Senate Education Committee Visits Chester Charter School

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Chester Community Charter School Welcomed Senators Prior to a Public Hearing on Senate Bill 1156 on Charter School Legislation

Chester Community Charter School: Empowering Children as Learners

I've been an early and consistent supporter of parental choice and for charter schools, and I continue to be impressed by the positive impact that the Chester Community Charter School is having on Chester's young people and their families.

Chester Community Charter School (CCCS), the largest charter school by enrollment in Pennsylvania, recently welcomed the members of the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee and key staff to its campus for a tour, prior to a scheduled public hearing at Widener University on charter school legislation, Senate Bill 1156. Participating Committee members included Sen. Jeffrey Piccola; Sen. Dominic Pileggi, Majority Leader. Representing Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams was Timika Lane, chief counsel for his office. Also in attendance were, Dave Transue, executive director, Senate Education Committee; Diane McNaughton, deputy director, Senate Education Committee; and Eileen Flinn, democratic director, Senate Education Committee.

Chester Community Charter School comprises two campuses – an ‘East Campus’ at East Fifth and Madison Street, here, and a ‘West Campus’ located at 2730 Bethel Road. While visiting the ‘East Campus,’ committee members and staff reviewed the school’s state-of-the-art gymnasium and an academic building which serves the needs of 475 kindergarten and first grade students. Immediately thereafter, they traveled to the ‘West Campus,” where they met with students from the school’s fourth-, fifth-and sixth-grade classes and were shown the school’s new computer lab, infirmary and cafeteria facilities.

During the tour, which was led by Vahan Gureghian, CEO, Charter School Management and Steven E. Lee, CEO, Chester Community Charter School, the Committee members were reminded the school had recently earned an Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) award designation, as a result of its students’ performance on the Pennsylvania State System of School Assessment (PSSA). They were also apprised of the school’s One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program, which provides laptop computers to all third-through-eighth-grade students, for use in their classrooms; and given details about CCCS’ developing arts and music programs.

Commenting on charter schools, generally, and CCCS, specifically, Senator and Gubernatorial Candidate Anthony Hardy Williams, whose schedule prevented his participation on the tour, said, “I’ve been an early and consistent supporter of parental choice and for charter schools, and I continue to be impressed by the positive impact that the Chester Community Charter School is having on Chester’s young people and their families.”

Reacting to the visit to the school by the members of the Senate Education Committee, Steven E. Lee said, “It is always a great pleasure to highlight the achievement of our students and to introduce people outside of our school community to our facilities and programs. With the recent negative media attention regarding charter schools, we, here, at CCCS, are always anxious to show our legislators and the general public a charter school system that really works.” He continues, “Our children are happy and they continue to learn. Equally important is that our staff is dedicated to bettering the lives of the people of this community. Our accomplishments speak volumes and we will continue telling our unique story to anyone who will listen.”

Chester Community Charter School opened its doors on September 9, 1998, serving 97 students from its modest four meeting rooms, in the lobby of the Howard Johnson Hotel. Since then, CCCS has steadily increased to over 2500 students in ten state-of-the-art buildings. Recently, Chester Community Charter School provided personal laptop computers, through the One Laptop per Child program, to 1400 of its students in grades 3 through 8.

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Jennifer Chapple
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