Wissahickon Charter School receives $1.5 million grant for expansion

 A rendering of the new Wissahickon Charter School in Germantown. (Courtesy of Wissahickon Charter School)

A rendering of the new Wissahickon Charter School in Germantown. (Courtesy of Wissahickon Charter School)

The Wissahickon Charter School is the recipient of a $1.5 million grant that will be used for the creation of a second K-8 campus in Germantown.

The grant is from The Philadelphia School Partnership’s “Great Schools Funds,” which is designed to turn around, expand or create new-high quality schools. It will be administered over the course of three years and will allow the school to serve up to 500 students at the second location.

Krist Littell, Wissahickon Charter School’s co-CEO, said part of the grant will be used to build the site and the rest of the money will enable them to utilize a unique enrollment strategy.

“Wissahickon Charter School will stagger its enrollment until we reach full capacity in the third year of operation of the site and the funding will help pay for the gap that comes with that staggering enrollment model,” said Littell.

She said the new school is expected to be built and operational for the 2014-2015 school year and will enroll students in kindergarten through third grade the first year as well as sixth graders. The next year, students in the fourth and seventh grade will be able to attend and the third year will include fifth and eighth graders.

She said they have already found a site, which she described as “a dream site” for them.

The site is in close proximity to Awbury Arboretum, Weavers Way Coop’s urban farm and the Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed Partnership, which ties in to the school’s environmental focus.

Littell hopes the school will be able to tap into the resources of the nearby organizations in order to create meaningful educational opportunities for their students such as service learning projects at Awbury Arboretum by testing the water quality of the ponds. She also hopes they will be able to get some fresh fruits and vegetables in the school and assist the farm by providing composted material.

“The way we approach education is very special and we feel proud that PSP sees that in us too,” said Littell. “We are just really excited to get more kids in our doors and learning about the earth and having a rich academic experience as well.” 

The Wissahickon Charter School is a K-8 Charter School serving 30 zip codes with 77 percent of its students coming from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal