Puneet Varma

Vida Charter School

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School type  Public Charter
Faculty  34
Phone  +1 717-334-3643
Kindergartens  46
Vida Charter School
Founded  initially approved 2009
Founder  April Yetsko, Founder and former Principal/CEO
School board  5 locally selected members
Principal  Cynthia Maldonado (2014) Alexander Grande III, Interim Executive Director 2014 former Ms April Yetsko Chief Executive Officer (salary $83,200 2012) Christie Miller, Vice Principal
Staff  Jackie Kapfhammer, Reading Resource Specialist
Address  120 E Broadway, Gettysburg, PA 17325, USA
Oversights  Gettysburg Area School District, Hanover Public School District, Pennsylvania Department of Education
Similar  Gettysburg Montessori Charter S, Gettysburg Area High School, Helen Thackston Charter S, Lincoln Charter School, Frederick Classical Charter S

Vida charter school fall 2016


Vida Charter School is a small, public, regional charter school located at 120 East Broadway Street, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It is one of two public charters schools operating in Adams County in 2014. In 2016, the school's enrollment increased to 255 pupils kindergarten through 6th grade, with 47% of its pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. Additionally, 5.88% of students receive special education services, while 4% of students are identified as gifted. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of the pupils are Hispanic and 37% are Caucasian. In 2016, 18% of the teachers were rated "Non-Highly qualified" under No Child Left Behind. In 2015 the school employed 15 teachers yielding a student:teacher ratio of 15:1. The school is a federal Title I school. The school provides full day kindergarten.

Contents

In 2014, the school's enrollment rose to 214 pupils Kindergarten through 6th grade, with 62% of its pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. Additionally, 8.88% of students received special education services, while 1% of students were identified as gifted. Fifty-five percent of the pupils wee Hispanic and 35% were Caucasian. In 2013, the School's enrollment was 198 pupils in grades kindergarten through 5th grades, with 59% of its pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. Additionally, 12.62% of students received special education services, while 2% of students were identified as gifted. Forty six percent (46%) of the pupils were Hispanic and 44.95% are Caucasian. According to a report by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 15% of the school's teachers were rated "Non‐Highly Qualified" under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. In 2012, the school employed 11 teachers. Vida Charter School provided a dual language immersion program in both English and Spanish.

In 2012, enrollment was 161 pupils in grades first through 6th, with 101 pupils eligible for a federal free or reduced price lunch due to the family meeting the federal poverty level. The school employed 9 teachers yielding a student-teacher ratio of 18:1. None of the pupils received special education services.

In Pennsylvania, public charter schools are initially approved and subsequently overseen by the local school board (LEA). If the local school board denies the charter school's application, the prospective Charter School may appeal to the state's Charter School Appeal Board. Once approved by the local school district, the Charter is governed by a locally selected Board of Trustees. Vida Charter has five (5) Board members, one of whom is from Hanover, Pennsylvania. They make in-depth, annual reports to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In Pennsylvania, public charter schools are a public school alternative to the local public schools. Students may seek admission to a local charter school. The student's home public school district pays the tuition costs on the student's behalf. Additionally, when the local school district provides transportation to its students it must also provide transportation at no cost to charter school students, when the receiving school is within 10 miles of the District's borders. Pennsylvania charter schools have the same academic accountability as traditional public schools and must give the PSSAs to their pupils each year, working to achieve AYP status.

Vida Charter School applied for authorization of its charter in November 2007. Both the Gettysburg Area School Board and the Hanover Public School District Board rejected the application. In April 2008, the school's founders applied again to Gettysburg Area School Board and Hanover Public School District. When it was once again rejected, the school's founders appealed the decision to the Pennsylvania Charter School Appeal Board. Vida Charter School's application was approved.

