Chester Upland School District

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Chester Upland School District
Map of Delaware County Pennsylvania School Districts.png
Address
1720 Melrose Avenue
Chester, Pennsylvania, Delaware County, 19013
United States
Information
Closed Columbus Elementary School Jan 3, 2013 [1]
Superintendent Gregory G. Shannon
School number NCES:4205860
Faculty 268 teachers (2010)
Grades K-12
Age age 3 years (Preschool) to 21 years for special education students
Enrollment In 2010, the enrollment was 4072 pupils[2]
Kindergarten 259
Grade 1 296
Grade 2 223
Grade 3 258
Grade 4 264
Grade 5 263
Grade 6 314
Grade 7 320
Grade 8 277
Grade 9 520
Grade 10 498
Grade 11 294
Grade 12 286
Other Enrollment projected to decline to 3600 pupils by 2020
Student to teacher ratio Student/Teacher Ratio: 16.51
Mascot Clippers
Budget $101 million 2012–13 [3]
Per Pupil Spending $12,914 (2008)
Per Pupil Spending $15,327.40 (2010)
Website

The Chester Upland School District is midsized, urban public school district serving the City of Chester, the Borough of Upland and Chester Township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The district operates a high school (on two campuses) and five elementary schools, serving 3600 students, in 2012.

The Chester Upland School District encompasses approximately 5 square miles. According to 2000 federal census data, it serves a resident population of 44,435. In 2009, the district residents' per capita income was $13,521, while the median family income was $30,900.[4] In the Commonwealth, the median family income was $49,501[5] and the United States median family income was $49,445, in 2010.[6] According to district officials, in school year 2005–06 the district had 5,003 pupils and 300 teachers, 290 full-time and part-time support personnel, and 20 administrators. Chester Upland School District received more than $51.1 million in state funding in school year 2005–06. The district has a uniform policy which require students wear tan khaki slacks or skirts and white or navy shirts.

Schools[edit]

In 2011, nearly 45 percent of Chester Upland School District children attend charter schools. Many of the community's elementary students attend the K-8 Chester Community Charter School, the state's largest, which academically outperforms the district schools.[7]

High schools
  • Chester High School (Chester)
  • Science and Discovery High School (Chester) opened in 2008
  • Smedley Allied Health School (Chester) opened in Fall 2008, in the former Smedley Middle School
Primary schools
  • Christopher Columbus Elementary School (Chester)
  • Main Street Elementary School (Upland)
  • Margaret C. Stetser Elementary School (Chester)
  • The Village (Chester)
  • Toby Farms Elementary School (Chester Township)
  • Chester Upland School for the Arts (opened in 2008, plans to become a K-8 school)[8]

Turnaround school district[edit]

The district is identified as a "turnaround district" due to chronic, low student academic achievement. The district is eligible to various supplemental funding like School Improvement Grants. Two of the district's nine schools achieved AYP in reading and math.[9] In 2011, Chester Upland School district is in "Corrective Action II 9th Year" due to chronic low student achievement for 12 years. It is one of three school districts in Pennsylvania that are at this low level.[10] Since 1994, the Pennsylvania Department of Education has engaged in escalating levels of intervention, including providing a wide variety of specialists for interventions, providing tens of millions in extra funding such as the Spring 2011 budget bailout of $20 million, and the mandated repeated change in governance.[11]

Governance[edit]

The school district is governed by 9 individually elected board members who serve four-year terms, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania General Assembly.[12] The federal government controls programs it funds like Title I funding for low-income children in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates the district focus on reading and math skills.

In 2000, the Chester-Upland School District was declared financially distressed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, resulting in the appointment of a Special Board of Control. On March 8, 2007, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Gerald Zahorchak issued a Declaration Concerning Reestablishment of Sound Financial Structure in Chester-Upland School District,[13] stating that the Special Board of Control of the Chester-Upland School District had operated the district for a period sufficient to reestablish a sound financial structure, and, notwithstanding the district's many serious and continuing educational performance and other problems, a sound financial structure had been reestablished in the District. As a result of this declaration, the Empowerment Board of Control was replaced by a new three-member Empowerment Board of Control to address the district's poor educational performance while managing its fiscal condition. On June 30, 2010, the Education Empowerment Act expired and the elected board assumed leadership of the district.[14]

