Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School Receives National Recognition for Commitment to Empowering Students

Named a distinguished high school for STEM and career learning program

Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School announced today that it has been recognized as a 2020-21 Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Distinguished School. It is one of just 310 schools across the U.S. to receive this honor for providing broad access to transformative learning opportunities for students through PLTW Launch. PLTW is a nonprofit organization that serves millions of PreK-12 students and teachers in schools across the U.S. 

The PLTW Distinguished School recognition honors schools committed to increasing student access, engagement, and achievement in their PLTW programs. To be eligible for the designation, Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School had to have more than 75 percent of the student body participating in the program and had to offer at least two PLTW Launch modules at each grade level during the 2019-20 school year. 

Studies show that students decide as early as elementary school whether they like, and think they are good at, math and science. Whether designing a car safety belt or building digital animations based on their own short stories, PLTW Launch students engage in critical and creative thinking, build teamwork skills, and develop a passion for and confidence in STEM subjects.  

“It is a great honor to recognize Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School for their unwavering commitment to provide students with an excellent educational experience despite the unusual circumstances and unique challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented to the educational landscape this past year,” said Dr. Vince Bertram, President and CEO of PLTW. “They should be very proud of their achievements in unlocking their students’ potential and equipping them with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in life beyond the classroom no matter what career path they choose.”

Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School is part of a community of PreK-12 schools, colleges and universities, and corporate and philanthropic partners across the country united around a passion for providing students with inspiring, engaging, and empowering learning opportunities. For more information about PLTW’s recognition program, visit pltw.org/our-programs/program-recognition

Lehigh Valley Academy receives glowing Report from the International Baccalaureate (IB)

In October 2019, Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School (LVA) welcomed a team from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IB). The team’s assignment was to PYPblog1conduct a full evaluation of the school’s Primary Years Programme (PYP)  in grades Kindergarten through 6th grade. IB completes these reviews on a regular basis in order to ensure “that the standards and practices of the programme are being maintained” (IBO, 2020, p.1). Over the course of two days, the IB representatives met with teachers, students, parents, Board members, and administrators. They visited classrooms, observed school activities, and examined lesson plans and student work.   

Lehigh Valley Academy recently received a copy of the completed Evaluation Report.  As a result of this glowing evaluation, LVA achieved a five year reauthorization of the Primary Years Programme. The report indicates LVA is showing satisfactory development in all of the standards and that there are no matters to be addressed. The pyp-structure-graphic-illustration-endocument also lists the following commendations from the team:

  • The school community demonstrates a strong commitment to international-mindedness.
  • The parents are knowledgeable and supportive of the Primary Years Programme.
  • The school has developed additional language supports that are clearly aligned with the philosophy of the PYP.
  • The school effectively supports student language and learning through the development of students’ mother tongues and the acquisition of other languages, including the host country or regional language and culture. 
  • The CEO, the school principals and programme coordinator demonstrate strong pedagogical leadership aligned with the philosophy of the programme.
  • The coordinator has supported the creation of an inclusive community built on respect.
  • The school has created and implemented a framework for daily, dedicated collaborative planning time for teachers.
  • The librarians are an integral part of the programme and ensure that students’ language development is supported.
  • The teachers are fully engaged in the collaborative development of unit planners and the review of the programme of inquiry.
  • The school has prioritized time for collaborative planning and practice. 
  • Teachers explicitly use data on assessment of student learning in the planning process.
  • The school has built a community where parents and students are welcome and encouraged to share their culture and belief systems.
  • The school supports students with learning needs by ensuring credentialed teachers are part of the teaching team. 

LVA would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Kelly Eddinger, PYP Coordinator, and the faculty and staff in the ES K-6 program for their hard work through this process. Ms. Eddinger (1)This was definitely a team effort and the report indicates that our school is implementing the PYP extremely well. We see the results reflected in our students every day! 



International Baccalaureate Organization (2020) Evaluation Report – Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School

A Forever Home for LVA!

Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School (LVA) is pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees has entered into an agreement of sale for a 55 +/- acre property east of Butztown Road in Bethlehem Township, Northampton County at a cost of about $5.4 million for the purpose of building a new school facility. “This fiscally responsible decision ensures fixed costs for the future and supports LVA’s long term plans,” said Martin Smith, President.

The school, currently located at 1560 Valley Center Parkway in Hanover Township, initially secured an agreement of sale on a 31 acre property in Hanover Township at 5300 Jaindl Blvd. During the due diligence period, the Board of Trustees decided to withdraw from the agreement of sale for the Hanover Township property due to insurmountable zoning issues. The new property does not have these zoning issues, with schools being a by-right use according to Bethlehem Township zoning.

“We are so excited about the opportunity to design and build our K-12 forever home.”said Susan Mauser, CEO.  Lehigh Valley Academy is partnering with Alloy 5 for Architectural services, D’Huy Engineering for Project Management, and Terraform Engineering for Land Development.

Upcoming public Facilities Committee meetings are posted on the LVA website.

LVA offers the region another choice in public education for students in grades Kindergarten through senior year. As one of only three fully authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World schools in North America offering all four of IB’s programmes, LVA delivers breadth and depth of learning with global awareness. 

LVA’s programs include the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP), Diploma Programme (DP) and the Career-related Programme (CP). For more information on education at LVA, please visit lvacademy.org and ibo.org. The admissions office can be reached at admissions@lvacademy.org or 610-866-9660 x4100.

