Student Spotlight: Jorge de Paz

By |March 19th, 2019, 8:00 am|Categories: Blog Article, Latest News, Student Spotlight|

Meet Jorge de Paz, a 4th grader at PALCS who enjoys giving back and helping others. Jorge was born in Philadelphia, but now resides with his parents, and two brothers Ruben (age 5), and Ivan (age 3) in West Chester, PA.

This past January, Jorge was given an assignment by his teacher, Mr. Cooper, to plan a project where he could give back to society,” Stephanie, Jorge’s mom tells us. “He was excited about this assignment and wanted to make sure it was something that he could plan and put into action immediately. When Jorge’s father was working toward his Master’s degree at West Chester University a few years ago, he conducted a research survey at Safe Harbor. Jorge remembered this place, and decided that this was the place he wanted to help out.”

Safe Harbor is a non-profit charitable organization whose mission is to provide housing, food and access to support services in a structured environment for homeless men and women in Chester County.

“When we contacted Safe Harbor, they gave us a list of items that they especially needed.” Jorge had a goal to collect as many of those specific items as possible. In an attempt to help collect donations for Jorge’s project, PALCS Receptionist, Ms. Gianna Rodkey asked PALCS teachers and staff to bring in and donate items off of Jorge’s list. The de Paz family estimates that about 4 full grocery store shopping carts of items were collected!

“Ms. Gianna Rodkey was a welcoming face and so very friendly the moment we met her at the beginning of the school year. She has continuously recognized and assisted Jorge in his efforts to give back,” Stephanie tells us. “Mr. Cooper has also been very supportive […]

Choices in Your Child’s Education

By |March 19th, 2019, 7:24 am|Categories: Blog Article, Latest News|

Did you know that when it comes to your child’s education, you do have a choice?

Each year, National School Choice Week (NSCW) is held in January to raise awareness of all types of education options for children.

During this past NSCW, The Putt family spoke out about why school choice is important to them, and why they feel they made the right choice for their family, and their son Levon.

“School choice to us means the privilege of being able to be a part of a fantastic school that we wouldn’t normally have the chance,” states Jessica. “It means having a chance at a much better education than Levon would have normally been offered. We wanted more opportunity for him. We wanted options and choices. But above all, we wanted the best education he could get.”

Just like all public schools, charter and cyber charter schools also provide their students with all services and resources needed, including counselors, special education services, state certified teachers and school nurses. Students may also participate in extracurricular activities through their home district, according to the PA Department of Education.

“When most people think cyber charter school they think no socialization, and limitations. Our concern, because he’s so young, was making sure he had interaction with peers and teachers,” Jessica explains. “PALCS was one of the only schools to offer it, and a lot of it,” she assured. When we discovered PALCS and began to learn all of things they offered for his education AND his social well-being, that combined with how well others spoke of PALCS, it was pretty much an instant choice. Our alternative was sending him to a local brick and mortar school that faced an uncertain future. A school that […]

USP MATHCOUNTS Competition Winners

By |March 15th, 2019, 8:00 am|Categories: PALCS in the News, School News, USP News|

On Saturday, March 9th, three of our very own, PALCS and University Scholars Program students competed in the 6th grade MATHCOUNTS competition along with several other schools from Chester County, PA.

Justin Dugan, Kevin Zhu, and Aiden Cannon all did a great job representing our school, and did a terrific job on all the components of the competition!
The students each participated in a 40-minute sprint round, trying to answer as many questions as possible within the time limit.
Next, students participated in a sprint round, answering four sets of 2 questions every 6 minutes. The students finished with a team round, where each group was given 10 questions to answer together.

Once all the tests were scored, the top 10 individual scorers were brought up to participate in a countdown round. If students provide the correct answer faster than their competitor, they move up the rankings of their individual placement.

Aiden Cannon moved from fifth place, to fourth place, by defeating his first competitor in the buzzer round.
Kevin Zhu was also in the countdown round, scoring first place on his individual test! Kevin scored better than all 103 other 6th grade students across the county, which is an amazing accomplishment!
The results of Kevin’s countdown round placed him in second for the individual competition. Congratulations to Justin, Aiden, and Kevin! We are all very proud of you!

(Photographed left to right: Aiden Cannon, Kevin Zhu, Justin Dugan, and USP Math Teacher, Kirsten Mackey)

Staff Spotlight – Ms. Longstreth named a 2019 STEM Ambassador

By |March 13th, 2019, 8:00 am|Categories: Blog Article, Latest News, Staff Spotlight|

Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School would like to congratulate our very own, Ms. Carrie Longstreth, who has been named a 2019 Pennsylvania STEM Ambassador!

