Development of Charter School

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C. Describe how student evaluation will be used to improve student achievement and attain the stated learning objectives.

Explanation: Describe your commitment to high academic standards for all students; well-developed evaluation program for either school-developed or standardized testing; use of the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (Pennsylvania System of State Assessment (PSSA)) or the PA AlternateSchool Assessment (PASA); and an analysis of assessment results to improve student performance.

 

The Board of Trustees will meet regularly and receive reports from the school’s CEO at each meeting regarding student progress toward the school’s learning goals, as measured by standardized tests, student test scores from grade level rubrics, and evidence from student portfolios and projects. In addition, the Board of Trustees will conduct an Annual Review of student achievements relative to the goals and objectives of the school each year. The results of this Review will be made public in an Annual Report, and a copy will be submitted to the School District and to the PA Department of Education by August 1 each year. An outside evaluator will be solicited within the first three years of operation to examine student performance relative to the school’s operations and to provide feedback on whether the school’s emphasis and resources are most effectively organized.

Results from the Pennsylvania System of State Assessment (PSSA) in its respective grades will be particularly scrutinized, as they provide information on proficiency and reference points to other students in their age group.  Results of these tests will be reviewed thoroughly by the Board of Trustees, by the CEO and by the teachers within two months of their receipt. Information from the school-wide tests will be included in the Annual Report.

Results from these tests will be used by teachers and other staff members in professional development sessions to review the school’s progress toward meeting its high academic standards. These sessions will identify areas where student performance is particularly weak, and enable teachers and other staff to develop corrective action plans to improve the focus and direction of the school.

5. School Community:

A. Describe the relationship of your school with the surrounding community.

The Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber CS planning group considers that involvement of the community and the general public, particularly parents and students, in the development of the design for the school is essential to our ultimate success.  We will take a spiraling approach to community involvement, beginning by identifying a core of founding organizations and individuals who are committed to our mission of providing an alternative learning experience based on a cyber-education format. For example, we will begin by contacting the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Wagner Free Institute for Science Education, Black Alliance for Educational Options, and other forward-thinking organizations that would be interested in our mission.

We will maintain a database of interested organizations from which we will develop partnerships, particularly for the enhancement of the science and technology education aspects of our program.

We will continue to hold a series of community meetings in a variety of physical locations in the State throughout the application process to share our ideas with the community, gather feedback, and to recruit parents and students to the school. The initial meetings will be held in Philadelphia, and Delaware counties and then adjacent counties as need and interest expand.

The founders of Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber Charter School followed a comprehensive plan for involving the community in the development of the school’s design and educational program. During this program, the founders involved the community in the following ways:

1.  Assessed community interest in the CCS

  • Contacted community groups to discuss the possibilities for forming a new charter school.
  • Held informational meetings for the community to discuss the activities and opportunities surrounding the founding of the CCS.
  • Conducted a survey of potential parents for the charter school

2.  Informed the local community about the founding of the CCS

  • Established an interim Administrative/School Information Office (eg, office equipment and telephone in donated space).
  • Contacted community organizations to discuss plans for the CCS.
  • Contacted local newspapers to alert them to the development of the new school.
  • Developed and posted flyers and brochure regarding the CCS and contact information.
  • Held informational meetings for students, parents, and older community members about the school to obtain their input, online and in community centers.

3.  Built a coalition of interested community members

  • Developed a database of interested community members
  • Recruited individuals to serve on the Board of Trustees for the school.
  • Circulated petitions in support of the school to the community.
  • Recruited local organizations to serve as partners for the school.

4.  Recruited local students and parents to participate in the school

  • Developed application forms for students
  • Held focus groups for prospective students and parents

B. Describe the nature and extent of parent involvement in the school’s mission.

Parents are part of the community, too.  Therefore, parents will have a great role to play in the school:

  • Parents are working professionals who will have something to share with students;
  • Parents will naturally market the viability and credibility of Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber;
  • Parents may have educational experiences of their own when they partake in such activities as accompanying their child on field trips and special programs when they report for standardized testing.

C. Describe procedures established to review complaints of parents regarding operation of the charter school.

Explanation: Describe expectations of family members (or guardians) to be active participants in their children’s education and the integration plan of the school to collaborate with other community organizations.

