LVA celebrates IB “Four” All!

Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School is
one of two schools in the United States to offer the
Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme & Career-related Programme.

This year marks the start of Lehigh Valley Academy’s (LVA) seventeenth year of operation.  For the last sixteen years, LVA has prided itself on many things, one of them being the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme.  In 2006, LVA was authorized to offerHIMG_6707 the Primary Years Programme (PYP), followed by the Diploma Programme (DP) in 2007, and the Middle Years Programme (MYP) in 2009.  LVA is thrilled to now be able to add the Career-related Programme (CP) to that list of authorizations, making it one of two schools in the United States to offer all four programmes and one of twenty-three in the world to offer all four programmes.

The CP is IB’s fourth program and stemmed from a need to balance career-readiness with challenging academics.  While many career-readiness programs don’t offer students access to academic rigor, the CP has this tenant as its cornerstone.  Like the DP, students in the CP will take academically challenging courses; however, they will have the opportunity to select a career pathway.

CP students will have a core just like DP students have a core.  The CP core, however, looks a little different:

  • Personal and Professional Skills (PPS):  This class will show students how to succeed in today’s world in the classroom and beyond.  They will focus on effective communication skills, resume writing, interview skills, and how to effectively collaborate in the workplace.  
  • Service Learning:  Like the DP, students in CP will complete a service learning component.  Students will interact with their community; students will serve an authentic need while learning new skills.  Students will work with the PPS class and teacher to develop a service learning project that relates to the chosen career pathway.
  • Reflective Project (RP):  Similar to the Extended cp-model-enEssay in the DP, students will write an extended piece of academic writing that will focus on research and developing an argument.  The RP will focus on an ethical dilemma in the student’s pathway. 
  • Language Development:  Instead of taking a DP language class, students in the CP will be allowed to study a language of their choice using Duolingo.  This course will culminate in a language portfolio to demonstrate their learning.

In the spring of 2017, Mrs. Mauser and I attended a training on CP to find out if it would be a good fit for LVA.  After that training, we knew CP was the perfect fit for LVA. We are proud that we can offer DP to all of our students, a programme that oftentimes is highly selective.  The IB is working hard to change this perception, and schools like LVA are at the forefront of that change. While we firmly stand behind our IB-for-All mission and believe that all students benefit from a DP education, we realize that DP isn’t always the best fit for everyone.  This is where CP fits in. It allows students to take a few DP courses and focus on a career pathway to prepare them for college or the workforce.

On April 11, 2018, a team from IB visited LVA to talk to our staff, students, and parents, and assess our readiness to offer CP.  As a result of the visit, the team had many commendations for LVA.  In particular, the team applauded LVA for:

  • “its desire to ensure that more students are part of a full IB programme.”
  • “creatively incorporating the IB learner profile into the ethos of the school community.  It permeates the school culture.”
  • developing “a comprehensive program for English Language Learners that includes extensive classroom support for teachers and students.”
  • developing  “the context to implement an inclusive CP with policies and practices that effectively support special educational needs.”

Like the IB, LVA is a dynamic institution.  We are definitely proud of our Diploma Programme, but we recognize the need to grow with and for our students and for the local and global communities of which they will be a part.

To begin our CP journey, LVA has decided to offer two career pathways from Project Lead the Way:  Biomedical and Engineering. These are the most popular careers our students choose to study in college.  They are also pathways that can prepare students for careers, two-year degrees, and four-year degrees. The Biomedical pathway, for instance, caHIMG_6770n prepare students for two-year medical related career programs, technical medical programs, and pre-professional programs.  While we are starting with these two pathways, we do want to add more. The hope is to add a business/management pathway. After this, the sky truly is the limit; the CP is an extremely flexible program that we hope will meet the needs of students at LVA.

Our first CP cohort will consist of about 40 students, which is approximately 40% of the 2018-2019 sophomore class.  

For more information on the Career-related Programme, please visit the Career-related Programme page on LVA’s website:  Career-related Programme Page.

Mr. Andrew Hall

DP/CP Coordinator, Project Lead the Way Coordinator

LVA Announces Charter Renewal

LVA Entrance Sign

Bethlehem, PA (May 19, 2017) – The Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School (LVA) announced today that their charter has officially been renewed. The charter renewal authorizes operation from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2021 without enrollment caps.
In accordance with Pennsylvania Charter School law, LVA is required to participate in a charter renewal process every five years with both of its chartering school districts, Bethlehem Area School District (BASD) and Saucon Valley School District (SVSD). The charter approval process stalled in December due to the inclusion of enrollment caps in the charter approved by the BASD Board of Directors . LVA filed for an appeal with the Charter Appeals Board (CAB) and filed a lawsuit in Northampton County seeking to maintain the legal right to operate without limitations on enrollment. In January, SVSD and LVA approved and executed a charter agreement that did not include any enrollment caps.
LVA’s charter appeal was granted, receiving a unanimous vote of approval by the Charter Appeals Board. Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Pedro A. Rivera, signed the charter agreement on Bethlehem Area School District’s behalf. As an executed charter was achieved that does not include any enrollment caps, the lawsuit filed in Northampton County will be withdrawn.
Lehigh Valley Academy CEO Susan Mauser stated, “As the school year comes to a close, we are pleased to have a signed charter agreement. We are thankful that the Charter Appeals Board quickly executed this decision.”
In addition to the signed charter, LVA received notification that the Middle States Association (MSA) approved its mid-term report, thus authorizing LVA’s continuing designation as a MSA accredited school through 2021. Mauser commented, “This charter renewal and the MSA Accreditation, in addition to regular evaluations by the International Baccalaureate (IB), are independent assessments that validate Lehigh Valley Academy’s commitment to excellence.”

Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School (LVA), located in Bethlehem, PA is an accredited public charter school serving 1,700 students from 16 separate school districts in the Lehigh Valley. LVA is the only fully authorized International Baccalaureate World School in Pennsylvania that offers an IB continuum to all students in grades K-12. Beginning with full-day kindergarten and continuing through a student’s senior year, the school emphasizes inquiry-based learning and critical thinking to prepare a student for higher education and the 21st century globalized environment. LVA is committed to developing young people into active, knowledgeable and caring members of a world-wide, diverse society.

Strong Schools, Strong Communities: Charter School Advocacy information

What can I do?

Lehigh Valley Academy is a proponent of school choice. In support of our status as a public, non-profit charter school, we believe in responsible advocacy grounded in an understanding of issues, facts, laws and appropriate actions taken with the highest respect to a positive, polite, informative discourse, defense, or presentation.

In the past years, we have quietly supported LVA in many venues although at many times, we were not given the opportunity for our voice to be heard. We have always appreciated the supportive voices of students, parents, grandparents, employees, educators, politicians, vendors, consultants, IB representatives, school visitors, and Lehigh Valley community members.

Social mediacharter-school

LVA Facebook

LVA Jr/Sr High School Facebook

LVA Twitter

LVA Jr/Sr High School Twitter

LVA Instagram

LVA Jr/Sr High School Instagram

LVA YouTube

Write a letters to school board members – email addresses and mailing addresses

Bethlehem Area School District – Education Center
Board of Directors
1516 Sycamore Street
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18017-6099
Email a Bethlehem Area School District Board Member

Saucon Valley School District – District Office
Board of Directors
2097 Polk Valley Rd.
Hellertown, PA 18055
Email a Saucon Valley School District Board Member

Letters to politicians – email addresses and mailing addresses
Find my elected representatives

Attend an LVA Parent Advisory Council (P.A.C.) meeting
Contact your building principal for future PAC meeting dates, times, and information.

Email Mrs. Walter in the ES K-3 building

Email Mrs. Fischer in the ES 4-6 building

Email Ms. Nonnemacher in the HS 7-12 building

Email or call LVA when you have questions
Admissions – 610-866-9660  x4100

Where can I get information about Charter Schools?

Keystone Alliance for Public Charter Schools

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

PA Department of Education Charter School Information

Where can I get information about the International Baccalaureate Organization?
Lehigh Valley Academy is authorized to provide the IB Programmes through the International Baccalaureate Organization.

International Baccalaureate Organization

PA Department of Education IB Toolkit

Where can I get information about Lehigh Valley Academy?

LVA Website

Attend an LVA Board Meeting

LVA Board Information

Meeting Schedule

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead