Chester Upland, PA School District Enrollment Exceeds 3,000 Students; School Starts September 3-5

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Since June, the new superintendent in Chester Upland School District has been asking parents and students for their business. Response to enhanced academics and school safety has been strong, with enrollment rising by a third to 3,034 students.

Student enrollment at the Chester Upland Schools has risen to 3,034 – 834 more students than anticipated in June – with schools scheduled to open next week for the 2013-2014 school year, Superintendent Gregory Shannon announced today. Six schools in Chester and Upland will open for business on Tues., Sept. 3, with all K-12 students starting school that day. The start date for Pre-K students will be staggered from Tues. to Thurs., Sept. 3 to 5.

“We are delighted to open our doors to our students in buildings that are fully stocked and fully staffed with certified teachers,” said Supt. Shannon. “All of our schools have never been cleaner, and our principals and teachers are more than ready to get down to the business of providing our students with an excellent education.”

Receiver Joe Watkins credited Shannon and his team of school turnaround specialists with a dramatic change in educational offerings, enhanced security and an improved climate in the schools. He cited the 44 reasons the Superintendent and team developed to improve Chester Upland public schools as attracting students back to the district. More information about the 44 reasons is provided at the school district’s website, http://www.chesteruplandsd.org.

“Our new superintendent and his team of leaders have enhanced academic offerings and built in processes that will greatly improve students’ experiences in school and help them achieve academic success,” Receiver Watkins said.

“Going door-to-door asking parents and students for their business was also key,” Watkins said. He was referring to the unusual approach the Superintendent and other leaders followed all summer. They knocked on doors and talked with residents at local shopping areas, sharing their excitement about the greatly improved academic opportunities for students in all grades as well as their parents and other key features.

As school ended in June, the district’s budget reflected an expected enrollment of 2,200 students. At that level, the district would have been forced to close two schools: the Chester Upland School for the Arts (CUSA) and Main Street Elementary. Both schools will remain open as a result of the increased enrollment and, in fact, are at full capacity.

“Our enrollment has grown so significantly that we’ve had to make adjustments to accommodate all of the students. This is a good problem to have,” said Supt. Shannon. Student enrollment in the district’s STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Math) program to be provided at Showalter was so high that adjustments had to be made to the plan to house all seventh to twelfth graders at Showalter. Seventh graders will be in a special section of Toby Farms dedicated to STEM students. The STEM program was expanded to seventh and eighth graders for the first time this coming school year.

Plans for start times and dates for all schools are as follows:

Stetser Elementary will serve grades Pre-K to 6. Students in K-6 will report for a full day on Sept. 3. Pre-K students whose last names start with A-H will also report Sept. 3. Pre-K students whose last names start with I-P will start Sept. 4, and those whose names start with Q-Z start Sept. 5. The day will run from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Main Street Elementary will serve grades Pre-K to 5. Students in K-5 will report for a full day on Sept. 3. Pre-K students whose last names start with A-H will also report Sept. 3. Pre-K students whose last names start with I-P will start Sept. 4 and those whose names start with Q-Z start Sept. 5. The day will run from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

CUSA Elementary will serve grades Pre-K to 5. Students in K-5 will report for a full day on Sept. 3. Pre-K students whose last names start with A-H will also report Sept. 3. Pre-K students whose last names start with I-P will start Sept. 4 and those whose names start with Q-Z start Sept. 5. The day will run from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

Toby Farms will serve grades 4 to 8, including the seventh grade STEM program. All students will report for a full day from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. on Sept. 3.

STEM at Showalter will serve students in grades 8 to 12. Eighth grade students will report for a full day from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Students in grades 9-12 will report for a full day from 7:25 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Chester High School will serve grades 9 to 12. All students will report for a full day from 7:30 a.m. to 2:23 p.m. on Sept. 3.

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Becky Taylor

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