May 15th, 2013
From: Daily Local News, dailylocal.com
By: Jeremy Gerrard
It’s no infestation, but window shoppers and KALY customers may be shocked to see the dozens of giant wire ant sculptures crawling up the walls and windows of the borough shop.
The sculptures are an art project from middle school students enrolled in the sculpture class at the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School.
“They are just kind of fun and whimsical,” said Kim Knauer, sculpture and ceramics teacher with the school.
The 10-inch ants are constructed using blackened steel wire with small personal touches added by each student.
A regular customer of KALY, Knauer said she asked store owner Holly Brown in March if there would be a place for the ants knowing that Brown is supportive of the local art scene.
“I thought it was fabulous, I thought it was great to promote the work the kids were doing and I thought just ants in the store in the springtime would be really funny,” Brown said.
May 15th, 2013
Please join us tomorrow night, Thursday, May 16 from 4pm-7pm at the Opening Reception for the the Spring Art Exhibit!
Come see the incredible work of our art students on display at PALCS’ Center for Performing & Fine Arts at 211 Carter Drive, Suite C, West Chester, PA 19382.
Here is a video made at the 2011 Spring Art Exhibit to give you an idea of the immense talent of the students at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School!
Congratulations to PALCS 6th grader Ella Milback!
Ella Milback has been awarded a merit scholarship in the Cumberland Valley School of Music (CVSM) Merit Scholarship Competition, and will be among those performing at the CVSM Awards Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 21, in Thomson Alumnae Chapel, Wilson College.
In the Merit Scholarship Competition held April 6, students vied for awards in instrumental, piano and vocal categories. Evaluated by teams of impartial judges on such criteria as technique, tone, interpretation, stage presence, and sight-reading, the first three prizewinners in each category will perform.
Ella Milback was first place in the vocal category, winning the Margaret Weeks Award. The daughter of Cynthia and Steve Milback of Greencastle, she studies voice at CVSM with Gabrielle Sanfilippo. She is sixth-grade student at PA Leadership Charter School.
Read more about other competitors at the Echo-Pilot.com website.
About Margaret “Peg” Weeks:
As a teacher, Peggy had an innate ability to perceive potential in every student at any level. She built on that cornerstone, instilling confidence and technique, one step at a time. She would always find the positive, was innovative in seeking venues and producing programs to showcase her talented students, and is committed to lifelong learning. In 1990, she was the first teacher to respond to the initial letter asking the area’s private music teachers to join forces and form the Cumberland Valley School of Music.
Her students speak for themselves, and they continue to shine, perform, and teach in venues around the world. But Peg’s greatest gift was given to students and colleagues of all abilities, most of who have not chosen music as a profession but do lead busy, productive lives. To all, Peg Weeks imparted a wonderful enthusiasm and encouragement which will made a lasting impact – and a life long gift of music.
For more information about the concert or to contribute to the Margaret Weeks Scholarship Fund, contact CVSM at 717-261-1220.
April 5th, 2013
The PA Leadership Charter School 2013-2014 Course Catalog is now available!
Click to View the
2013-2014 Course Catalog
You can also visit our palcs.org curriculum page, where you can view course information for both the current school year and next school year by department and see sample lessons from the courses. Use the Academics drop-down menu here at the top of palcs.org to begin.
For currently enrolled students, course selection for the 2013-2014 school year has officially begun!
Students who will be in grades 9-12 for the 2013-2014 school will be able to choose their elective courses through an online survey. Each counselor will send a Moodle message with instructions on how to complete the survey, and a link to both the survey and course catalog. The deadline for submitting the online survey is Thursday, April 18, 2013. Students’ core courses will be chosen for them based on academic performance and teacher recommendation. All students will receive a copy of their final roster in the mail over the summer.
Course selection for our middle school students will begin Friday, April 5. Counselors will be sending a PALCSmail to families with specific details.
Course selection for our elementary students will begin later this spring. Students can expect a PALCSmail from their counselor with their suggested course rosters starting in mid-May.
April 3rd, 2013
(West Chester, PA) Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS), a cyber charter school with offices in West Chester and Pittsburgh, PA, recently inducted 20 students in grades 10-12 into the National Honor Society (NHS), and 29 students in grades 6-9 into the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). The ceremony was held on March 30, 2013 at the PALCS Advanced Ideas Center on Paoli Pike in West Chester, PA, as well as virtually so that those inductees from around the state were able to participate.
