Charter Schools: Accentuating the positive, again (4)

(4th in a series on Education)

Gadfly was mistaken, was looking at an older list of participants. There was a representative from charter schools on the panel at last night’s Lehigh Valley 4 All Education Summit – Lisa Pluchinsky of the Dual Language Charter School, 675 E. Broad St. The principal of Charter Arts was also in the audience.

The focus of Charter Arts that we profiled last time is the performing arts. Here the focus is “dual language,” diversity: “The goal is bilingualism/biculturalism for all students.”

Gadfly started this thread to get to know more about charter schools and especially because of the negativity seemingly surrounding them in the public mind because of the tax burden and poor quality administration and education (cf. the Catasauqua charter mentioned in the last post).

So, Gadfly thought noteworthy this comment in the lead-off talk last night by Dr. Roy, BASD Superintendent (who, as I said earlier, one rarely sees his name without “a vocal critic of charter schools” pinned to it): “We now have become consumers, imposing a market solution on an inherently public good. And it doesn’t work. And we’ve seen it in the world of charter schools, where there’s many times where the charters become profit-making – and I will say, not here in our district – not the charters in our district – but many places we see all types of challenges around corruption, basically becoming profit-makers, or at least profit-makers for the landlords.”

So, with that positive nod from Dr. Roy, let’s look at another Bethlehem charter school before, in subsequent posts, we try to understand the problems and criticism.

Lehigh Valley Dual Language Charter School

Principal Pluchinsky provides a nice statistical overview and statement of educational goals:

And answers a question about how the school is evaluated:

From the web site:

MISSION: The mission of LVDLCS is to create a community of bilingual, multicultural, life-long learners committed to academic excellence and leadership while celebrating diversity and identity.

VISION: Our vision is a community of bilingual and bi-cultural, life-long learners committed to excellence and dedicated to learning and leadership.

CORE VALUES: We believe that we are a community that is made stronger through its diversity.

WHY A CHARTER SCHOOL IN BETHLEHEM? Across the Lehigh Valley, school districts have struggled to meet the needs of linguistically diverse students for a variety of reasons. We envision filling this need through the establishment of a K-8 free public charter school that is smaller, more personable, and founded on instructional strategies and techniques that meet the unique needs of our linguistically diverse students.

INSTRUCTION: The teachers will be extensively trained in dual language instruction. The students will benefit from their teachers’ use of cutting-edge instructional strategies such as Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA) and Sheltered Instruction Operational Protocol (SIOP). Effective, meaningful Spanish language instruction in the content areas will be provided for native English speakers. The goal is bilingualism/biculturalism for all students.

CEO/COO Ms. Elsie Perez.; Principal, Ms. Lisa Pluchinsky; among Founding Coalition Directors is Councilwoman Olga Negron; Board president, Ms. Raiza Roman

Principal’s Corner:

“We are dedicated to providing all students with the educational foundation necessary to succeed in school and in life.  Not only does our educational commitment focus on Language Arts and Math, we also provide a rich educational experience in the Spanish language.  Spanish class, science, and social studies are all delivered by quality, bilingual staff to ensure the LVDLCS students succeed in two languages.  We continue to strive to meet each student’s educational needs in both languages.”

“Please remember that parents are responsible to complete 25 hours of volunteer service for the school.  There are many different ways to complete these hours from volunteering in the cafeteria, working in the classroom, completing projects for the classroom teacher, donating necessary items, attending workshops and events at the school, and also participating in an approved educational program.  Please call the school office if you have questions about completing volunteer hours.”

Our School: Fully immersive dual language classes, Small Class Sizes, Multidisciplinary Project, Individualized Attention

So we’ve now had a chance to look at two of our local charter schools in an educational positive light and are ready to learn about the financial ramifications that create a lot of the negative noise.

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