 

Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber will maintain an open-door policy with its parents and, thus, will provide a variety of avenues for parents to register complaints or concerns and to ask questions about the school’s progress toward its goals.  These avenues include the following:  (a) talking with a teacher and/or administrator, (b) sending a comment via the school’s website, (c) and entering a comment during the public comment section of a Board meeting.  All grievances will be handled expeditiously and diplomatically with the intention of bringing those involved in the conflict to a consensus and a resolution. Commonwealth Education Connections has established a procedure for addressing complaints and concerns parents may have regarding academic, attendance, and social programs regarding their child.

Step 1.  Communicate openly and frankly with the child’s teacher(s), with an open mind toward resolving the issue.  If the parent is not satisfied, go to

Step 2. The parent should arrange a conversation with the teacher’s supervisor.  If the issue remains unsettled, go to

Step 3. The parent should contact the Head of school.  If the issue is still not resolved. Go

Step 4.  Contact the Commonwealth Education Connections Board

The Commonwealth Education Connections Board believes that staff working with the student is far more knowledgeable about the family and any academic or social problems the child is experiencing.  Therefore they are a last resort for this type of problem.  However, the Board will respond immediately to any emergency problems or concerns from parents or students.

In matters concerning special needs students (i.e., those with Individualized Education Plans), due process proceeding will be followed in compliance with all applicable federal and state laws.

 

6. Extra-curricular activities (athletics, publications and organizations):

A. Describe the program of extra-curricular activities planned for the charter School.

Note: Charter schools shall be permitted, if otherwise qualified, to be members of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.

The school will provide a number of extra-curricular activities, which will be integrated with the core school program to support the attainment of students’ academic and non-academic goals. While students will help to select and to develop the actual extra-curricular activities based on their needs and interests, several types of activities will be present: sports, visual and performing arts, technology studies, and reading clubs. The school’s staff will strongly encourage participation in the extra-curricular program. Activities will occur primarily after the core school hours. A brief outline of potential elements for the extra-curricular program is provided below.

Sports:  Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber will research and identify sports programs for parents and students that are available to them throughout the community.  Every attempt will be made to identify sports teams that are co-educational whenever possible to reduce discrimination and bias that are often by-products of the sports system.

Arts: Music, visual, and performing arts may be available for those who are interested in pursuing their artistic development outside of the core program. Painting, dance, sculpture, theater, and music studies will be available at varying times of the year.

Technology: Becoming computer literate is important to all students, given the increased importance in the burgeoning information economy and the importance of computers for access to and analysis of the media. Programs will therefore be available for students to learn and to develop their skills while working with computers on projects for their core curriculum, as well as for students who want to learn more advanced techniques of computer programming and engineering, such as Microsoft Certified Software Operators programs.

Reading club: Should additional grant funding become available, a before-school program will provide an opportunity for students who wish to participate in reading activities, in English and other languages as well. Students wanting to participate in a before-school program might be assigned to a reading group of students from mixed grades each month. The groups could meet to discuss works of literature with adult facilitators each month. Reading discussions will emphasize the lives of children in different places, cultures and countries, and familiarize students with current problems and achievements in different regions.

Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber will work through our CEO to identify sports, arts and educational activities in the after-school hours for students in grades K-12.  Long- and short-term activities will be sought for our students that provide enrichment and instruction that support the School’s mission and goals. Parents and students will be informed of these activities including the dates, times, enrollment forms and fees so that they may make the best possible choices, should they choose activities provided by outside organizations.

B. Describe whether any agreements have been entered into or plans developed with the local school district regarding participation of the charter school students in extracurricular activities within the school district.

Explanation: Identify organized activities that complement the mission of the charter school and the programs in the school district of students’ residence.

 

The school does not have any plans to work with the school districts in which the students reside in providing extracurricular activities for our students.  However, the school will not rule out any future opportunities to form partnerships or provide fees for student participation in the students’ neighborhood district.

 

7. Technology Support:

A. Describe how you will improve student achievement through effective uses of technology.

Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber’s educational program will use computer technologies to provide a world class education to elementary, middle level and secondary students wherever they live in Pennsylvania. We will create a program that draws on the particular strength of computers for planning and managing the learning process, for facilitating communication between teachers, parents and students, and delivering high quality, multimedia content to students. Each student’s learning program is designed and managed by an assigned teacher with expertise in teaching students of their skill level. The student’s parent or guardian serves as a monitor and guide overseeing the student’s work and assisting with planning and assessment. The student and parent use a school-supplied computer and Internet access to download the majority of their lessons from the school’s website.