In September 2005, Governor Edward Rendell visited the district. He called for an investigation into its management. He also called on the members of the district's Board of Control to resign. In October, Rendell announced his intent to sue the Board of Control charging a failure to improve the district's financial status and a negligence related to making critical curriculum and program changes. Since its appointment in January 2003, the Board of Control had over-spent its approved budgets by more than $19 million. This is a violation of state law.[15]


Academic achievement[edit]

In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) released a report identifying Chester-Upland School District schools as among the lowest-achieving schools for reading and mathematics in 2011. Nine CUSD schools, including Columbus Elementary School, Main Street Elementary School, Stetser Elementary School, The Village at Chester Upland, Toby Farms Elementary School, Chester Upland School of the Arts, Chester High School Crozier Allied Health School, Chester High School Science and Discovery School and Chester High School, are all among the 15% lowest-achieving schools in the Commonwealth. Parents and students may be eligible for scholarships to transfer to another public or nonpublic school through the state's Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program passed in June 2012.[16] The scholarships are limited to those students whose family's income is less than $60,000 annually, with another $12,000 allowed per dependent. Maximum scholarship award is $8,500, with special education students receiving up to $15,000 for a year's tuition. Parents pay any difference between the scholarship amount and the receiving school's tuition rate. Students may seek admission to neighboring public school districts. Each year the PDE publishes the tuition rate for each individual public school district.[17] Among the 4 neighboring Districts, the lowest tuition rate is $8,967 at Penn-Delco School District. Twenty eight public schools in Delaware County are among the lowest-achieving schools in 2011. According to the report, parents in 414 public schools (74 school districts) were offered access to these scholarships. For the 2012–13 school year, seven public school districts in Pennsylvania had all of their schools placed on the list, including: Sto-Rox School District, Chester Upland School District, Clairton City School District, Duquesne City School District, Farrell Area School District, Wilkinsburg Borough School District and Steelton-Highspire School District.[18] Funding for the scholarships comes from donations by businesses which receive a state tax credit for donating

Statewide Academic Ranking

Chester-Upland School District was ranked 496th out of 498 Pennsylvania school districts in 2012, by the Pittsburgh Business Times. The ranking was based on the last three years of student academic performance on the reading, writing, math and science PSSAs.[19] The PSSAs are given to all children in grades 3rd through 8th and the 11th grade in high school. Adapted examinations are given to children in the special education programs. Chester Upland School District ranked 15th out of 15 public school districts in Delaware County. The highest ranking public school district in Delaware County was Radnor Township School District which ranked 4th statewide (2012).[20]

  • 2011 - 496th
  • 2010 - 497th[21]
  • 2009 - 497th
  • 2008 - 498th
  • 2007 - 497th out of 498 school districts.[22]
Statewide Overachievers Ranking

In 2011, the Pittsburgh Business Times reported an Overachievers Ranking for 498 Pennsylvania school districts. Chester-Upland School District ranked 491st. In 2010, the district ranked 497th. The paper describes the ranking as: "a ranking answers the question - which school districts do better than expectations based upon economics? This rank takes the Honor Roll rank and adds the percentage of students in the district eligible for free and reduced-price lunch into the formula. A district finishing high on this rank is smashing expectations, and any district above the median point is exceeding expectations."[23]

In January 2012, testimony before the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee Public Hearing on Fiscally Distressed School Districts revealed that 37.3% of the district's students were on grade level in both reading and math as measured on the 2010–11 PSSAs. Statewide 75.3% of public and charter school students were on grade level in both reading and math. Additionally, only two of the district's nine schools had achieved adequate yearly progress as defined by the Pennsylvania Department of Education under No Child Left Behind. No Chester Upland school grade was performing at the statewide level of academic achievement in reading, math or science. In 2004, 22.6% of the students were achieving on grade level in reading and mathematics. At that time 60% of students statewide were on grade level in reading and math.[24]

In 2009, the academic achievement of the students of Chester Upland School District was in the bottom percentile among 500 Pennsylvania school districts. Scale - (0-99; 100 is state best)[25]

In 2011, Chester Upland School District received a $924,300 PreK Counts state grant for taxpayer-funded preschool for 119 three-year-olds and four-year-olds.[26]

District AYP data[edit]

