School News

USP Mock Trial Team Wins Regionals and Takes On States

By |March 22nd, 2019, 11:31 am|Categories: Latest News, School News, USP News|

The PA Mock Trial Competition gives high school students across the state the ability to compete in a courtroom setting, debating information given in a fictional, but realistic, court case. This year’s case is a criminal case in which a doctor is charged with drug delivery resulting in death. Students are given the case materials and then prepare both prosecution and defense sides of the case to compete in the district tournaments and others should they advance. The Mock Trial competition allows students to gain public speaking skills and introduce them to our nation’s legal system.

Teams from the PA Leadership Charter School, University Scholars Program had a remarkable season this year. In January, they finished in fourth place in their divisions at the La Salle University Blue and Gold Invitational. Then the school’s A team finished in third place at the University of Pennsylvania’s Benjamin Franklin Invitational. Finally, in a series of very hard fought trials against Devon Preparatory Academy and Owen J. Roberts, the B team made it’s way to first place in Chester County’s district competition. The competition is an all-volunteer effort sponsored by the PA Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division.

On Monday, March 11th the PA Leadership, University Scholars Program (USP) Mock Trial team competed in Regionals at the Delaware County Courthouse in Media, Pennsylvania. The team, comprised of 10 students, took on Merion Mercy Academy for the regional championship title. In a match full of intense objection battles and competitive arguing, the PA Leadership team won, and is heading on to the state level competition on March 29th and 30th.

At the state tournament in Harrisburg, 14 teams will compete at the Dauphin County Courthouse for the title of Pennsylvania State Champions. The […]

Middle School SOAR Program

By |March 21st, 2019, 8:00 am|Categories: Latest News, School News|

The Student Opportunity for Academic Recovery (SOAR) Program is designed for students in grades 6 through 8 who are over the traditional middle school age because of retention, truancy, or other challenges.

“Over the years, we would have students in our classes who were over the traditional age for middle school grades (i.e., 16 and in the 8th grade),” Ms. Amy Sarno (Middle School SOAR Program Coordinator) tells us. “We felt that it was difficult for those students to maintain interest in school; after falling behind in their grade levels for a wide variety of reasons, these students often become demotivated, and the thought of staying in school for five or more years of school – until they turn 20 or 21 – is overwhelming and unrealistic.”

The goal of the SOAR program is to provide academic recovery in the form of a pathway for students to complete middle school and transition to high school.

“We realized that offering these students the same program of full-year courses wasn’t going to work, so we started to think of ways to accelerate the Middle School experience, while still teaching all of the content needed to prepare students to move on to high school,” Ms. Sarno explains.

SOAR courses differ from traditional PALCS courses. Each grade level will be completed in half a school year, accelerating the transition to high school. Content areas will be blended together (Math/Science, and Language Arts/Social Studies), while foundational skills and concepts of each content area will be taught in separate lessons or modules, thematic units and projects will use a cross-curricular approach, combining content from multiple disciplines.

“Students have commented that the layout of the program is more manageable; and consistent times for daily Virtual Lessons and […]

Choices in Your Child’s Education

By |March 19th, 2019, 7:24 am|Categories: Latest News, School 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: Latest 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)

Center for Performing Arts performance – A City of Angels

By |March 7th, 2019, 12:29 pm|Categories: 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!

Cradles to Crayons 2019

By |March 1st, 2019, 12:13 pm|Categories: Latest News, School 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: 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: 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 […]

PALCS and the Farm Show

By |January 29th, 2019, 9:00 am|Categories: Blog Article, Latest News, School News, Student Spotlight|Tags: |

PALCS Students participate in the Harrisburg Farm Show.

Now Accepting ’19-‘20 USP Applications!

By |January 3rd, 2019, 1:23 pm|Categories: Latest News, School News, USP News|

Happy New Year! We are excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the 2019-2020 school year for our University Scholars Program! It is not too early to begin exploring your options for next school year and see if PALCS, or USP, is a good fit for you and your family!

The University Scholars Program (USP) is a cyber-blended, honors college-preparatory program for eligible students in grades 6-12, enrolled in PALCS. USP opened its doors in the fall of 2005, and has over 245 middle and high school students today. As a highly competitive and rigorous program for students, eager to learn at a more advanced level, an additional application and test is required for acceptance to the program.

Students may participate in the program either virtually, or on-site at our Advanced Ideas Center, located in West Chester, PA. The Advanced Ideas Center provides a small learning community, with an average class size of about 12, where individual and diverse academic achievement is valued and supported in this blended learning situation. The University Scholars Program Curriculum focuses on synapse building through problem-solving, rich experiences, and challenging content. Lessons are designed to be interdisciplinary, engaging, project-based, and to spark intellectual curiosity.

If accepted, students participate in the program two to three days per week. Middle school students attend on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and every other Friday, while high school students attend on Mondays and Wednesdays, and every other Friday. Classes are generally offered from 8:15 am to 2:45 pm. Classes range from 60 to 90 minutes, allowing students to take at least four classes a day. Students who are accepted into USP will take their core classes through this program, and their electives either online through […]

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