The school’s academic program is built primarily around the MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED.com curriculum, which has been developed from the award-winning Core Knowledge Sequence. While the Core Knowledge Foundation provides curricular guidelines, MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED goes much further by providing a fully developed and comprehensive curriculum, including complete lesson plans and assessments for a 180-day school year, online lessons with teaching aids, and a comprehensive array of offline materials.. The program includes detailed instructional guides, clear presentation of lessons, a comprehensive on-line help system, technical support, optional challenge problems, secondary lessons, and embedded teaching tips.  MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED’s Planning, Progress, and Attendance tools facilitate developing a schedule and generating lesson plans for each student, and monitoring their progress.
The MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED curriculum lessons include:

  • Clearly defined learning objectives.
  • Step-by-step, easy-to-follow procedures for hands-on activities.
  • Creative ideas for alternative teaching approaches.
  • Materials to prepare and gather.
  • Keyword definitions and tips and strategies for pronunciation.
  • Suggestions for optional activities and readings beyond the lesson.

The teacher uses the MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED planning tools to provide a recommended schedule for lessons. These include a Daily Plan, Weekly Plan, Lesson List and Materials List. The Progress tool gives teachers, students and parents a look at both completion of lessons and mastery of lessons that have assessments. There are two ways to look at progress: a complete lesson overview and a detailed view. In the latter, one can view lessons by status, get information about the assessments, view lesson objectives, or go directly to the lesson. The Attendance tool allows one to record the amount of time the student spends in school. The number of minutes for each subject are recorded, and the Attendance tool automatically calculates the total number of hours and minutes for each day, year to date, and the total of number of days in school.

In addition to the on-line lessons, multimedia content, and planning and monitoring tools, the MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED curriculum includes a large number of more traditional tools, such as History textbooks and mathematics manipulatives. Students are expected to spend less than 50% of their learning time learning directly at the computer. MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED lessons are delivered via the Internet. Generally, children in grades K-5 do about 20 percent to 30 percent of the work online. They do most of the work offline-they read books, solve math problems on paper, draw, and conduct science experiments. As children get older and their reading skills improve, instruction and activities will involve increased independence and computer use. However, offline work will always be essential.

Parents/guardians will be given comprehensive training in how to make the most of the on-line planning tools and curriculum materials for their child. In addition, our school will facilitate the collective outings of groups of parents and students for important socialization activities. Students may participate in school outings (e.g., to historical sites, museums, zoos), picnics, and other social events throughout the school year. Local clusters of students and parents will be encouraged to get together on a regular informal basis in their areas. Student and parent interaction and communication will be supported through our website, with a particular focus on how to become experts in the use of our curriculum for teaching and learning.

Assessments are managed through the online MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED system. They involve gathering information about student progress, strengths, and weaknesses in order to provide the best possible education for each child. CECCCS will employ the following assessments, evaluations, and tests as part of its educational program:

Placement assessments. In math and reading, these assessments place students into the appropriate point in the curriculum.
Lesson assessments. These are designed to assess mastery of lesson objectives and determine whether students should go on to the next lesson or receive additional instruction. Generally, these contain several short items, depending on the lesson.
Unit assessments. These are designed to assess mastery of the lessons in a unit (such as “Fractions” or “Ancient Egypt”) and determine whether a student should receive additional instruction on content covered in a unit. They are usually comprised of about 20 questions.
Semester evaluations. End-of-course evaluations provide information on what has been accomplished during the semester.
Teacher conferences and informal reviews. On a regular basis, teachers check in with students and parents to review progress and determine ways to boost student performance.
PSSA. The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) is a standardized test used to measure a student’s attainment of the state’s academic standards in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, and to assist schools in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their academic programs. Every Pennsylvania student is assessed in reading and math in grades 3, 5, 8, and 11, and in writing in grades 6, 9, and 11. Additional assessments will be administered as required by the State of PA and the federal NCLB Law.

Standardized exams. CECCCS will utilize standardized exams to help the school evaluate student performance.

Each semester, students will be issued a report card, reflecting their completed work, their progress towards stated goals, and results from quantitative assessments.