In 2012, Chester Upland School District declined to Corrective Action II 9th Year Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status having failed to achieve any reading benchmarks and only 1 in 14 mathematics achievement benchmarks.[27] In 2011, Chester Upland School District declined further to Corrective Action II 9th Year Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. Of the 14 Reading measures, the District achieved only one and that was using Safe Harbor, not straight student achievement. In mathematics the District achieved 4 out of 14 measures again by using Safe Harbor.[28] In 2010, Chester Upland School District declined to Corrective Action II 8th Year AYP status. In 2003, Chester Upland School District declined from School Improvement to Corrective Action Level 1 year 1. The District has never achieved Adequate Yearly Progress status in the 12 years it has been measured.[29] In 2011, 94% of Pennsylvania's 500 public school districts achieved the No Child Left Behind Act progress level of 72% of students reading on grade level and 67% of students demonstrating on grade level math. In 2011, 46.9 percent of Pennsylvania school districts achieved Adequate Yearly Progress based on student performance. An additional 37.8 percent of school districts made AYP based on a calculated method called safe harbor, 8.2 percent on the growth model and 0.8 percent on a two-year average performance.

Graduation rate[edit]

In 2012, Chester Upland School District's graduation rate was 41%.[30] In 2011, the graduation rate was 50%.[31] In 2010, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a new, 4-year cohort graduation rate. Chester Upland School District's rate was 44% for 2010.[32]

According to traditional graduation rate calculations

In 2007, Johns Hopkins University reported that Chester High School was among 47 Pennsylvania high schools and nationwide nearly 2000 that have expectionally high drop out rates. Nearly 8 percent of Pennsylvania's high schools had high dropout rates, with 60 percent or less of their incoming freshmen making it to graduation.[37][38][39]

College remediation rate[edit]

According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education study released in January 2009, "63% of the Chester Upland School District graduates required remediation in mathematics and or reading" before they were prepared to take college level courses in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education or community colleges.[40] Fewer than 66% of Pennsylvania high school graduates, who enroll in a four-year college in Pennsylvania, will earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among Pennsylvania high school graduates pursuing an associate degree, only one in three graduate in three years.[41] Per the Pennsylvania Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania's public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course in math, reading or English.

Dual enrollment[edit]

The district offers a dual enrollment program. This state program permits high school students to take courses, at local higher education institutions, to earn college credits. Students remain enrolled at their high school. The courses count towards high school graduation requirements and towards earning a college degree. The students continue to have full access to activities and programs at their high school. The college credits are offered at a deeply discounted rate. The state offered a small grant to assist students in costs for tuition, fees and books[42] Under the Pennsylvania Transfer and Articulation Agreement, many Pennsylvania colleges and universities accept these credits for students who transfer to their institutions.[43] For the 2009–10 funding year, the school district received a state grant of $20,260 for the program.[44]

SAT scores[edit]

In 2010–2011, students took the SAT exams. The district's Verbal Average Score was 372. The math average score was 358. The writing average score was 323.[45] Pennsylvania ranked 40th among state with SAT scores: Verbal - 493, Math - 501, Writing - 479.[46] In the United States, 1.65 million students took the exam in 2011. They averaged scores were: Verbal 497 (out of 800), Math 514 and in Writing 489.[47]

Graduation requirements[edit]

In the Chester Upland School District, ninth grade students must earn 7 credits to be promoted to 10th grade. To move from Grade 10 to Grade 11, 13 credits must have been earned. To be promoted from Grade 11 to 12 the student must have earned a total of 20 credits. The district offers students the opportunity to recover up to two credits, not earned during the previous school year through the Credit Recovery Program, which is offered during the second semester and during the summer.

By law, all Pennsylvania secondary school students must complete a project as a part of their eligibility to graduate from high school. The type of project, its rigor and its expectations are set by the individual school district.[48]

By Pennsylvania School Board regulations, for the graduating classes of 2015 and 2016, students must demonstrate successful completion of secondary level course work in Algebra I, Biology, English Composition, and Literature for which the Keystone Exams serve as the final course exams. Students' Keystone Exam scores shall count for at least one-third of the final course grade.[49][50][51]

Chester High School main campus[edit]

The school is an urban public school located at 200 West 9th St. Chester, Pennsylvania. The school provides grades 7 through 12. In 2009–10, the school had 1302 pupils, with 78 teachers and a Student/Teacher Ratio of 16.69.[52]

