Nov. 3, 2017—LeadingAge has awarded Kendal-Crosslands Communities its 2017 Hobart Jackson Diversity and Inclusion Award for the community’s five-year collaboration with educators and advocates to create the Chester Charter School for the Arts in Chester, Pennsylvania, one of the poorest cities in the nation.
“We applaud Kendal for recognizing a need in an at-risk community near your life plan community and making a real difference, one that will last for decades to come,” Amanda Marr, LeadingAge’s Vice President, Communications, wrote in notifying KCC of the honor. The award was presented Oct. 30 at the LeadingAge annual meeting in New Orleans.
In 2012, residents of Kendal at Longwood joined John Alston, then a music professor at Swarthmore College, and Chester city educators and advocates to create an educational start-up for the children of Chester. Five years later, Kendal residents and Chester families and teachers celebrated the success of their partnership and their school, now known as the Chester Charter School for the Arts. CCSA is a public nonprofit, arts-integrated charter school serving students in the predominantly African-American city of Chester, near Philadelphia.
Kendal residents have dedicated their time, talents and resources to CCSA. Residents have been instrumental in making this innovative, urban school a reality—sharing ideas and resources, leading tours to engage new volunteers and supporters, and hosting presentations. When the school first opened, it was in a converted warehouse serving 320 students in grades K-6. Now, five years later, CCSA has grown to serve 541 children in grades K-10. CCSA will expand to serve 650 children in grades K-12 in 2018—nearly 10 percent of Chester’s school-aged population.
“In classic Kendal-style, the initiatives that earned this honor were driven by Kendal-Crosslands Communities residents who have positively altered the trajectory of the Chester Charter School for the Arts and its inspired students,” said Sean Kelly, Kendal’s President and CEO.