B. Describe the technical support that will be provided to students and parents.

Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber will use a multi faceted approach to provide technical support to students and parents including, but not limited to the following:

  • In depth student and parent training sessions with expert technicians and educators.  Training sessions will be held during each enrollment period with regularly scheduled sessions during the remainder of the school year.
  • Curriculum-related technical support online and email support
  • School staff assistance online during regular school hours

Every effort will be made to ensure that both students and parents have access to the technical support required to maximize achievement and student productivity while on line. Tech support for the computer hardware and software provided to students will be provided by those hardware and software companies (e.g., by Hewlett Packard for provided HP printers). Technical support for the curriculum will be provided by the school and by MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED.com through a telephone “hotline” with a toll free number 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year; and/ or through email and online chat support. The hours of available support and types of support provided to parents and students will be adjusted based on the demand for such support, and feedback obtained from those parents and students during regular surveys.

C. Describe the policy for ensuring the privacy and security measures that will guarantee the confidentiality of data gathered online.

A registration ID, username, and password will be given to each student that is admitted to CECCCS. The MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED curriculum is also password protected.  In addition, the school base server that houses student data will be protected by a firewall, which will only allow for needed and specified connections. This will protect against outside attacks and close possible security holes.

The Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber Technology Director will be responsible for maintaining and assigning passwords and access to electronic records for the school’s staff. The Special Education Supervisor is responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the student records. For additional information see Appendix B – Policy and Procedures Manual.

D. Describe the methods to ensure authenticity of student work submitted and proctoring of exams.

Placement tests, semester assessments, and all standardized tests will be done in person.  School staff will be responsible for the scheduling and proctoring of all assessments.  Parents may also request that their children be assessed in-person at a hub regardless of the format.

E. Describe equipment such as hardware, software, and Internet connections to be provided to students.

Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber students will access our school’s website and the MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED online curriculum using personal computers, printers, software and related technologies loaned to the families by the school.  Families will have the option to use the Internet connection of their choice, although a high speed connection will be recommended. The school will reimburse families for the cost of their Internet service.

Enrolled students will be provided with a computer system (including computer, printer, software, and Internet reimbursement program) to support the learning process. These computer systems and materials are the property of the school and must be returned when the student leaves. The school will arrange for technical support and troubleshooting for these systems (See section I.7.E. above). Computers will follow these technical specs, at minimum:

  • Processor Speed: 500 MHz or better
  • RAM: 128MB (minimum)
  • Disk space: 10 GB or more
  • CDROM: 16X
  • Monitor: 15-inch display
  • Video: SVGA (800 X 600 pixel resolution)
  • Audio: 16-bit sound card
  • Modem: 56 kbps (minimum), Ethernet, (matched to connection chosen)
  • Microphone and speakers
  • Operating system: Windows 2000 or XP
  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer
  • Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® 6
  • Real Player® (Version 7)
  • Macromedia Flash™
  • QuickTime®
  • Whiteboard software
  • Word processing and spreadsheet software
  • Access to Power-Glide® software
  • Access to Technokids® software

II. NEEDS ASSESSMENT

1. Statement of Need:

A. Why is there a need for this type of school?

The number of parents choosing to educate their children primarily at home or in small learning environments has grown tremendously over the past decade, as part of a larger movement of parents taking advantage of new educational options for their children. Many parents are choosing to educate their children in alternative ways from their traditional neighborhood public schools with the hope that that education can better prepare their child for a rapidly changing future (Smith, June 9, 2003, Number of black children taught at home growing, Washington Times B4). However, in many cases, parents making those choices must sacrifice some of the advantages of a larger school system in order to achieve a more personalized experience for their child. As the demands of a high tech, science-driven world become increasingly pressing, many students are suffering from a lack of meaningful, focused, consistent education in science and digital technologies (ZUNIGA and RODRIGUES, Oct. 31, 2003,  Schools boosting tech skills, but reports show minorities lack computers at home),The Houston Chronicle. Across the State of Pennsylvania, some students are being exposed to a science and technology education that will make them leaders in the field. But, those opportunities are inconsistent, are not available to many students, and are scarce in charter schools because of limited resources.

As the numbers of poor students and minority students grow in our State, and more science and technology jobs are contracted out to other States and other countries, it is becoming increasingly important that learners are provided an opportunities to learn a higher level of science and technology and other important academic skills that will ensure them a job in their increasingly tech-dependent world. Opportunities are being developed for students in many districts, such as the new high tech school Microsoft is developing with the School District of Philadelphia. However, this school will be limited in scope, will not open until at least 2006, and will be limited to a few students of high school age. We contend that a cyber school with web-based learning focused on intense hands-on science and technological skills is needed to provide the full advantage of fast-developing new research and learning technologies to children, beginning in the first years of elementary school.

