July 28, 2014
Dear Prospective Parents, Friends and Supporters of Strong Foundations Charter School,
As you may know, the SFCS Founding Coalition resubmitted our application to establish the Strong Foundations Charter School. Our sole desire for SFCS is to prepare the Easton-area student for a successful and rewarding college experience by providing a high quality, college preparatory education focused on science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics starting from kindergarten.
The Easton Area School District Board of Education will vote on our revised application at its next board meeting scheduled for Tuesday, July 29, 2014 at 7pm in the Easton Area High School main cafeteria at, 2601 William Penn Highway, Easton, PA.
We need ALL of you to come out to this meeting to show your support for the children of Easton and our Strong Foundations Charter School. I especially encourage parents of students currently enrolled in an EASD school to speak at this meeting to voice your concerns and dissatisfaction with the state of your child's education in the EASD.
We can -- we must -- stand up for our children who are being systematically underserved by the EASD. If we do not, our children will ask us one day why did we stand by and do nothing when we knew what was wrong and we could have changed the course of their education and destiny. Now is our moment to do what is right, what is required for our children, to show them we care about their future and their children's future! They depend on us to show up and matter!
While there are certainly positive aspects to the EASD, it is without question that many students are languishing here. EASD has repeatedly failed to meet the academic standards set forth in the No Child Left Behind Act, and, as a result, the entire district has been relegated to “Warning” status. In 2012, six of the ten schools within the District failed to meet the federally mandated NCLB standards and are in some level of remedial status, from Warning to Corrective Action II (6th Year).
For EASD students from economically disadvantaged and minority households, the educational outcomes are particularly dire. As an example, on the 2012 PSSAs, more than half of all Easton Area High School Latino, African American and economically disadvantaged students scored below proficiency in reading and more than 63% scored below proficiency in math. We can, and must, do better for our children!
SFCS seeks to improve the educational opportunities for our children by focusing on science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics -- from kindergarten. This unique focus makes sense for our children but also our region given the Lehigh Valley’s large engineering and science-related employers (e.g., Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Sodexo, B. Braun Medical, Lutron Electronics, Olympus, healthcare companies and universities). In many cases, these companies are forced to hire employees from outside our region and country because our local workforce does not have the adequate educational background needed for these STEM-related jobs. We want to inspire and empower all of our students to consider these career paths in hopes that it will also strengthen our community, region and country.
We believe that our proposed educational program is unique and different from EASD. Our program will offer:
- Comprehensive science, technology, engineering and math curriculum
- Focus on reading literacy
- Fully compliant with PA state-mandated standards
- Integration of arts education throughout curriculum
- Small classroom size and low student/teacher ratio
- Full-day kindergarten
Our STEAM-focused curriculum, featuring smaller class sizes, extended school days and school year can serve as a model for other public schools, particularly within the Lehigh Valley. Our ultimate goal is to develop our students into morally and culturally competent leaders, critical thinkers and well-rounded individuals with a strong sense of purpose and responsibility who are empowered with the essential skills needed to compete in our increasingly technological global marketplace. The Lehigh Valley is inundated with STEM-related employers. We want to establish a productive pipeline to these jobs as a detour to the alternative for many of the students in the EASD.
How would the schools compare?
|Feature||Strong Foundations Charter School||EASD|
|# of Days of Instruction||200||180|
|# of instructional hours/yr||1200||1000|
|School hours||Kindergarten: 8:15a – 3:45p (7hr 30m)||Kindergarten: 8:50a – 11:35a (2hr 45min)|
|1st - 4th Grades: 8:15a – 3:45p (7hr 30m)||1st - 4th Grades: 8:50a – 3:25p (6hr 35min)|
|Class size||20 or fewer||25+|
|Curriculum: Arts||Art is offered as an integral component of the curriculum in its own right and as a way of reinforcing core subject material||Art is offered as an extracurricular activity (band, chorus, drama club, etc.)|
|Curriculum: Reading||Nationally recognized reading literacy program, Journeys Common Core||Nothing|
|Curriculum: Foreign language||No Foreign language requirement|
|PA/Common Core compliant||YES||YES|
We know that we have sufficiently addressed all of the District’s concerns and that our application should be approved. Your continued support is greatly needed and very much appreciated.
Jaime T. Mitchell, Chairperson
Strong Foundations Charter School Founding Coalition