According to PA Charter School law, if more students apply to attend than there are open slots available, Vida Charter School is required to use a random lottery system to select new incoming students. According to the Charter School law, siblings (brothers and sisters), and children of individuals who help establish a charter school, are granted an “admissions preference.” Students residing in the Gettysburg Area School District are selected first, according to the number of slots available for students. If there is space available for more students, seats will be declared open for out-of-District students.

The Lincoln Intermediate Unit IU12 provides Vida Charter School with a wide variety of services like specialized education for disabled students and hearing, speech and visual disability services, criminal background check processing for prospective employees and professional development for staff and faculty.

Vida charter school gettysburg pa


2016 School Performance Profile

SPP 64.6 out of 100 points According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Vida Charter School 6th graders, 27% students were on grade level in reading while 20% demonstrated on grade level skills in math. Among 5th graders, 66% of 5th grade students were on grade level in reading. In mathematics, 50% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 50% were on grade level in reading, while 25% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 62% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 52% were on grade level in reading and 50% were on grade level in mathematics. Statewide, fifty-four percent of the 2,676 public schools in Pennsylvania achieved a passing score of 70 or better.

2015 School Performance Profile

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Vida Charter School 6th graders, were not reported due to only 7 students taking the PSSAs given in April 2015. Among 5th graders, 61% of 5th grade students were on grade level in reading. In mathematics, 34% of 5th grade students showed on grade level skills. No fifth grade writing scores were reported. In 4th grade, 53% were on grade level in reading, while 27% showed on grade level math skills. In science, 90% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among third (3rd) graders, 48% were on grade level in reading and 42% were on grade level in mathematics. Statewide 61.9% of fifth (5th) graders were on grade level in reading, while 42.8% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Pennsylvania 4th graders were 58.6% on grade level in reading and 44.4% demonstrated on grade level math skills. In science, 77.3% of fourth graders showed on grade level understanding. Among Pennsylvania third (3rd) graders, 62% were reading on grade level, while 48.5% demonstrated on grade level math skills. Among sixth (6th) graders, 60.7% were reading on grade level, while 39.7% demonstrated on grade level math skills.

In October 2015, Pennsylvania Auditor General DiPasquale reported that Vida Charter School was among the 561 academically challenged schools that have been overlooked by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. He also reported the Pennsylvania Department of Education failed to take any action to remediate the poorly performing schools to raise student academic achievement or to provide them with targeted professional assistance.

2014 School Performance Profile

Vida Charter School achieved a score of 67.2 out of 100. The score reflects on grade level: reading, science, writing and mathematics achievement. In 2013-14, only 54% of the students were reading on grade level in grades 3rd through 6th. In 3rd grade, 60.6% of the pupils were reading on grade level. In math, 70% were on grade level (3rd-6th grades). In 4th grade science, just 58% of the pupils demonstrated on grade level understanding. In writing, only 45% of 5th grade pupils demonstrated on grade level skills.

2013 School Performance Profile

Vida Charter School achieved 81.1 out of 100. Reflects on grade level reading, mathematics, writing and science achievement on the state PSSAs and Keystone Exams. In reading/literature - 82% were on grade level. The third grade has 88% reading on grade level. In mathematics - 82% showed on grade level mathematics skills. In science, just 54.55% showed on grade level science understanding. For 5th writing, the results were withheld due to less than 10 pupils having results. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2,181 public schools (less than 73 percent of Pennsylvania public schools), achieved an academic score of 70 or higher. Vida Charter School students' academic achievement exceeded the achievement of two of the three traditional public elementary schools operated by the Gettysburg Area School District.

AYP History

In 2012, Vida Charter School achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. Vida Charter School also achieved Adequate Yearly Progress in school years 2010 and 2011.

PSSA History

Each year, in the Spring, the 3rd graders take the PSSAs in math and reading. The fourth grade is tested in reading, math and science. The fifth grade is evaluated in reading, mathematics and writing. Where fewer than 17 children in a subgroup are tested, the results are not made public to protect the privacy of the students. The results are reported to the school's officials and are included in the whole statewide academic achievement results.

