Enhanced Academics

Elementary Schools Prioritize Learning to Read

Pre-kindergarteners and elementary-aged children are participating in progressive reading programs and measuring their own successes. As their teachers have told them, reading is a learned skill—no one is born knowing how to read. Improving their ability to read has positive impacts on their efforts in all of their classes. They are flourishing in early childhood reading readiness programs and using other approaches in the higher grades. Students are already making measurable progress. The District has seen:

  • a 380% increase in its elementary students reading at grade level from the fall 2013 to the spring 2014, and
  • a 900% increase in reading readiness among our kindergarten students.


Teacher helping a student read at CUSD

The marked achievements in reading and reading readiness are due to a number of factors, including:

  • the District’s strategic partnership with the American Reading Company (ARC), whose mission is to ensure that every student is reading on or above grade level
  • increased professional development of the teaching staff
  • focused literacy instruction in all content areas
  • greater parent involvement through Parent University where parent training prepares parents to reinforce at home what students learn in school, and
  • partnerships with anchor institutions, including local college and universities, city agencies, health and wellness institutions and work force development agencies.

Advanced Learning in Intermediate and High Schools

Toby Farms Intermediate School

  • Provides the middle school child with a caring, respectful environment
  • Follows a school-within-a-school model
  • Features academies for:
    • Allied Health
    • Civics & Government
    • Humanities
  • Bridges students to be career and college ready as they prepare for high school
  • Offers the Parent University program

Chester Upland High School Graduate Moving Tassle

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) Academy at Showalter

Students are accepted by applications and recommendations.

  • Provides hands-on and interactive project-based learning
  • Offers participation and partnerships with other STEM opportunities
  • Special opportunities include:
    • Dual enrollment
    • AP Courses
    • Gifted Education
    • Robotics
    • Annenberg Science Symposium

Chester High School

New leadership with Principal Connie McAllister, a recognized, leading urban educator, has enhanced learning and improved safety.

Offerings include:

  • Honors Academy for high performing students
  • 9th Grade Academy to prepare new students for the high school experience
  • Career technical education
  • Camelot program to help over-age and under-credited students accelerate their coursework to graduate
  • Outstanding culinary program
  • State-renowned sports programs

CUSD Cyber School

Our progressive cyber program is a blend, with students meeting in brick and mortar facilities but choosing from the full spectrum of on-line academic offerings.

Students have the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities, and professional help is always available. Cyber School will be located in a separate section of Chester High School, with a dedicated entrance. Students can travel to the STEM School for Advanced Placement classes or attend Culinary School at Chester High School.

Partnerships for Learning

A wide variety of partners are supporting student achievement at Chester Upland School District, including:

  • The American Reading Company
  • The American Red Cross
  • Crozer Lewis Library
  • Darlington Arts Center
  • Delaware County Community College
  • Harcum College
  • Neumann University
  • Source 4 Success
  • Widener University

One of the ways partnerships benefit district residents, students and staff is through tuition discounts. Chester Upland School District residents and students can take courses at Delaware County Community College at a 50% discount on tuition.

As part of the District’s Parent University initiative, Neumann University is providing free workshops for parents on financial aid, academic readiness, technological fluency and university support services to help parents enroll at the university. District employees and parents or guardians of students receive a 20% discount on tuition for courses offered at Neumann’s Division for Continuing Adult and Professional Studies, as well as its Graduate degree programs.

Widener University contributes tuition remission for employees of the Widener Partnership Charter School, and also offers space, faculty oversight and administrative support to the school.

Special Education for All Types of Learners

Chester Upland recognizes, supports and enhances the opportunities for children and youth with disabilities and their families to maximize their potential.

  • Increased educational opportunities for all special education students
  • New and experienced special education leadership team
  • All staff possess knowledge, skills and abilities to contribute to the education and development of all our children and youth with disabilities
  • Variety of opportunities available in a variety of locations including:
    • in student’s home school
    • in the regular education classroom
    • in specialized classrooms
  • Special education private school placement
  • Implementation of effective systems to maintain compliance and consistency of special education records
  • Daily compliance with special education requirements that is consistently above 95%—an increase of over 20% from prior years’ performance.

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