Inductees and their families were welcomed and celebrated with speeches by PALCS staff, teachers and advisers including Dr. James Hanak (CEO of PALCS), Jane Ferris, David Juliano, Donna DiGiacomo, John DiCamillo, Patric Parris, Lynn Parris, Anne Disciullio, and Nellie DiPietro.
“You have made a bigger choice than just choosing to submit an application,” said Jane Ferris, Director of the PALCS University Scholars Program (USP), to the inductees. “You have made a choice to join something much, much larger than PALCS. You’ve made a choice to join a community that is much larger than the state of Pennsylvania, a community that is national. By doing that, you are saying you value not only the tenets of NHS and NJHS but that you value the world and want in one way or another to make a difference, to give back, to lead.”
Student Caitlyn Lear, current PALCS NHS President, shared her experiences in NHS and described the many service projects and fundraisers that the PALCS NHS is responsible for organizing each year, such as tutoring services, the “Jeans for Teens program” in cooperation with the clothing store Aeropostale, a silent auction, and more.
National Honor Society (NHS) inductees include: Jessica Calderon, Aeriel Dochenetz, Ryan Dodds, Hannah Fleth, Nicholas Giangiulio, Benjamin Hess, Brittany Lanz, An Le, Albert Manginelli, Rachel Nielsen, Erin Ohara, Miranda Ram-Nolte, Autumn Recke, Brennan Rodden, Carolyn Semes, Joshua Serkes, Tyler Steudel, Helenmarie Vassiliou, Peri Walker, Audrey Wilcox.
Chester County students in grades 6 through 12 recently competed in the Chester County Science Research Competition: Lucy Balian Rorke-Adams Fair. The competition, sponsored by the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) and Wells Fargo Bank, was held at the Technical College High School Pickering Campus in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania on March 4, 2013.
We are proud and excited to report that the following PALCS students were recognized with awards or recognition for their research efforts in the competition.
Ralph Lawton, 9th grade student at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS), met with success for his research project, “Synthetic Joint Tissue Augmentation: A ‘Kneeded’ Solution. ” Lawton was awarded “First Place – Best in Show” in the Medicine & Health category, as well as the “Achee Outstanding Project in Medicine and Health” special award.
Marisa Suchower, 9th grade student at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS),, was awarded “3rd Place – Best in Show” in the Engineering category for her project, “Pendulum Power.”
Shannon Barret, 9th grade student at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS), was awarded “3rd Place – Best in Show” in the Environmental Science category for her project, “How is algae formation affected by hard vs. soft water?”
Alexander Gustafson, 8th grade student at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS), received an Honorable Mention in the Chemistry category for his project, “The Decomposition of US Coins as a Result of Different Substances.”
Gaea Lawton, 6th grade student at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS), received an Honorable Mention in the Environmental Science category for her project, “Solar Thermelec: A search to find a cost efficient way of generating nonphotovoltaic electricity.”
Sarah Schmider and Natalie Wayland, 8th grade students at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS), received an Honorable Mention in the Teams Category for their project, “Oil Spills.”
Ralph Lawton, Marissa Suchower, and Shannon Barret will go on to compete in the upcoming Delaware Valley Science Fair where approximately 1,000 students from New Jersey, Delaware, and southeastern Pennsylvania will compete. According to the article “Students vie for science honors” (Sara Mosqueda-Fernandez, Daily Local News, 3/18/13), “Students competing at the Delaware Valley fair will have the opportunity to win their share of nearly $1 million in college scholarships as well as move on to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair hosted this year in Phoenix, Ariz.”
Chester County Women’s Journal, March/April 2013 Edition
Introducing, Jane Ferris, Director of the University Scholars Program
BY TRADE, JANE FERRIS is an educator, but her work is quickly earning her a reputation as an innovator. At age 32, the Chester Springs resident pioneered and now leads the University Scholars Program of the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS), a statewide, public cyber charter school headquartered in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Under Ferris’s leadership, the University Scholars Program brings highly-motivated and gifted students together in grades five through twelve. The students face a rigorous curriculum blending cyber studies with a unique classroom environment . University Scholars provides 100 percent gifted curriculum to students 100 percent of the time. Students enrolled devour the challenge.
“Our program and our students are in part successful because we attract the most motivated and talented gifted students and provide them with an enriching educational environment,” Ferris explained.