B. Explain why the charter school model is an appropriate vehicle to address this need.

Explanation: Provide recognition of potential opportunities to improve service and expand choices for students and parents.

The Charter School, with its greater autonomy, is free to design a curriculum. The Charter School will exhibit the elements of an effective school – strong leadership, adequate resources at the school level, a high-caliber faculty, an attractive setting, a proven curriculum and pedagogy, an orderly, friendly environment, parental involvement, and a distinctive mission and culture. Furthermore, because of its flexibility in curriculum design and its tailored teaching methodologies, the charter school is better suited for inclusion and LEP and special needs students. Moreover, the medium of instruction deliver through the cyber web is attractive and suitable to parents who prefer an alternative to the traditional school building and tradition curriculum.

2. School Demographics:

A. What are the school’s enrollment projections for the first five years?

What is the school’s ultimate enrollment goal? What grades will be served? What is the age of kindergarten entry and the age of beginners entry? How many students are expected to be in each grade or grouping?

In its first year of operation, the Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber will serve 900 students in grades K-8.  The school will add 300 students and one additional grade annually until the school reaches a projected student population of 2,100 in Year 5, when the school will become a K-12 institution. After the initial five years of operation, the curriculum and the school’s reputation will be sufficiently established to make it a vehicle for recruiting and marketing. It is anticipated that the school population will increase to meet enrollment demands.  In order to enter the Kindergarten class, students must be four years, five months old by September 1 of the enrollment year and beginners must be five years five months old.

REMOVE CHART BELOW AND REPLACE WITH NEW CHART

 

A breakdown of the students by grade and year of operation is provided in the table below.

KK 1st Grade 2nd Grade 3rd Grade 4th Grade 5th Grade 6th Grade 7th Grade 8th Grade 9th Grade 10th Grade 11th Grade 12th Grade Total Enrollment
Year 1 K-8 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 NA NA NA NA 900
Year 2 K-9 120 120 120 120 120 120 120 120 120 120 NA NA NA 1200
Year 3 K-10 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 NA NA NA NA NA 1500
Year 4 K-11 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 NA NA NA NA 1800
Year 5 K-12 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 NA NA NA 2100

B. Describe the community or region where the school will be located.

CECCCS operations will be located throughout the state of Pennsylvania.  The school will serve students from all socio economic levels.  For many of the children who live in these communities, the following grim statistics are a descriptive of their daily existence and have far-reaching consequences for their future adult lives:

  • 46% of the population lives below the federal poverty level.
  • At least 33% of the population is unemployed or under-employed. This number would be much higher if it were to include those part-time workers seeking full-time and potential workers who have given up hope and no longer seek employment.
  • 24% of the houses in the community are abandoned. Some families and even senior citizens reside in homes that are the only inhabited dwellings on their block. The vacant structures are often used by drug dealers and others for criminal activity. Some abandoned houses are used by the drug and alcohol-addicted homeless for shelter.
  • 58% of the area’s school students drop-out of high school.
  • 50-70% of the area’s adolescents reside in homes with absent parents, (or only custodial grandparents), or homes with a strictly matriarchal structure lacking any positive male role models, a particularly difficult situation for maturing young black men and women.
  • Many youth who live in this part of the city confront the reality of making “easy money” by dealing drugs and larceny. The enterprising young men who make it to work-age have difficulties finding and/ or retain a job. Many are conflicted upon seeing vast profits accrue by those who are willing to deal drugs and to participate in other illegal activities.
  • Young women in this area face severely heightened chances of early pregnancy for which they are unprepared. More than 50% of the homes in the neighborhood are headed by single women; the overwhelming majority of whom are under the age of 23 and live below the poverty level.
  • The children in the community’s schools are among the most disadvantaged in their counties and have the highest truancy and drop-out rates.

The challenge for CECCCS is to motivate these families to want an education and to prepare them socially and academically to become self-sufficient ready to enter the world of work or college.

C. Why was this location selected? Are there other locations suitable to the needs and focus of the school?

Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber will focus on areas that have high minority and special needs populations, a population that has struggled to cross the expanding digital divide.  As the numbers of poor students and minority students grow in our State, and more science and technology jobs are contracted out to other States and other countries, it is becoming increasingly important that everyone be provided an opportunity to learn a higher level of science and technology and other important academic skills that will ensure them a job in their increasingly tech-dependent world.  Such skill development and preparation must begin in the early grades.

D. Describe any unique demographic characteristics of the student population to be served, including primary languages spoken.