If you have additional questions, please email  s.ace@lvacademy.org or call 610-866-9660 extension 4202.

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 wraps up the 2017 MYP Re-authorization visit!

march2LVA recently welcomed a visiting team from the International Baccalaureate (IB) composed of two MYP coordinators who work with IB to evaluate schools like ours across the globe.

The goal of the visiting team was to evaluate the progress that LVA has made over the last five years,  and take note of current strengths and weaknesses in the program related to three major objectives; Philosophy,  Organization,  and Curriculum.

During the visit the team reviewed curriculum documentation, interviewed staff,  students,  parents,  and board members.  The team  visited a number of classrooms to get a clear picture of what LVA is like on a daily basis.  The overall message at our exit meeting was a very positive one and the review team was impressed with everyone they met and all that they were able to see.  This process continues to reaffirm that LVA continues to offer a high quality IB education to all of our students.  march3

Thank you to everyone- students, staff, parents, and administration who helped to make this visit a huge success. The programme here at LVA would not be the same without your support.

Guest Blogger: Mr. Jacob March

Lehigh Valley Academy RCS

Middle Years Programme Coordinator

A special thank you to Mr. March for his dedication.  He worked tirelessly over the last two years preparing  for this visit.  Way to go Mr. March!! #LVAPride

LVA Community Spotlight: Dayanna De Jesus, LVA Class of 2017

img_1493Hello my name is Dayanna De Jesus and I am a senior at Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School, in Bethlehem PA.  I have been a student at LVA since I was in Kindergarten.  On February 21, 2017,  I received the ” Catch a Young Person Doing Something Right” award from Allentown Mayor, Mr. Ed Pawlowski.  

I was nominated and received this award because of my volunteerism in the city of Allentown.  I planned, coordinated, and hosted a fashion show  on January 28, 2017 to raise money for Cancer research.  The models and clothing were all local brands, designers, and young people from the Lehigh Valley.

This fashion show started off as my DP CAS (Creativity, Activity, & Service) project, but it became so much more and this truly made me realize what I love to do.  My journey here at LVA has been great!  With this in mind,  I want to say thank you to everyone that has impacted me at LVA.  This is not only a school but a family.   LVA is a support, a place where you can come as you are, and a place where you are taught so much beyond the classroom.  I feel that I have been challenged and have learned things about myself that have helped me to grow into a better person.

My goal for this event was to bring people together from all walks of life.  I feel that sometimes people think that you need to have money to get somewhere.  I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to do what they love and to also discover a side of themselves that they may not have know existed.

Ms. Dayanna De Jesus
Class of 2017
Lehigh Valley ACademy


Lauren Tarshis visits Lehigh Valley Academy!

LVA was lucky to spend an evening with Lauren Tarshis!  In order to make the Read Across America Week “even more awesome”, our 4-6 building hosted an Author Visit with Mrs.Tarshis on Thursday, March 2nd.  This special nighttime event was a complete sell out, with tons of LVA families coming out and supporting this inspiring author.  We could not be more enthusiastic about all the festivities of the night!

Our 4-6 scholars are avid readers of all of Lauren Tarshis’ works.  She is the New York Times bestselling author of the I I survivedSurvived series, which are famous for being fast-paced historical fiction chapter books about disasters that have occurred throughout history.  These high-interest reads are hard to keep on shelves because they are super entertaining while also helping our readers become more knowledgeable about the history of the global world we share.  

But this author’s influence does not stop there! All grades in the building have been incorporating her articles from Scholastic Storyworks magazine into their daily reading adventures.  From whole group, to small group, to just on their own, our students are navigating her high quality informational texts and dramas like analyzing all-stars!  One favorite title for Sixth Grade has been “Black Sunday”, which helped our thinkers learn about the Dust Bowl.  Fifth Grade has been committed to deeply examining the text “Freedom or Death” and what it means to be a risk-taker in the face of challenges.  Even our Fourth Graders are tackling these terrific texts, with some students developing original timelines to organize the information in the paired texts “Icy History” and “Ice Cream for All!”.  Lauren Tarshis’ work is helping our LVA scholars strengthen their reading superpowers!

Lauren Tarshis has the ability to touch a variety of LVA readers with all different interests.  While presenting her journey as an author last night, she shared that she originally wrote the I Survived series to appeal to boys, but has been pleasantly surprised that it has reached all audiences.  Her presentation last night reached all in attendance too! Cameron, a student who attended the event last night, said, “I thought there was something for everyone to see”.  He described how he enjoyed the flashbacks to her childhood and the sneak peeks of her new books.  His enthusiasm was apparent as he confidently and proudly announced, “I’ve read every single book that she ever wrote!” and that he is eagerly awaiting the release of the new texts.

Jamie, a student who presented Lauren Tarshis with a gift that students created for her, said, “She was sending the message that you can do whatever you want as long as you try until you get there.”  Our LVA students benefited from hearing the strong message that we do not always have to be destined to be something, we can grow into it with effort and perseverance.  Thank you to all of the families who supported this outstanding and inspiring event.  It was a fantastic way to wrap up our Read Across America week!


Ms. Stephanie Chimics and Mrs. Sarah Cunningham

ES Reading Specialists, Lehigh Valley Academy