The daughter of a public school teacher, Ferris followed in her mother’s footsteps, while forging a unique career path. After graduating from Penn State, Ferris’s first teaching gig was on the slopes of the Rocky Mountains as a ski instructor. When she decided to hang up her skis, her first job in a traditional classroom was at Avon Grove Charter School. There, her path intersected with that of Lisabeth Daniels, the head of the school’s gifted program.
Daniels had an idea for an unparalleled program and invited Ferris to help develop it. “Lisabeth was the out-of-the-box visionary, and I was the one who was very detail-oriented,” Ferris said.
As the University Scholars Program took shape, the two discovered Jim Hanak, who had become one of the pioneers of Pennsylvania’s charter school movement and was working to grow a cyber program—PALCS. In 2005, Hanak hired Ferris and Daniels to run the PALCS’s University Scholars Program. Early on, 50 students supplemented their online studies with weekly meetings in a church basement.
“The first four years of the program were very developmental,” Ferris recalled. “Dr. Hanak allows faculty members a lot of autonomy, which allows us to continue to innovate.”
As the University Scholars Program evolved, Ferris was named Director of the University Scholars Program in 2008.
By 2010, the University Scholars Program had outgrown its original space. PALCS secured a new building on Paoli Pike in East Goshen, which became the Advanced Ideas Center.
“Our students had become so attached to the environment in the church basement that we almost had to sell them on the idea of this beautiful new building. So we gave the students and their families a role in designing the new space and they continued to feel bonded to the program,” said Ferris.
Despite more space, the Advanced Ideas Center has reached capacity again. This year, 200 students in grades five through twelve are enrolled in the University Scholars Program, with the majority attending classes every other day at the Advanced Ideas Center.
“We’ve even seen a few families relocate from out-of-state to join the program,” marveled Ferris.
In June, the University Scholars Class of 2013 will be the first group of students to have participated in the program for the entire eight- year curriculum. As the milestones mount, Ferris continues to set higher goals: to expand the school’s physical footprint and broaden the syllabus. Ferris and the faculty spend the summers writing new curriculum. Still, at the core of this complex and cutting edge program remains a basic concept for success.
“We want to help our students shape their journeys, the way special teachers helped to shape ours,” said Ferris. “We strive to make the University Scholars Program one in which students can feel safe and truly be themselves.”
The University Scholars Program Mission Statement
The University Scholars Program celebrates the individual scholar with an understanding of the complexities of gifted/talented learners—their phenomenal strengths and very real challenges. We believe that gifted/ talented students, like all students, have a right to an appropriate education, one that helps them to reach their fullest potential. The University Scholars Program creates a setting where like-minded scholars and teachers encourage and inspire each other.
The Advanced Ideas Center’s (AIC) is PA Leadership’s newest building. AIC is home to the PALCS University Scholars, as well as elementary and middle school cyber teachers.
March 15th, 2013
Chester County Women’s Journal, March/April 2013 Edition
Dr. James Hanak D.MiN., founded the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School (PALCS) in 2002 and continues to lead the school as Chief Executive Officer. From the school’s beginning, Hanak’s vision for PALCS centered on teaching students a new way of thinking at a time when cyber education was emerging in Pennsylvania. PALCS’s University Scholars Program, a college preparatory program offering a specialized curriculum, fit perfectly into Hanak’s vision.
Mrs. Ferris and Dr. Hanak shown with a group of scholars, whose love for a rigorous academic program can easily be seen.
Prior to developing one of Pennsylvania’s first cyber charter schools, Hanak built a reputation as a trailblazer, having founded and directed non- profit organizations since 1971. He served as the director of the Doctorate of Ministries Degree Program for Pastors at the Leadership Training Center in Philadelphia and also served on the advisory board of the High Flight Foundation, founded by Col. James irwin, the eighth person to walk on the moon.
Hanak holds a Doctorate in Management and Communications from the international School of Theology and a Master’s degree in Communication and Theology from Dallas Theology Seminary. He earned a Bachelor of Science in biology from Virginia Tech.
Hanak’s vision for PALCS continues to reach new heights with the addition of the university Scholars Program, the Center for Performing and Fine Arts, education centers across Pennsylvania and academic credit recovery programs that have boosted PALCS’s graduation rate well above the state average. In addition, PALCS has expanded its efforts to educate global citizens and provides students with extra-curricular educational experiences in seven countries. Throughout the school’s history, Hanak and PALCS’s faculty have developed and utilized best practices for online education, built custom curriculum and refined the school’s software. Its cyber platform provides a world-class education offering outstanding student/teacher connections through and because of modern technology.