Explanation: Provide a description of the students to be served and the community in which the school will be located.

The student group targeted for the Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber program will be ethnically diverse.  English will be the dominant tongue (although not required to take advantage of the MCGRAW-HILL CONNECTED curriculum.) The Powerglide curriculum will provide transitional bilingual education in order to accelerate English Language Learners’ transition to reading, writing and speaking in English. The school will target low-income students from urban areas, although we will be open to serving all K-12 students across the State. The main school building will be located in West Philadelphia.

 

3. District Relations/Evidence of Support:

A. What efforts have you made to notify the district(s) from which your charter school would draw students?

Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber Co-founders have notified the School District of Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, the area around Chester Upland School District, Delaware County, and some areas in Chester County of the possibility of creating a cyber charter school. Additionally, the Founding Coalition sent a letter to the Superintendents around the State of Pennsylvania formally indicating our plans to apply for a cyber charter to open in fall 2005.
B. What efforts will be implemented to maintain a collaborative relationship with school districts?

Note: Letters of intent must be sent to all school districts from which the charter school could reasonably expect to draw students.

The Founding Coalition indicated its desire to maintain a collaborative relationship with the School Districts in Philadelphia, Delaware, Chester and Bucks Counties.

Furthermore, the Founding Coalition recognizes that communication between the school and the District is crucial to maintaining a positive relationship.  Therefore, the charter school plans to provide the district with accurate enrollment data, to cooperate with district administrators wishing to visit the school, or to collect data from the school, and to maintain open lines of communication between the school and the local school districts.

C. Convey the scope of community backing for the proposed charter school and its founding coalition. Document community support among teachers, parents, students, community members, institutional leaders and others, through the use of letters of support, surveys, or other tangible means.

Explanation: Document efforts to foster open communications with local school districts; evidence that the founders inspire the confidence of their targeted community; evidence that the program provides an attractive educational alternative to students and parents; and evidence that the breadth of community support extends beyond the core group of founders.

Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber’s Founding Coalition believes that the key to a successful charter school is community support.  However, this support must be stronger than individuals merely agreeing to sign a petition in support of the school.  This support must be sustainable.  In other words, a successful school requires individuals and community organizations willing to invest in the school.  This investment includes parents who intend to enroll their children in the school, community members interested in volunteering in the school, and community groups interested in partnering with the school financially, programmatically, or otherwise.

Thus, the group is prepared to launch a campaign to cultivate sustainable community support for our charter school plan.  The Commonwealth Education Connections Cyber Charter School has developed close alliances with a number of prominent organizations and schools throughout the City of Philadelphia and the metropolitan region.  These relationships are intended to benefit the charter school and its partners.  In addition, the partnerships are designed to strengthen and to help the school to meet its mission and address all stated goals.

The following schools, institutions, and community groups have expressed interest in establishing a working relationship with the Charter School.  The Honorable Donna Reed-Miller, Council Person for the 8th District in Philadelphia, has also been generous in her support. Many of the following supporters have attended meetings to show their interest and support for CECCCS. A review of our records has shown that no documentation was requested; however some documents of support and volunteer services have been given to the founders of the cyber charter school from some of the following groups and persons:

  •                  Cornell Smith, National Automotive Group
  •                  Julian Phelps Chalker
  •                  Meghan Allshouse
  •                  Betty Elliot
  •                  Marcia Waller
  •                  Mark Williams
  •                  Beverly Collquitt, RN
  •                  Ernestine J. Rouse
  •                  Mira Jackson
  •                  Beverly White
  •                  Lisa Rios
  •                  Gayle Daniels, TLRC Group
  •                  Kathryn K. Makar
  •                  Joan Regina Woods
  •                  Courteney Knight
  •                  Helen Hoffner, HolyFamilyCollege
  •                  Whymon Simmons, Pastor
  •                  Thomas Fields
  •                  The Pen and Pencil Arts Group
  •                  Dorothy Thomas
  •                  Ira S. Davis, Sr., Ira Davis Storage Company Inc.
  •                  Mt.Zion United MethodistChurch, Darby, Pa
  •                  Citizens Bank
  •                  Rosalind Lewis, Lewis and Bryd Public Relations, Ltd.
  •                  Malik Sherrod
  •                  ZionBaptistChurch
  •                  Delta Associates
  •                  Chase J. Evans, Chase Mentors LLC
  •                  Mt.CarmelBaptistChurch
  •                  Kappa Legal Services
  •                  Antonia McJett
  •                  Lori Dixon, CRNP
  •                  Arnita Dacres
  •                  Robin A. Conboy, YoungScholarsCharterSchool

