Charter School are really excited to have this connection between our two communities. These are two very different communities and they both have a lot to learn from each other. It's a very symbiotic relationship."

The GSA donation was related to Chester's role as a pilot city in the White House Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) initiative. In addition to the technology received by Widener Partnership Charter School, the GSA donated 42 laptops to Chester High School in September 2012.

The mission of General Services Administration is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the government and the American people. GSA's Mid-Atlantic region serves Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Southern New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia.

The charter school, which serves grades K through 8, takes a holistic approach to education that emphasizes a low student to teacher ratio, the social and emotional development of each student, a close partnership with parents and caregivers, and the inclusion of music, art, drama, physical and health education and foreign language instruction as integral parts of the curriculum. Because it is affiliated with Widener University, the school receives a variety of supports from the university including education faculty and students who support and enhance the instruction of classroom teachers, and graduate students from social work and clinical psychology who provide a range of services to the children and their families.

Widener University is a private, metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, leadership development and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience. A comprehensive doctorate-granting university, Widener is comprised of eight schools and colleges that offer liberal arts and sciences, professional and pre-professional curricula leading to associate's, baccalaureate's, master's, and doctoral degrees. The university's campuses in Chester, Exton, and Harrisburg, Pa., and Wilmington, Del., serve some 6,500 students. Visit the university website, www.widener.edu.


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Photo:  Evangeline Cai talks to NBC 10 about the Chester Community Service Club and being named a Widener University High School Leadership Award recipient.