WHY CHOOSE PALCS?
The computer lab, aka Mission Control, allows students throughout the day to experience an individualized program of instruction virtually.
- PALCS is a public cyber charter school.
- Tuition-free school, grades K-12.
- All PA children are eligible to enroll.
- PALCS students receive a complete desktop computer system, including a printer/scanner/ copier and microphone headset and textbooks.
- Over 150 certified teachers online every school day.
- Students interact daily with their teachers.
- Help Desk highly rated by families.
- Consistent academic growth.
- Dynamic teacher-created curriculum.
- Unique parent involvement resources.
ATTEND AN OPEN HOUSE
Tuesday, March 12 | 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 5 | 10:00 a.m. or 2 p.m. Friday, May 10 | 10:00 a.m. or 2 p.m.
Register online at: www.palcs.org
March 11th, 2013
The following article was written by Damon C. Williams for the Philadelphia Tribune. The article is posted here in its entirety, and the original posting can be found at the following direct link: Charter school boosts full graduation rate. For more info on the PALCS Graduation Academy, please call (267) 239-0005.
Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School combines on-site, online learning
With charter and cyber-charter schools under attack, and varying levels of criticism from those that believe that charters are cannibalizing traditional brick-and-mortar public education offerings, the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School – a hybrid charter/cyber charter with a location at the Community Women’s Education Project, 2801 Frankford Ave., – is enjoying certifiable success, by way of a 100 percent graduation rate and meeting several academic standards.
Not bad for a school that has only been in that location for a year. And now, PALCS leadership will hold an open house on Tuesday, March 12 beginning at 4 p.m. at its Frankford Avenue location.
“We have an amazing program here at the Community Women’s Education Project, which is geared toward getting students a high school diploma free of the drama that perhaps goes on inside traditional public schools,” said PALCS Graduation Academy Director Tara Cartafalsa. “Right now, we have a small group of students, and we do have some seats to fill.
“Our program is for grades 9 through 12, and it’s for [nontraditional] students,” Cartafalsa continued. “We also accept students who previously dropped out of school, and students who have trouble keeping up with coursework, due to family issues and other things going on in their lives.”
While critics revile charters and cyber charters for everything from funding inequality to cyber and cyber-charters enjoying a level of autonomy that is foreign to their traditional public school peers, Cartafalsa explained that schools like PALCS are necessary in catching students that might otherwise slip through the cracks.
“There is no denying the demand for cyber-education here in Philadelphia. More than ever, parents are putting a high priority on placing their kids in an environment where the flexibility of working from home and structure of a guiding facility come together,” Cartafalsa previously stated. “For these parents and children, we are excited that PALCS has established a Brick and Click E-Learning Center in Fishtown–West Kensington. Whether students need an orderly working environment, assistance from academic advisers, or just interactions with other kids, this new center makes it possible to complete their cyber coursework and receive additional support they may need.
“The cyber-environment is a good fit for me and our students,” Cartafalsa added. “Our kids really like the independence and flexibility of PALCS. Without the distractions and bad influences, they are able to live up to their potentials.”
Cartafalsa also noted several other differences between PALCS and other charter schools, most notably the schools’ daily academic schedule. The school day begins at 9 a.m. and end at 2 p.m., but have round-the-clock access to course material and counseling, should they need it.
“We have our teachers live, online, every day, and they all have office hours as well,” Cartafalsa explained. “And the student’s coursework is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so students can continue working. And if they have questions at night, we also have nighttime chats. And if students experience some things and cannot come to school, the school is available online, and as long as they log in within 24 hours [and complete the work], they won’t be marked absent.
“And at Tuesday’s open house, we will give tours, and show the course software we have, so students and parents will know what their school day looks like,” continued Cartafalsa. “Graduation is still a milestone for students as well, and we have things like proms, graduations and senior trips.”
March 7th, 2013
Nick Giangiulio, right, squares off against his opponent. (Photo by Nate Heckenberger, via Mercury Sports Live)
PALCS University Scholars student and PIAA southeast regional wrestling champion Nick Gianiuglio will be representing his home school district at the state high school wrestling competition this weekend in Hershey, PA.
Read all about Nick’s journey through regionals, his goal for states, and his anticipated souvenir (a two pound Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup!) in the following articles:
- Perk Valley’s Giangiulio focused on future
- Perkiomen Valley wrestler Nick Giangiulio wins regional crown
- Giangiulio leads 12 locals into semifinals at Southeast Regional
Good luck, Nick!