Ms. Longstreth, Student Network and Professional Studies Program Coordinator at PALCS, has been accepted as one of 31 ambassadors in the Pennsylvania STEM Ambassador Program.

The STEM Ambassador Program aims to shape the future of STEM education in the commonwealth by targeting vital policy conversations to legislative leadership in the areas of STEM Learning ecosystems, computer science, state and federal policy for formal and informal education, and workforce needs.

Representing leaders and emerging leaders in corporate from over 22 countries, PA STEM Ambassadors, including Ms. Longstreth, have agreed to invest the next nine months in training and policy development to share expertise and content knowledge with influential stakeholders to help develop a stronger voice in shaping STEM education policy issues.

Ms. Longstreth has dedicated the past nine years, working at PALCS. She has chosen to work in education because of her passion for the field. “There is nothing as rewarding as working with students,” she says. “I believe that educating the next generation is not only our privilege, but our responsibility.”

Before coming to PALCS, Ms. Longstreth worked as a developmental therapist at River Educational Services and taught pre-kindergarten at Fox Chapel Pre-School. She loves working at PALCS and explains, “It gives me the opportunity to work with students who might not have a chance to get a high school diploma anywhere else. I often ask myself, ‘What would happen to these students if we weren’t here?’”

PALCS’ purpose is to provide an academically challenging, knowledge-based curriculum, individually designed for each child’s needs. PALCS will combine the benefits of a classical basics oriented education with the latest internet […]

Center for Performing Arts performance – A City of Angels

By |March 7th, 2019, 12:29 pm|Categories: Blog Article, CPFA News, Latest News, School News|

Coming to you this March, PALCS’ Center for Performing and Fine Arts Program is putting on The City of Angels musical.

The City of Angels is a musical comedy with music by Cy Coleman, book by Larry Gelbart, lyrics by David Zippel. This high-school musical production will be directed by CPFA theatre teacher, Mr. Seth Reich, and produced by special arrangement with Tams-Witmark: A Concord Music Company.

Set in Hollywood during the 1940s, a disillusioned writer adapts his latest novel into a screenplay. Struggling with the realities of Hollywood and the complications of life, his screenplay strangely starts to mirror the world around him.

“In this Tony-Award winning musical spoof of film noir crime movies and Hollywood’s treatment of writers, we watch our novelist and his main character come to terms with their own reality,” Mr. Reich tells us.
Performances will take place each day, from March 13th to March 17th at the CPFA Atrium Theatre. You can find full schedule here! To purchase tickets, please visit!

Family Spotlight: Assiah & Rasheena Phinisee

By |March 5th, 2019, 8:00 am|Categories: Blog Article, Latest News, Student Spotlight|

Meet 10-year old Assiah Phinisee, and her mother Rasheena. The Phinisee family has just recently joined PALCS, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to hear their inspiring story, and speak to them more about their non-profit foundation.

Assiah’s life is truly a miracle, as she went through not only one, but two liver transplants – all before the age of four!

Although Assiah was born healthy, she was exposed through breast-feeding to an antibiotic her mother was prescribed at 6 days old . She then contracted hepatitis and, eventually, serious liver problems.

She underwent her first liver transplant at the early age of one, which failed due to drug intolerance, resulting in chronic rejection. When Assiah was four years old in 2012, she received her second organ transplant.

This time, she received 25 percent of a liver, with Bobby Rydell, Philadelphia legend and rock and roll singer, receiving the other 75 percent. Sharing the same liver donor–a twenty-one-year-old from Reading, PA–has brought both Rydell and Assiah very close, as he now refers to her as his “liver sister.”

As a result of Assiah’s life changing experiences, she and her mother, Rasheena Phinisee, founded A Star Name Assiah Liver Fund, a nonprofit that works to raise awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation.

Assiah and Rasheena’s goal is to promote her healthy “Donor Lifestyle” initiative through engagement, education and empowerment.

The mom-and-daughter duo have created their own line of natural skincare products and started an Annual Liver-Aid Lemonade Fundraiser. Assiah’s Lemonade Beauty Bars are a homemade soap used to educate others about the benefit of natural skincare products that reduce health risks. Also promoting Assiah’s message, Assiah’s Liver-Aid Lemonade stand is a healthy organic lemonade used to educate consumers about the beneficial effects of lemons on […]

Cradles to Crayons 2019

By |March 1st, 2019, 12:13 pm|Categories: Blog Article, Latest News|Tags: , , |

For the past several years, PALCS 4th and 5th grade teachers and students have participated in a day of service at the Cradles to Crayons facility in Philadelphia.
Cradles for Crayons is a non-profit organization that collects donations of essential items for children such as winter boots and coats, clothing, books, craft supplies, and toys.