The following individuals have submitted letters of support:

  •                  Christopher R. Cabungcal, Motorola
  •                  Tiffani Cunningham
  •                  Myra Corbin
  •                  Jimmy Diggs
  •                  Regina Jones
  •                  Shirley Ormes
  •                  Norma Robinson
  •                  Andrew Delgado
  •                  Arnita Medley
  •                  Anthony Smoot
  •                  KathleenP. Suloff
  •                  Judy Munz
  •                  Sherri Derr
  •                  William M. McLaughlin
  •                  Rubye E. Lawhon
  •                  Lula Waller
  •                  Ronald White
  •                  Jean R. Pharaud
  •                  Vonetta W. Harris
  •                  Mariya Zaychik
  •                  Deborah King
  •                  Deana Levy

Services include certified medical staff who have agreed to provide medical evaluations, such as auditory, visual, and other medical evaluations, real estate developers who have agreed to help us find locations for testing throughout the state of Pennsylvania, educators who will monitor evaluations, professionals who can provide staff development in the area of technology, planning, various content areas, and parent conferences, tutoring, and curriculum development, computer professionals who will help troubleshoot problems, train, and make repairs, individuals who will recruit staff and students, assist in fund raising projects, and conduct marketing for the school, writers that will assist in grant writing, and individuals that will provide family law counseling.

We have attained an additional 700 signatures, 1500 in total, of individuals that support the implementation of the Commonwealth Education Connections CyberCharterSchool.

Ongoing efforts are being made to establish partnerships with schools that exist within close proximity of the potential site.

Copies of the letters of support are attached to this application as Appendix C.

III. GOVERNANCE

1. Profile of Founding Coalition:

A. Describe the make-up of the group or partnership that is working together to apply for a charter, including the names of the founders, their background and experiences, and references for each.

Dorothy June Brown, Ed.D.

The leader of the founding coalition, Dr. Dorothy June Brown, has served in the field of education for over thirty years.  While she is currently the Executive Director of Main Line Academy, Dr. Brown’s previous professional experiences include teaching and supervisory positions in elementary, secondary, and higher education.  On an administrative level, Dr. Brown has served as the principal of an elementary school and a school for alternative education.  Additionally, she has held the position of Director of Dissemination and Diffusion, a research based program designed to assist educators in developing model educational programs and disseminating them to schools and agencies.  Dr. Brown is a certified educator, special educator, school administrator and school psychologist.  In addition to her work with children, Dr. Brown has participated in the Rockefeller Foundation School Superintendent’s Training Program, taught at Antioch Graduate School, served as a consultant to the Lippincott Publishing Company and worked as Director of Human Resources at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Brown’s wide-ranging responsibilities have provided her with experience in the selection, training and supervision of staff.  They have also honed her skills as a professional communicator.  In the course of her career, she has designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated programs, developed budgets and disseminated information through television appearances, radio talk shows, national educational conferences and other public forums.

In addition to her job related activities, Dr. Brown devotes many volunteer hours to causes, which aid the disabled.  In 1977, she was appointed as a Pennsylvania Hearing Officer with the responsibility of mediating cases related to the appropriate programming and placement of exceptional children.  Her civic mindedness and willingness to serve have been recognized with appointments to the boards of numerous agencies that serve the people of the Philadelphia area.  These include:  1) Camden County Mental Health Board, 1965; 2) Zoological Society of Philadelphia, 1977; 3) Temple University Health Science Center/Hospital and medically related professional schools, 1978; 4) Fairmount Park Commission, 1977; 5) Philadelphia Art Commission, 1988; and 6) Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine, 1987.  President George Bush appointed her to a five-year term on the National Advisory Panel on Education in 1990.  This panel determines policy, standards, curriculum and methodology for special education schools on government installations.

Dr. Brown’s grants and awards include the Rockefeller Foundation School Superintendent’s Training Award and the Kellogg Award, from Yale University. In May of 1976, she was honored by the Philadelphia Daily News for exemplary service to the education of Philadelphia’s school age children.

She is currently the CEO of the Laboratory Charter School of Communication and Languages. The Laboratory Charter School recently received the 2004 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Award. Dr. Brown was also one of five school administrators in the United States to receive the Bell Award in 2004.

