Selected readings on US charter schools
Scholar Academies will receive $1.8 million to help add 600 to 900 seats, while KIPP Philadelphia will receive $1.6 million to serve 700 to 800 more students.
Mark Gleason, the partnership’s executive director, said Wednesday the two nonprofit groups were chosen because of strong academic performance in the city and elsewhere.
“As a city, we are competing with other cities and regions for the great operators,” Gleason said. “Part of this grant is us saying, ‘We need you to grow here.’ ”
Scholar Academies runs Young Scholars Charter School, a traditional charter in North Philadelphia for students in grades six to eight. The city-based organization also operates Young Scholars Frederick Douglass, a former struggling K-8 district school converted to a charter as part of the Renaissance program.
Scholar Academies also operates schools in Trenton and Washington.
KIPP Philadelphia operates two middle schools, a high school, and an elementary school in North and West Philadelphia. They are part of a national Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) network of 125 charters in 20 states and the District of Columbia that focus on a rigorous college-prep education for low-income students.
Lars Beck, chief executive of Scholar Academies, said his organization had applied to run another Renaissance charter for the district. If the School Reform Commission approves it this spring, the money would be used for start-up costs.
“We are really grateful to the [partnership] for the investment and support,” Beck said. “It will allow us to create a quality school option for another 600 to 900 students in the same way we did at Young Scholars Frederick Douglass.”
Marc Mannella, chief executive officer of KIPP Philadelphia, said his group planned to use the grant money to open an elementary program for 500 students to feed its KIPP West Philadelphia Preparatory School, and add a 12th grade to KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy, and third and fourth grades to KIPP Philadelphia Elementary School.
“This is a huge deal for us,” Mannella said. “This is basically about half the start-up funding we would need to add all those seats.”
He said district officials had said this year that the SRC was expected to vote on charters’ expansion requests in April.
Gleason said that the grant money would not be dispersed until Scholar Academies and KIPP Philadelphia have received approval from the SRC to grow.
Source: philly.com – by Martha Woodall