Widener Partnership Charter School

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Widener Partnership Charter School
Type Charter
Established September 5, 2006
Principal April Thomas,
Head of school Dean of Widener’s School of Human Service Professions
Faculty 17 with 83% certified
Grades K–8
Enrollment 250 in 2010[1]
Number of students 69% free and reduced-price lunch
Funding Per Pupil Subsidy: $8,060.46 (regular); $23,279.08 (special)

The Widener Partnership Charter School is a public charter school located at 1450 Edgmont Avenue, Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Originally a K-3 school it had grown by Fall 2013 to educate K-7 elementary students. The goal of this school is to educate each and every student in the way that they will become component, self-motivated, and lifelong learners. The program not only focuses on how a child learns, but it focuses on the whole child as well. There is a ratio of 17 to 1 students to teacher in each class allowing for more personal attention with each child. The school mandates students wear a standardized uniform. Widener Partnership enrollment was 250 pupils in 2010 and grew to 300 in 2011. Fourth grade was added to the school in 2009-10. Fifth grade was added in 2010-11. In November 2011, the school received approval to add sixth through eighth grades from the Chester Upland School Board.[2]

The school has an active Parent Caregiver Council with membership in the PCC is open to all parents and caregivers of students enrolled in the school. The PCC holds monthly meetings on topics of concern for the entire school community.

The school serves a second purpose as it provides Widener University students with experiential learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students not only in education, but also in social work, clinical psychology, nursing and physical therapy. Widener University faculty use the school for research across a myriad of disciplines. The school was established in fall 2006, by Widener University. It was approved for opening by the Chester Upland School District Empowerment Board.

Academic achievement[edit]

In both 2010 and 2011, the school achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in reading and math based on growth in achievement.[3] The school attendance rate was 97% in 2011, while there was a 96% attendance rate in 2010.[4]

PSSA Results

5th Grade Reading:

  • 2011 - 60% on grade level (11% below basic). In Pennsylvania, 67.3% of 5th graders are on grade level.[5]

5th Grade Math:

  • 2011 - 57% on grade level (11% below basic). State - 74% of 5th graders are on grade level.
4th Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 49% (21% below basic), State – 73%
  • 2010 - 68% (19% below basic), State - 73%
4th Grade Math
  • 2011 - 67% (26% below basic), State – 85%
  • 2010 - 74% (13% below basic), State - 84%
4th Grade Science
  • 2011 - 36%, (19% below basic), State – 82.9%
  • 2010 - 62%, (21% below basic), State - 81%
3rd Grade Reading
  • 2011 - 54%, (30% below basic), State – 77%
  • 2010 - 47%, (34% below basic), State - 75%
  • 2009 - 75%, (20% below basic), State - 77%
3rd Grade Math
  • 2011 - 54%, (22% below basic), State – 83%
  • 2010 - 72%, (6% below basic), State - 84%
  • 2009 - 71%, (4% below basic), State - 81%

Special education[edit]

In December 2010, the district administration reported that 23 pupils or 9.5% of the district's pupils received special education services.[6] Among the school's special education students, 52% received Speech or Language Impairment intervention. State and Federal funding for special education services are funneled to the school through the Chester Upland School District. Widener Partnership Charter School has a certified special education instructor who provides services to students in the least restrictive settings appropriate, according to developed individualized educational plans (IEPs). A strengths-based approach is emphasized, including early identification and intervention so as to prevent the development of deficits that can have cumulative detrimental effects on overall development and the acquisition of academic skills.

School habitat garden[edit]

Friends of Heinz Refuge at Tinicum, Pennsylvania, helped Widener Partnership Charter School create a school yard habitat.[7] Teachers use nearby John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge as a resource to support their classroom teaching of environmental education. Students engaged in virtual field trip to share their habitat knowledge with students in Trinidad using laptops and Skype.

The school uses the research based FOSS program (Full Option Science System) to teach science. FOSS is correlated to National and State Science Education Standards. The FOSS modules are designed to monitor student progress in content knowledge, conducting investigations, and building explanations. The scope and sequence for the kindergarten included Trees, Fabric, Wood & Paper, and Animals Two by Two. For first grade, the scope and sequence included Insects, New Plants, Air & Weather, and Pebbles, Sand & Silt.[8]


The school received $94,643 in federal stimulus funds. The funding was for the 2009–10 and 2010–11 school years.[9]

Using a $1 million technology grant of Fujitsu products and services, the Widener Partnership Charter School developed modern technology, including laptop computers, plasma TVs, projectors, scanners, and a server in addition to a brand new 4,000-volume library.

In January 2012, the Pennsylvania Department of Education selected Widener Partnership Charter School for a $629,363 21st Century Community Learning Challenge Grant. The school is funded over three years. Widener Partnership was selected from among 57 schools and organizations statewide to receive a grant from a total of $64.4 million as part of the 21st Century Community Learning Challenge Grant. The grant funds a five-day-per-week extended day instruction program for WPCS students. The program will include academic instruction and cultural enrichment activities, and students will be offered dinner at the end of each program day. This federally funded grant was established under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.[10]

The school was a recipient of a 2009 Dollar General Literacy Foundation Back to School and Youth Literacy Grant.

PECO identified Widener Partnership as one of 18 local schools to participate in its 2012 PECO Energizing Education Program (PEEP). PEEP is an environmental education program designed to teach local middle school students about the science of energy, renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, electricity generation and energy efficiency both at home and at school. Each school received $1500 in funding from PECO. In the program, students participate in a school energy audit and receive home energy audit kits. Widener Partnership school also received $2,500 in funding from PECO for an energy efficiency project.

In July 2012, Widener Partnership Charter School received a federal grant which is run by the PDE. The grant calls for the establishment and sustainability of community learning centers that provide additional educational services to students in high-poverty and low-performing schools. The grant was competitive. Applications for the grants were reviewed and scored by a panel of representatives from the educational field and professional grant writers. The school received $114,061. While 101 entities applied for the funding, only 66 were approved, including eight charter schools. The funding is for the 2012-13 fiscal year.[11]


  1. ^ Widener Partnership Charter School (February 14, 2011). "Annual Charter School Report to the PDE". 
  2. ^ Widener University, Widener Partnership Charter School Receives Approval to Expand to Middle School Grades, March 17, 2011
  3. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "Widener Partnership Charter School - School AYP Overview". 
  4. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "Widener Partnership Charter School - School AYP DataTable". 
  5. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (September 29, 2011). "Widener Partnership Charter School Academic Achievement Report Card 2011" (PDF). 
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Bureau of Special Education Services (2009–2010). "Widener Partnership Charter School Special Education Data Report LEA Performance on State Performance Plan (SPP) Targets". 
  7. ^ Marsh Musings, Spring 2011
  8. ^ Widener Partnership Charter School Administration, Widener Partnership Charter School Annual Report to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2008–2009
  9. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Recovery Act in Pennsylvania - Widener Partnership Charter School, 2009
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education (January 2012). "21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) Grant Awards". 
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Education, Education Secretary Announces $19.78 Million Awarded to Enhance Academic Opportunities for At-Risk Students, July 11, 2012

Coordinates: 39°51′33″N 75°21′44″W / 39.85913°N 75.36224°W / 39.85913; -75.36224