5th grade reading and math

  • 2012 - Tested, but results not made public due to low number of children tested
  • 4th Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 71% (7% below basic). State - 72%
  • 2011 - Tested, but results not made public due to low number of children tested
  • 4th Grade Math
  • 2012 - 79%, 57% advanced (7% below basic). State - 82%
  • 2011 - Tested, but results not made public due to low number of children tested
  • 4th Grade Science
  • 2012 - 86%, 57% advanced. State - 82%
  • 2011 - Tested, but results not made public due to low number of children tested
  • 3rd Grade Reading
  • 2012 - 47%, (53% below basic). State - 74%
  • 2011 - Tested, but results not made public due to low number of children tested
  • 3rd Grade Math
  • 2012 - 60%, (20% below basic). State - 80%
  • 2011 - Tested, but results not made public due to low number of children tested
  • Tuition

    Students who live in the local public school district's attendance area may choose to attend one of Pennsylvania's 157 public charter schools. A student living in a neighboring public school district or a foreign exchange student may seek admission to any public School District. For these cases, the Pennsylvania Department of Education sets an annual tuition rate for each school district. It is the amount the public school district pays to a charter school for each resident student that attends the charter and it is the amount a nonresident student's parents must pay to attend the local School District's schools. The 2012 tuition rate for Gettysburg Area School District Elementary Schools - $9,935.50. The 2012 tuition rate for Hanover Public School District Elementary School - $10,150.20. For students who reside in other local school districts, their home school district pays its mandated tuition rate to the charter school.

    The 2015 tuition rate for Gettysburg Area School District Elementary Schools - $11,081.43. Gettysburg Area SD's per pupil spending was $18,658.95. The 2014 tuition rate for Hanover Public School District Elementary School was $10,437.10; while Hanover Public SD's per pupil spending was $15,327.02 in 2014.

    Special education

    In December 2015, Vida Charter School administration reported that 18 pupils or 7% of the school's pupils received Special Education services, with 0% of the identified students having a specific learning disability.

    In 2012, the School's administration reported that 20 pupils or 12.4% of the school's pupils received Special Education services, with 60% of the identified students having a specific learning disability. Special education services in the Commonwealth are provided to students from ages three years to 21 years old. In the 2010-11 school year, the total student enrollment, in Pennsylvania public schools was more than 1.78 million students with approximately 275,000 students eligible for special education services. Among these students 18,959 were identified with mental retardation and 21,245 students with autism. The largest group of students are identified as Specific Learning Disabilities 126,026 students (46.9 percent) and Speech or Language Impairments with 43,542 students (16.2 percent).

    In order to comply with state and federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rules and regulations, the school engages in identification procedures to ensure that eligible students receive an appropriate educational program consisting of special education and related services, individualized to meet student needs. At no cost to the parents, these services are provided in compliance with state and federal law; and are reasonably calculated to yield meaningful educational benefit and student progress . To identify students who may be eligible for special education services, various screening activities are conducted on an ongoing basis. These screening activities include: review of group-based data (cumulative records, enrollment records, health records, report cards, ability and achievement test scores); hearing, vision, motor, and speech/language screening; and review by the Special Education administration. When screening results suggest that the student may be eligible, the School seeks parental consent to conduct a multidisciplinary evaluation. Parents who suspect their child is eligible may verbally request a multidisciplinary evaluation from a professional employee of the School. The IDEA 2004 requires each school entity to publish a notice to parents, in newspapers or other media, including the student handbook and website regarding the availability of screening and intervention services and how to access them.