In 2012, Chester High School was in "Corrective Action II 6th Year" due to chronic inadequate student achievement with the students achieving just 1 academic metric out of 10 measured.[53] In 2011, Chester High School was in "Corrective Action II 5th Year" due to chronic low student achievement. In 2010, the school was in "Corrective Action II 4th Year."[54]

Graduation rate

The graduation rate at Chester High School, in 2011 declined to 45.64%[55]

  • 2011 - 50%
  • 2010 - 63%.
PSSA results

11th Grade Reading:

  • 2012 - 21% on grade level, (61% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.[56]
  • 2011 - 15% (64% below basic). State - 69.1% [57]
  • 2010 - 24% (60% below basic). State - 66%[58]
  • 2009 - 18% (62% below basic). State - 65%[59]
  • 2008 - 10% (74% below basic). State - 65%[60]
  • 2007 - 9% (76% below basic). State - 65%[61]

11th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 9%, on grade level (80% below basic). State - 59%[62]
  • 2011 - 15%, (68% below basic). State - 60.3%[63]
  • 2010 - 8%, (83% below basic). State - 59%
  • 2009 - 5% (80% below basic). State - 56%.
  • 2008 - 3% (87% below basic). State - 56%
  • 2007 - 3% (86% below basic). State - 53%

11th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 2% on grade level (63% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 3%, (70% below basic). State - 40% [64]
  • 2010 - 1% (56% below basic). State - 39%
  • 2009 - 2% (71% below basic). State - 40%[65]
  • 2008 - 0.9% (65% below basic). State - 39%

Chester High School - Smedley Allied Health Campus[edit]

In 2012, The Smedley Allied Health Campus achieved AYP. It was the only school in the District to achieve AYP. In 2011, the school was in "Warning" status because it did not achieve Adequate Yearly Progress.[66] The school was established in 2008. It is operated in cooperation with Crozer-Keystone Health System. Students can earn 12 college credits at Widener University prior to graduation. The school focuses on preparing students to pursue health careers through providing opportunities to participate in internships and mentoring programs at Crozer-Keystone hospitals Students earn an Emergency Medical Technician and Certified Nursing Assistant certification. To attend the school, students must complete an application process which includes meeting a grade point average and compliance with the district school attendance requirements. In 2009–10, enrollment was 141 pupils. There were 18 teachers.[67]

11th grade PSSA results
Reading:
  • 2012 - 41% on grade level, (26% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2011 - 31%, (38% below basic). State - 69.1%[68]
Math:
  • 2012 - 33% on grade level (43% below basic). State - 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[69]
  • 2011 - 21%, (53% below basic). State - 60.3% [70]
Science:
  • 2012 - 7% on grade level (47% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 0%, (83% below basic). State - 40% [71]

Chester High School - Science and Discovery Campus[edit]

In 2012, Science and Discovery Campus declined to School Improvement AYP status.[72] In 2011, the school was in Warning status because it did not achieve Adequate Yearly Progress.[73] The school serves 176 students in grades 9-11. The school is operated in partnership with Eastern University. Selected students enrolled in Science and Discovery High School earn college credits while earning credits towards high school graduation. Students receive instruction from college professors on the school's campus. Students receive extra help through tutoring during and after school using computer assisted programs such as Achieve 3000 (reading) and Apangea for mathematics. In September 2011, students staged a walkout in protest over several grievances, including class size and unqualified teachers.[74] According to a Pennsylvania Department of Education report, the school has 16 Non‐Highly Qualified Teachers and 6 with emergency certification. In Pennsylvania, a Highly Qualified teacher is one who: (1) holds full certification, (2) has at least a bachelor's degree, (3) has completed a content area major, (4) has passed a content area test, and (5) has completed teacher education coursework[75] In 2009–10, enrollment was 176 pupils. There were 7 teachers.[76]

11th grade PSSA results
Reading:
  • 2012 - 28% on grade level, (48% below basic). State - 67% of 11th graders are on grade level.
  • 2011 - 34%, (38% below basic). State - 69.1% [77][78]
Math:
  • 2012 - 25% on grade level (45% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 59% of 11th graders are on grade level.[79]
  • 2011 - 15% (66% below basic). State - 60.3% [80]
Science:
  • 2012 -11% on grade level (52% below basic). State - 42% of 11th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 8% (56% below basic). State - 40% [81]

Columbus Elementary School[edit]

