Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Pennsylvania Charter Schools Program Grant

Bear Creek Community Charter School is the proud recipient of a 2021 federal grant under the Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter School Programs Grant, commonly referred to as the PACSP Grant, through the United States Department of Education. The grant program is administered by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools. The grant award for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will total $30 million over the grant period 2021 through 2025, and will support the development, expansion and replication of at least 18 high-quality public charter schools in Pennsylvania. Each school will be a nonprofit, brick-and-mortar charter school whose model and/or track record demonstrate a strong likelihood that they will produce meaningful and sustainable student learning gains.

Bear Creek Community Charter School will receive $1.1 million to fund the School’s expansion from two sections of each grade level (kindergarten through eighth grade) to three sections of each grade level.

Executive Summary

Bear Creek Community Charter School (the “Charter School”) was organized in 2001 following the local public school district’s decision to close a small, high-performing elementary school that primarily served three rural, mountain-top communities. With an outpouring of community support, the Charter School opened in 2004 with 98 students in a 100-year-old-schoolhouse and has since grown to 468 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, operating on a 311-acre campus. The Charter School is seeking to expand its operation from 468 students (two sections of each grade, kindergarten through eighth grade) to three sections of each grade, kindergarten through eighth grade. The goal of this plan is to:

  1. Expand local opportunities for school choice, and meet an ever-increasing demand for enrollment as evidenced by the school’s significant (and growing) wait list;

  2. Increase diversity among the student population by enrolling more students of color, varying ethnic backgrounds, economically disadvantaged and other at-risk student groups from within the chartering school district (a charter school population that more closely reflects the demographics of the chartering school district);

  3. Provide long-term sustainability of our high-quality charter school to benefit future generations amidst an anti-charter school climate and ongoing threats of funding cuts and increased regulation;

  4. Provide additional educational space for future expansion to four sections of each grade and additional opportunity for a larger, more diverse student population long-term.

The Charter School has created a successful educational model that has been time-tested over a sixteen-year period, with a track-record of operational excellence and academic performance consistently outperforming the chartering school district. The School has completed the design of a new facility, has secured the appropriate construction financing, and has a shovel-ready project prepared for implementation beginning this year. CSP grant funding will support the purchase of the additional curriculum, furniture, fixtures, technology and equipment necessary for implementing the proposed expansion plan, along with the recruitment and training of additional highly qualified personnel to help ensure the expansion plan’s success.