    Funding for special education services come from additional payment by the resident public school district set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In 2010, the state of Pennsylvania provided $1,026,815,000 for Special Education services. This funding is in addition to the state's basic education per pupil funding, as well as, all other state and federal funding. The Special Education funding structure is through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds and state appropriations. IDEA funds are appropriated to the state on an annual basis and distributed through intermediate units (IUs) to school districts, while state funds are distributed directly to the districts. Total funds that are received by school districts are calculated through a formula. The Pennsylvania Department of Education oversees four appropriations used to fund students with special needs: Special Education; Approved Private Schools; Pennsylvania Chartered Schools for the Deaf and Blind; and Early Intervention. The Pennsylvania Special Education funding system assumes that 16% of the district’s students receive special education services. It also assumes that each student’s needs accrue the same level of costs. Over identification of students, in order to increase state funding, has been an issue in the Commonwealth. Some districts have more than 20% of its students receiving special education services while others have 10% supported through special education. The state requires each public school district and charter school to have a three-year special education plan to meet the unique needs of its special education students. In 2012, the Obama Administration's US Department of Education issued a directive requiring schools include students with disabilities in extracurricular activities, including sports.

    Wellness policy

    Vida Charter School Board of Trustees established a wellness policy in 2009. The policy deals with nutritious meals served at school, the control of access to some foods and beverages during school hours, age appropriate nutrition education for all students, and physical education for students K-12. The policy is in response to state mandates and federal legislation (P.L. 108 – 265). The law dictates that each school district participating in a program authorized by the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1751 et seq) or the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq) "shall establish a local school wellness policy by School Year 2006."

    The legislation placed the responsibility of developing a wellness policy at the local level so the individual needs of each district or charter school can be addressed. According to the requirements for the Local Wellness Policy, schools must set goals for nutrition education, physical activity, campus food provision, and other school-based activities designed to promote student wellness. Additionally, schools were required to involve a broad group of individuals in policy development and to have a plan for measuring policy implementation. Schools were offered a choice of levels of implementation for limiting or prohibiting low nutrition foods on the school campus. In final implementation these regulations prohibit some foods and beverages on the school campus. The Pennsylvania Department of Education required the district to submit a copy of the policy for approval.

    Vida Charter School works to provide an economically sustainable meal program making available a healthy and nutritious breakfast, lunch, and after-school snack (during after-school activities) to every student. The School has the goal to utilize food from its school gardens and local farms.

    Vida Charter School provides health services as mandated by the Commonwealth and the federal government. Nurses are available to conduct annual health screenings (data reported to the PDE and state Department of Health) and to dispense prescribed medications to students during the school day. Students can be excluded from school unless they comply with all the State Department of Health’s extensive immunization mandates. School nurses monitor each pupil for this compliance. Nurses also monitor each child's weight.

    School safety and bullying

    The Vida Charter School administration reported there were zero incidents of bullying in the School in 2012-13. Additionally, there were and no sexual incidents involving students. There were also no incidents where local law enforcement was involved. Each year the school safety data is reported by the every Pennsylvania public school to the Safe School Center, which then publishes the compiled reports online.

    The Vida Charter School Board of Trustees has provided the school's antibully policy online. All Pennsylvania schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy incorporated into their Code of Student Conduct. The policy must identify disciplinary actions for bullying and designate a school staff person to receive complaints of bullying. At Vida Charter School the Principal is so designated. The policy must be available on the school's website and posted in every classroom. All Pennsylvania public schools must provide a copy of its anti-bullying policy to the Office for Safe Schools every year, and must review their policy every three years. Additionally, the school must conduct an annual review of that policy with students. The Center for Schools and Communities works in partnership with the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist schools and communities as they research, select and implement bullying prevention programs and initiatives.

    Education standards relating to student safety and anti harassment programs are described in the 10.3. Safety and Injury Prevention in the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety and Physical Education.

    Wellness grant

    Vida Charter School won a $1,000 Nutritional Education Grant, from the Consumer Wellness Center (AZ). A registered dietician will teach students about the importance of integrating whole foods into their diet, and will lead them in cooking and preparation exercises designed to catalyze practical dietary changes. The grant funds were used to purchase food and cooking equipment.

    References

    Vida Charter School Wikipedia


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