In 2012, the school is in Corrective Action II 6th Year status due to intractable, low student achievement. In 2011, the school is in Corrective Action II 5th Year status due to ongoing low student achievement. In 2010, the school was in Corrective Action II 4th Year status due to chronic low student achievement in reading and mathematics.[82] In 2011, the attendance rate was 89%, while in 2010 it was 88%.[83] According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 41 of the Columbus Elementary School's classroom teachers are Not Highly Qualified. The school is on the state's Persistently failing school list in 2010 and 2011. Under No Child Left Behind, the school is mandated to provide Supplemental Education Services (outside of school tutoring) to assist students to succeed in reading and math. Additionally, the school was required to offer to transfer children to a successful school in the district. In 2009, as part of a district restructuring, eighth grade was added to the school. Seventh grade was added to the school, in 2008. Due to the inadequate achievement, the school is eligible for extra funding through the School Improvement Grants.[84] In 2009–10, enrollment was 828 pupils with 77 children in Preschool. There were 48 teachers.[85]

PSSA Results
8th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 21% on grade level (52% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 79% of 8th graders on grade level.[86]
  • 2011 - 21% (62% below basic). State - 81.8%
  • 2010 - 34% (44% below basic). State - 81%

8th Grade Math:

  • 2012 - 24% on grade level (58% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 76% of 8th graders are on grade level [87]
  • 2011 - 11% (68% below basic). State - 76.9%
  • 2010 - 8% (71% below basic). State - 75%[88]

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 4% on grade level (84% below basic). State – 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 4%, (85% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 2%, (93% below basic). State – 57%[89]
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 17%, (54% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 - 31%, (36% below basic). State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 27%, (50% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 0%, (28% below basic). State - 83%
  • 2008 - 30%, (37% below basic). State - 81%

Main Street Elementary School[edit]

Main Street Elementary School is located in the borough of Upland. The school provides a taxpayer-funded preschool and kindergarten through 8th grade. In 2012, the school declined to Corrective Action II 6th Year status due to intractable low student math and reading achievement.[91] In 2011, the school was in Corrective Action II 5th Year status due to chronic lagging math and reading achievement.[92] In 2010, the school declined to Corrective Action II 4th Year status due to continuing low student math and reading achievement. The attendance rate was 93% in both 2010 and 2011.[93] In accordance with No Child Left Behind, due to low student achievement, the school was mandated to allow students to transfer to a successful school in the district. Students may transfer to either Stetser Elementary School or Chester Upland School of the Arts. The district must provide transportation.[94] Free tutoring is offered after school to help eligible students improve in reading, mathematics and science. The school has a Title I and Parent- School Community Council which works with parents to improve student performance. In 2009–10, enrollment was 365 pupils with 40 children in preschool. There were 16.5 teachers.[95]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 13% on grade level (53% below basic). State – 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 19% (49% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 15% (76% below basic). State – 57%[99]
  • 2009 - 11% (48% below basic). State - 55%[100]
  • 2008 - 8% (63% below basic). State - 52%[101]
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 52% on grade level (0% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2011 - 85%, (0% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 47%, (22% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 62%, (10% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 43%, (23% below basic), State - 81%

Chester Upland School for the Arts[edit]

The school was established in 2008, by Dr. John Alston in partnership with the Chester Upland School District. It began with an enrollment of 200 children in preschool through 2nd grade. The school provides taxpayer funded preschool through 4th grade in 2011. Fourth grade was added in fall 2010.

In 2012, Chester Upland School for the Arts declined to Warning AYP status due to under achievement in reading and math.[104] In both 2011 and 2010, the school achieved AYP status.[105] In 2011, the attendance rate was 92%, while in 2010 it was 93%. In 2011, the school applied to the Chester Upland School Board to be converted into a charter school. In January 2012, the application was denied without explanation.[106] In 2010 the school received a three-year $360,000 grant from The Sunshine Lady Foundation (founded by Doris Buffett) which was used to extend the school day that provides: tutoring, club activities, and music, dance and visual-arts classes.[107] In 2009–10, enrollment was 245 pupils with 81 children in preschool. There were 10.5 teachers.[108]