William H. Brown, III Esq.

William Brown is an attorney with over forty years in private practice.  In addition to his work as an attorney, he has had direct involvement with the development of a school, Main Line Academy, having served both as Vice President and President of its Board of Directors.  Additionally, he has served as President of the National Black child Development Institute.

Joan Woods Chalker, Ed.D. 

Dr. Chalker received her doctorate in the area of Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Pennsylvania and is certified as a teacher and school principal.  She has been involved in education on both a professional and volunteer basis for more than twenty-five years and has most recently been employed as an administrator for a private school.  In addition to her work as a teacher, supervisor, and administrator, Dr. Chalker has participated in writing and implementing curriculum on the K – 12 level.  She has also developed and implemented vocational training programs for use by the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation in preparing adults with disabilities for employment.  These programs have been licensed by the Commonwealth’s Department of Labor.  Her volunteer activities have involved her in the preparation of newsletters, and the oversight of parenting courses and drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs.

Courteney Knight

Mr. Knight came to teaching after a long career in the business world where he worked in various supervisory positions, as well as budgeting and auditing positions. Mr Knight has a Master of Science Degree in Transportation Planning and Engineering, an MBA in Finance, and is presently completing the dissertation requirements for a PHD in Education Research and Supervision.  He has taught at both the high school and elementary school levels.

John Goulding

Mr. Goulding received his Bachelor’s Degree from Millersville University.  After graduating from Millersville, he started his teaching career as a 5th grade teacher in Trenton, NJ.  While serving as an elementary teacher, he attended Rowan University and was awarded a Master’s Degree and became certified as a Reading Teacher/Specialist.  In addition, he attended Rider University and earned degrees and certifications in the field of school administration. As a result of his graduate work at Rider University, Mr. Goulding is additionally certified as a school supervisor and elementary/secondary principal.

His training and certifications in the field of reading enabled him to earn a position as a Title 1 Reading Specialist. As a result of his involvement in the Title 1 Reading Programs, Mr. Goulding was given a promotion to Supervisor of Reading for the Trenton Public Schools.  In this central administrative capacity, Mr. Goulding provided direction to the district’s reading and mathematics programs as Supervisor and Director of Title 1.  He was the primary proposal writer and budget manager for all state and federally funded programs.   His central office accomplishments included the writing and implementation of the first Title 1 School-wide Project in the State of New Jersey, and the creation of the district’s original curriculum based instructional guides.

During school year 1992, he was promoted to principal at Joyce Kilmer Elementary, again, in Trenton, NJ.   During his 9-year tenure in this school, Mr. Goulding instituted a Title 1 School-wide Program, which enabled the school to reduce pupil/teacher ratios during reading instruction for all students.  This school became widely acclaimed as the first 200 day, year-round program in the northeast.   As an advocate of the K-8 school structure, he was instrumental in addressing the community desire to change Kilmer from a Pre-K to 5 schools into a Pre-K through 8 magnet school.  Joyce Kilmer was a school that consistently met or exceeded New Jersey Department of Education mandated levels of academic achievement and became known for its high academic expectations.

Mr. Goulding retired from the Trenton Public Schools in July of 2000 after 33 years of service.  He spent the following year working as a consultant to several schools in Trenton and the test development company known as the American Institute for Research (A.I.R.).  In addition, he was recruited by the College of New Jersey to serve as an instructor (Adjunct Professor) to a cluster of student teachers.  As a Cluster Supervisor, his duties included evaluating student progress and teaching a seminar on effective instructional strategies.

During the 2001-2004 School Year, Mr. Goulding has served as a Site Director for the Laboratory Charter School of Communication and Languages.  Over the course of his career, he has been a presenter at many international conferences including the International Reading Association and Year-round Education Association.

 

Alex Schuh, Ph.D. 

 

Dr. Schuh holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied policy research and evaluation, collaborative learning, and the use of computer media for learning.  He received his Baccalaureate from Yale University in Cultural Anthropology. His expertise is in multiple areas of youth development, including organizational development, education policy, quantitative and qualitative research methods, and computer-based learning. He has been a teacher in both Middle and High Schools. Since 1992, he has helped to design and establish more than 23 charter schools across the country, including a charter school based on the ideas of emotional intelligence and a virtual charter school for distance learning.

Dr. Schuh is committed to designing the school’s learning plan, academic accountability plan, and curriculum. He is currently the President of FRONTIER21 Education Solutions (www.frontier21.net).

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