Each year, the students and teachers at PALCS work a shift in The Giving Factory Warehouse, where they participate in hands-on processing of the donated goods that flow in on a regular basis.
“We present [the students] with a task to volunteer themselves, work for a non-profit organization, to maybe step outside of their comfort zone”, Mr. Cooper (4th Grade teacher) explains.

“Philadelphia is consistently ranked either 1st or 2nd for poorest city in the country, so that is where Cradles for Crayons steps in,” an employee tells PALCS students before putting them to work. Each station in the warehouse includes inspecting, sorting, and packaging donations to ultimately be distributed to the children served.
Students were trained on what they should be looking for when it comes to quality and also appropriateness for children. Donations that are in good shape, or close to new, could make a child feel happy or comfortable, rather than something that looks overly used or incomplete.
“The Cradles to Crayons Project here at PALCS, is an opportunity that we try and give the students,  to give back to the community,” says Mr. Cooper. “For some it is an eye-opening experience – but for everyone it is a fun experience.”

Cradles to Crayons is “driven by a focused and all-important goal: to make life better for children in need.” In order to reach this goal, a “wide variety of individuals and groups […]

The PALCS Process

By |February 15th, 2019, 8:43 am|Categories: Blog Article, Latest News, School News|Tags: |

Are you, or your child, interested in joining the PALCS community? Let us help walk you through the “PALCS Process”.

Attending an Information Session is something we always encourage prospective parents and/or students to do, as it is very insightful! There is the option to sign up for either a group online session, a group in-person session or you can certainly schedule a one-on-one, personal session.

Information sessions are a great way to learn about PALCS, in-depth and even see sample assignments and lessons! If you have any interest, you can sign up for group sessions here! If you would like to schedule a personal session, please contact us. If you have any questions about PA Leadership Charter School, and how it all works, you can give us a call at 1-877-725-2785 or send us an email at

If you are ready to enroll, you may apply to PALCS by submitting a registration packet and sending in additional documents. The registration packet is available as an online application or by mail.
Once the application is complete, the next step is to submit your documents. The documents we need from you include: Proof of Age, Proof of PA Residency, Immunization Records, Report Cards/Transcripts, Special Education Records (if any), Proof of Internet, and Medical/Dental Forms.

These documents can be faxed to (Eastern PA: 484-356-9421 or Western PA: 412-828-3109), emailed to, or mailed into our main offices. Once we receive your application and documents, someone from our admissions department will reach out to you to schedule an orientation.

Orientation is held at our main office in West Chester or Pittsburgh, and it is the only required time you will need to come to the office. Orientation will last anywhere […]

National School Counselor Week

By |February 8th, 2019, 3:30 pm|Categories: Blog Article, Latest News, School News, Staff Spotlight|

The first week in February, PA Leadership Charter School (PALCS) helped celebrate National School Counseling Week 2019. The theme of this year’s NSCW is “School Counselors: Providing Lessons for Life”. As a community, we hope to bring public attention to the unique contribution of school counselors within our school systems.

National School Counseling Week, sponsored by ASCA, “highlights the tremendous impact school counselors can have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career”.

To start the week-long celebration at PALCS, our Guidance Team sponsored “Power of Parents”, a virtual educational session with a PALCS parent and community organizer with Communities Care, Loretta Cohen, MSW. PALCS wrapped up the festivities on, Friday, February 8th, with “College-Wear Day.” All faculty and students were encouraged to represent their college pride in an effort to get students thinking about their options for the future.

We recently asked our PALCS Guidance Counselors what their favorite part about their job is. Let’s see what some of them are saying about why they chose their career paths:

Ms. Mary Beth Stefanski, USP Guidance Counselor – “I became a counselor because I wanted to try and make a positive difference in my students lives! My favorite part about my job is building positive relationships with my students, getting to know them, and seeing how wonderful and truly amazing they are! I believe that school counselors can really make a difference with a good team surrounding them (teachers, coworkers, staff, principals). I am so grateful for my great team at USP and PALCS, and I hope we can continue to try and impact our students lives!”

Ms. Erica Titlow, High School Guidance Counselor (Grade 12) – “I’ve always been the person people sought out when going […]

Teacher Spotlight – Ms. Reilly

By |February 1st, 2019, 9:00 am|Categories: Staff Spotlight|

Learn more about Ms. Reilly, PALCS

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