MIDLAND, Pa., May 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The development and launch of a new public charter high school is taking several leaps forward this week, as Midland Innovation + Technology Charter School (MITCS) announced it is receiving a major grant and two significant donations that will further its work.
On Monday, the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) revealed MITCS as one of three sub-grantees who may receive as much as $1.5 million each through Pennsylvania's Charter School Program (PACSP) Grant. This award marks the inaugural year of the grant award that will support the development, expansion and replication of 18 high-quality public schools in Pennsylvania over a grant period of five years (2021-25). Each school will be a nonprofit, brick-and-mortar charter school whose model and/or track record demonstrate a strong likelihood that they will produce meaningful and sustainable student learning gains.
"PCPCS and the PACSP team are committed to helping develop and expand educational options throughout the commonwealth," said Brandie Karpew co-director of PACSP. "We are committed to giving students more opportunities to enroll in high-quality public charter schools, and MITCS has proven that they have the leadership and expertise to build a great new school for kids."
"We're grateful to the Coalition for this tremendous validation of our team's vision and work, and honored by the faith they are placing in us," said Stephen Catanzarite, chairman of the MITCS Planning Committee and Acting CEO.
"Midland Innovation + Technology Charter School will continue the tradition of excellence that begins with the Midland Borough School District and is carried far and wide by the numerous public education innovations it continues to inspire. This historic grant will provide the foundation upon which we will help generations of students build better futures."
Sean Tanner, Superintendent of the Midland Borough School District (which authorized the charter school and wrote in support of its grant application), noted the significance of the Coalition's grant.
"We are proud of the leadership role our school district plays in creating this innovative approach to high school," Tanner said. "Midland is a community that once saw its children denied access to quality education opportunities. Out of that experience, we have become the community that welcomes children from across Pennsylvania who are searching for a public school option that is right for them."
The Midland Borough School District is also the original charter authorizer of The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, which are both based in the community. PA Cyber currently has an enrollment of approximately 11,500 students in grades K-12, while Lincoln Park educates nearly 800 students in grades 7-12.
Opening in September 2022, Midland Innovation + Technology Charter School will provide students in grades 9 through 12 with the chance to tackle real-life projects and pursue areas of personal interest to prepare them for a world of opportunity. While completing state requirements for a high school diploma, MITCS students will earn certifications, licensing, and even associates degrees in trades, technology, and other fields of endeavor. They will graduate prepared to enter the workforce or continue on through post-secondary education or training. As a public charter school, MITCS provides its services and programming tuition-free to Pennsylvania students. More information is available via the school's website www.mitcharterschool.org.
Growing Support from Business and Industry
Also this week, MITCS announced support from two high-profile influencers in the region's economy who will become founding members of the MITCS Innovators Circle, a group of strategic collaborators being formed to help drive the school's service to students and the regional economy through philanthropic donations and industry-based leadership.
PGT Trucking is providing a $500,000 grant to MITCS to create the PGT Transportation and Logistics Academy. The academy will provide students with the opportunity to earn career-ready credentials in various facets of transportation, logistics, and supply chain management. While trucking will be a primary focus, other courses of study will include training in rail, water, air, cable, and pipeline transportation and logistics.
"PGT is excited about this partnership with MITCS and the opportunities it will create for the young men and women of our region," said Patrick A. (Pat) Gallagher, Founder and President of PGT.
"What has impressed me about the team working to develop this innovative and very needed approach to schooling is their passion and their hustle. I've seen the great things they've achieved in Midland, and I know MITCS is only going to further that record of excellence and success," Gallagher said, adding "I'm all in."
Currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, PGT Trucking is a multi-service transportation firm offering flatbed, dedicated, international, and specialized services to the steel, building materials, machinery, oil and gas, raw materials, aluminum, and automotive industries in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. From its headquarters in Aliquippa, PGT employs more than 1,030 drivers, mechanics, agents, and support staff, and operates in excess of 1,000 power units and over 1,500 trailers nationwide.
Joining PGT as a founding member of the MITCS Innovators Circle is C.J. Betters Enterprises, which is donating the land on which the school's first building will be constructed beginning this summer, and is providing other in-kind services and support. Charles J. Betters, Chairman of the Aliquippa-based and nationally-recognized real estate development firm, was an early advisor to the MITCS planning committee and has been a tireless advocate for the project.
"I want our kids here in Beaver County and the surrounding region to have the education and training they're going to need to build a life for themselves and their families in the coming decades," Betters says.
"I am supporting MITCS because I agree with its mission, and I know just how much a school like this is needed here," Betters adds.
"I also trust and have confidence in the people who are creating it. I'm proud to be associated with this development, and I'm committed to supporting its success."
Chris Shovlin, Executive Director of Development and Government Affairs at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center and a member of the MITCS Planning Committee says Gallagher and Betters are pivotal players in the development of the new charter school.
"We would never have reached this incredible milestone in the development of Midland Innovation + Technology Charter School were it not for the belief, advocacy, and advice Pat and Chuck so generously share with us," Shovlin said.
"PGT and C.J. Betters have made enormous contributions to the local economy over the past several decades. It's an honor that MITCS will be forever associated with their legacies of leadership, service, and innovation."
Building for the Future
This summer, construction will begin on a new $8 million facility that will serve as phase one in the creation of a planned MITCS campus. Designed by CORE Architects of Pittsburgh, the building is being developed by CJ Betters Enterprises, in partnership with the nonprofit Social Impact Properties of Elizabethtown, PA, and Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center. The development will feature an approximately 32,000 square foot facility offering state-of-the-art instructional studios, flexible lab environments for collaborative learning and research, student support spaces, administrative offices, and food service and dining amenities, all in a building designed for inspiration.
Master planning of the facility includes expansion space for the building to grow to accommodate future enrollment and an expanding curriculum. The project will also incorporate sustainable design features throughout all levels of development, an approach that both the MITCS Planning Committee and the CORE Architects team view as essential practice. CORE Architects was selected, in part, because of its experience and expertise in sustainable development.
Jerry Hodge, President of the MITCS Board of Directors, said the design and development of the building is in keeping with the school's vision for creating an environment where diversity, partnership, and collaboration drive innovative approaches to teaching and learning. He also underscored the timeliness of the school.
"What we are proposing is an opportunity that is made for this moment. As western Pennsylvania's communities and regional economy begin to grapple with the promises and complexities of a post-pandemic future, MITCS will prepare our young people to meet these challenges by encouraging them to learn collaboratively, think globally, and act locally."
Midland Innovation + Technology Charter School (MITCS) is a new public high school set to open in September of 2022. Located in Midland, PA (Beaver County) MITCS will provide students with the opportunity to earn their high school diploma while also pursuing certifications, licensing, and associate degrees in high-tech fields and the skilled trades. As a tuition-free public school, MITCS is open for enrollment to any student residing in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For more information visit www.mitcharterschool.org.
Contact: Lindsay Courteau, Director of Marketing & Communications Phone: (724) 340-4449 Email: [email protected]