In any environment, no matter how ideal, the education of our youth is a daunting task. The process of educating youth becomes even more difficult when it involves children for whom other issues stand in the way of education – issues such as disruptive behavior, incorrigibility, academic obstacles, or peer pressure.
Ketterer Charter School was the first public charter school in Westmoreland County founded in 1998. The charter school serves as an LEA with the same responsibilities for FAPE as all other Pennsylvania public schools. The charter school was created to address the specific needs of disruptive youth. Ketterer Charter School’s niche is that our student population consist mainly of adjudicated youth from across Pennsylvania who are considered neglected and/or delinquent and students from our local school districts who are having difficulties conforming to a traditional public school setting. Our student population is very unique. On average, daily membership consist of 215 students although the charter school provides educational services to more than 500 student annually. Ketterer Charter School provides FAPE to secure, residential, independent living, day treatment, alternative education and emotional support students. On average, our student population consist of 56% special education and 87% disadvantaged youth.
The educational opportunities available at the charter school are aligned with Pennsylvania Department of Education’s regulations and guidelines. Within the charter school, there is an abundance of educational opportunities available. Youth are engaged in a full academic schedule that is individualized to meet their individual needs. Ketterer Charter School offers a curriculum based on the PA Core and is tailored to meet the individual needs of the youth it serves. During the school day, all students receive a minimum of two full academic periods of mathematics and language arts. Ketterer Charter School receives Title I funds. This allows for all students to have additional support in mathematics and language arts. Understanding that many youth are deficient in credits needed for graduation, we provide maximum opportunity daily. All students enrolled a full year have the potential to earn a minimum of seven academic credits. In addition to the daily academic schedule, students are provided with the opportunity to receive remedial support, credit recovery and career readiness skills after school hours. Students with exceptionalities also receive additional support from four special education coordinators in an inclusive setting.
Behaviorally, students are provided with a variety of behavior support interventions as well. All classrooms contain an appropriately PA certified teacher, group home counselors and as needed administration, guidance counselor, special education coordinators, therapist and student support services personnel. All staff involved with our students have been trained in de-escalation, safe crisis management, contracting, Sanctuary principles, Reality Therapy/Choice Theory and behavior modification strategies. Students take part in a Token Economy to promote positive behavior and academic performance.
Ketterer Charter School is operated by an independent School Board of Trustees. Families pay no tuition for their child to attend. Students enjoy small class sizes and transportation is provided by the students home district if the boundaries are within a 10 mile radius of the charter school buildings.