PSSA Results
4th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 61% on grade level (21% below basic). State – 72% reading on grade level[109]
  • 2011 - 62%, (22% below basic). State – 73% [110]
4th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 86% on grade level (11% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 - 76%, (8% below basic). State – 85%
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 71% on grade level (4% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 - 76%, (16% below basic). State – 82.9%
3rd Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 47% on grade level (29% below basic). State – 74%
  • 2011 - 58%, (24% below basic). State – 77% [111]
  • 2010 - 50%, (19% below basic). State - 75%
3rd Grade Math
  • 2012 - 68% on grade level (12% below basic). State – 80%
  • 2011 - 68%, (11% below basic). State – 83%
  • 2010 - 67%, (8% below basic). State - 84% [112]

Stetser Elementary School[edit]

Stetser Elementary School is located in Chester. It provides a taxpayer-funded preschool which begins at age 3 and kindergarten through 6th grade. The school provides a reading skills intervention program called Reading Recovery for first graders. The attendance rate was 91% in 2011, while in 2010 it was 89%.[113] In 2011, the school reports that all the teachers are certified and highly qualified. In 2010 the enrollment was 268 students. During the summer of 2011, the pupils participated in First Lady Obama's Healthy Foods Initiative by growing a vegetable garden. The project was supported by an Earth Force Southeastern Pennsylvania service-learning grant and in-kind donations from the Home Depot in Folsom.[114]

In 2012, Stetser Elementary School declined to a Warning AYP status.[115] In 2011 and 2010, the school achieved AYP status under the No Child Left Behind law based on Pennsylvania's Growth Model.[116] The growth model recognize the improvements in performance represented by significant growth even when the school does not reach targets of on grade level achievement.

PSSA Results
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 65% on grade level, (26% below basic), State – 82%
  • 2011 - 39%, (35% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 38%, (26% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 38%, (12% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 25%, (16% below basic), State - 81%

The Village at Chester Upland School[edit]

The school is a suburban school located at 200 Commerce Dr., Chester Township, Pennsylvania. The school provides taxpayer funded preschool for ages 3 and 4, along with kindergarten through eighth grade. In 2011, the school declined to School Improvement Level II status due to continuing inadequate, on grade level achievement in reading and math. It was mandated, by the No Child Left Behind law, to offer students the opportunity to transfer to a successful school within the district. In 2010, the school was in School Improvement Level I status.[119] The school was required to develop a formal school improvement plan that was submitted to the state for approval. The attendance rate was 91% in both years.[120] The school offers a wide variety of extracurriculars and after school programs. The Village Charter School was originally established as a nonprofit charter school in December 1997. In 2002, the school sued the Chester Upland School Board which had withheld the state funding it was mandated to forward to the school.[121][122] In June 2008, the school merged into the Chester Upland School District. The Pennsylvania Auditor General conducted an audit of the school, while it was a charter and found multiple irregularities.[123] In 2009–10, enrollment was 541 pupils, with 59 children in preschool. There were 22.5 teachers.[124]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 11% on grade level (73% below basic). State – 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 12%, (64% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 5%, (87% below basic). State – 57%[130]
  • 2009 - 4%, (75% below basic). State - 55%[131]
  • 2008 - 8%, (69% below basic). State - 52%[132]
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 18%, (39% below basic), State – 82%
  • 2011 - 49%, (23% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 38%, (46% below basic), State - 81%
  • 2009 - 55%, (12% below basic), State - 83%
  • 2008 - 28%, (38% below basic), State - 81%

Toby Farms Elementary School[edit]

The school is a suburban school located at 201 Bridgewater Road, Brookhaven, Pennsylvania. In 2011 the school is a Pre-K - 8 School. The attendance rate was 91% in 2010 and 2011. In response to a district wide decline in enrollment, a middle school was closed and eighth grade was added to the Toby Farms Elementary School for the 2009–10 school year. In 2008–09, 7th grade was added to the Toby Farms. In 2009–10, the school enrollment was reported as 560 with 35.5 teachers, for a student–teacher ratio of 15.77. Preschool enrollment was 59 pupils.[133]

In 2012, Toby Farms Elementary School declined to School Improvement I AYP status. In 2011, the school is in Warning status due to lagging student achievement. In 2010 the school achieved AYP.[134] In compliance with No Child Left Behind, the school administration notified parents they could transfer their child to a successful school with in the district.[135]

PSSA Results:

8th Grade Science:

