PCPCS News

House hearing examines reopening schools during COVID-19

Public charter school leader to testify on how charter schools plan to educate 143,000 students

HARRISBURG (JUNE 16, 2020) – Larry Jones, vice president of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools, will testify Wednesday before the House Education Committee on how public charter schools are preparing to reopen schools this fall during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jones, CEO of Richard Allen Preparatory Charter School in Philadelphia, will join school district leaders to discuss their plans for students returning to the classroom. The committee’s virtual hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 17. The hearing will be live streamed at: http://www.pahousegop.com/livestreams.

Jones will discuss the challenges faced by brick-and-mortar public charter schools, including ensuring that students in underserved areas have access to technology and high-speed internet. At Richard Allen, Jones said, school officials supplied Chromebooks to approximately 40 percent of their students via a drive thru/walk-up distribution system when schools statewide were closed.

Public cyber charter schools, which have been teaching students online for 20 years, offered assistance and guidance to any brick-and-mortar school – public, private or charter – switching to virtual instruction. Despite some barriers, Jones said that brick-and-mortar charter schools across Pennsylvania were able to transition to remote learning faster than many district schools because of their independence and flexibility.

Jones said public charter schools will continue to work closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, following its restrictions and guidelines for reopening schools. He said timely and comprehensive information is needed to help schools with their reopening plans, especially smaller independent schools that do not have a lot of administrators and staff.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the testimony, please contact Jess Hickernell at j.hickernell@pacharters.org or 717-371-8155.

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About PCPCS: The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) is the state’s largest and most active organization advocating for both brick-and-mortar and cyber charter schools. Pennsylvania’s 180 charter schools educate more than 143,000 students and demand for these public schools continue to grow with more than 40,000 students on charter school waitlists. For more information on PCPCS or charters schools, visit www.pacharters.org.