  • 2012 - 10% on grade level (77% below basic). State – 59% of 8th graders were on grade level.
  • 2011 - 8% (60% below basic). State – 58.3%
  • 2010 - 15% (61% below basic). State – 57%
4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 37%, (41% below basic). State – 82%
  • 2011 - 63%, (9% below basic). State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 53%, (16% below basic). State - 81%
  • 2009 - 47%, (10% below basic). State - 83%
  • 2008 - 49%, (15% below basic). State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, Chester Upland School District administration reported that 902 pupils or 19.9% of the district's pupils received special education services. Sixty percent of special education pupils were identified by the district, as having a specific learning disability.[138]

In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for special education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding.[139] The Pennsylvania's special education funding system assumes that 16% of the district's students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student's needs accrue the same level of costs.[140] The state requires each district to have a three year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students.[141] Overidentification of students in order to increase state funding has been an issue in Pennsylvania. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education.[142]

The Chester Upland School District received $5,008,554 in supplemental funding, for special education services in 2010.[143] For the 2011–12 school year, all Pennsylvania public school districts received the same level of funding for special education that they received in 2010. This level funding is provided regardless of changes in the number of pupils who need special education services and regardless of the level of services the respective students required.[144]

School safety and bullying policy[edit]

The Chester Upland School District Administration reported there were 55 incidents involving local law enforcement, including 93 fights and 7 incidents of indecent assault, in 2009.[145] Twenty nine students were charged with assault. According to district officials, there were no incidents of bullying in 2009.

Chester-Upland School Board has provided the district's antibully policy online.[146] The district requires staff and faculty to report bullying.[147] All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and shall review their policy every three years. Additionally, the district must conduct an annual review of that policy with students.[148] The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.[149]

Education standards relating to student safety and antiharassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.[150]

Smedley Middle School[edit]

Closed in 2009. In its last year, there were 181 eighth graders enrolled in the school. At Smedley Middle School, the district provided 21st Century SKILLS College afterschool programming for 7th and 8th graders. The program included homework help and a wide choice of activities. Rewards were given for attendance.[151] In 2003, the school was in School Improvement level I status due to low student achievement.[152]

8th Grade Science:

  • 2009 - 8% (74% below basic). State - 55%[155]
  • 2008 - 0% (71% below basic). State - 52%[156]

Class action lawsuit[edit]

In 2012, the District sued the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania regarding underfunding and payment of the District's outstanding debts. In July 2012 the Commonwealth entered into a settlement which provides: "$20.5 million in funds, which the Commonwealth and the District warrant are sufficient to eliminate past operating debts of the District to vendors, charter schools and district staff through the end of the 2011–12 school year, as well as $9.7 million in additional appropriated funding for 2012–13. The District agrees that it will undertake activities set forth in the Settlement Agreement to improve its special education programs, including adding personnel and development and implementation of a new or revised Special Education Plan. The Commonwealth also agrees that it will appoint a Special Education Officer located in the District with express authority to ensure that students with disabilities in the CUSD receive a free appropriate public education". Additionally, state taxpayers must pay the plaintiffs attorney's fees of $260,000.[157]

Recent history[edit]

In 1994, Chester Upland was named by the state as the worst-performing school district in Pennsylvania. The district had a multimillion dollar deficit and its decision-making ability was taken over by the state. A for-profit company, Edison Schools, was hired to try to improve the struggling district's test scores in 2001. After four years it was determined that Edison was not successful in turning the district around. A number of incidents, including an allegation of sexual misconduct on the part of an Edison employee, and policies such as not allowing students to bring home books, led to the state's decision to break its contract with Edison.

The district has regained local public control, but remains one of the lowest-performing in Pennsylvania. 72% of district students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, as compared to the state average of 33%. In recent years it has opened a number of selective-admission magnet schools.

Charter schools[edit]

Students in the district may also opt to attend a variety of public charter schools, including Widener Partnership Charter School (K-5) (operated by Widener University),[158] Chester Community Charter School (K-8)[159] or one of the statewide cyber charter schools. In 2006, over one third of the district's students have chosen to attend charter schools. By 2011–12, charter attendance at a charter school had risen to over 45%. of the district's pupils.[160] In 2011–12, 2,697 Chester Upland SD students attend CCCS, while 329 attend WPCS.[161]

The Chester Upland School Board rejected the establishment of several charter schools: Chester Charter School for Theater Arts and Excel Charter School, which intended to focus on dropouts, was rejected in fall 2011. In July 2012, the Pennsylvania Charter School Appeal Board approved the school to open for the 2012–13 school year.[162]

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External links[edit]