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


How to help your Elementary students prepare for PSSA’s: Part 2 of 2

It Takes A Village: Preparing for the PSSA at Home

You’ve heard it said that it  takes a village to raise a child.  It also takes a village to prepare students for the PSSA.  Teachers, specialists and students have been hard at work since August and now it’s your child’s time to shine.  As parents you may be wondering, “What can I do at home to help my child prepare?”  Well, you may not have realized it but you’ve already begun.  You’ve prepared them by ensuring that they attended school regularly.  You’ve sat with them while they completed their homework and prepared for tests. Krammes You’ve reached out to teachers with questions about how to help them be successful.  You’ve provided books and magazines for your child to read at home, which helped them learn new words.  So as the PSSAs approach, keep doing what you’ve been doing!  In addition, here are a few ways that you can set your child up for success on the test.

Before the Test:

Build your child’s confidence by reminding them that this is their opportunity to show what they know.  Remind them of their strengths.  If you know your child has struggled in a particular area, you can help him or her by providing extra practice at home using workbooks, apps, or online resources.  

Reduce anxiety.  Keep conversations about the PSSAs encouraging and low key.  Reduce anxiety triggers at home if possible, and familiarize your child with the testing schedule ahead of time.  Everyone will feel a little better when they know what to expect.

On Testing Days:

Make every effort to keep these days as stress free as possible. As such, please avoid  scheduling appointments during test days and arrive to school on time. Testing begins promptly at 8:30.  Students that arrive late will not be allowed to enter the classroom and will need to complete the missed portion of the test on a make-up day.  Also, make sure your child gets plenty of sleep in the days preceding the PSSAs and provide a good breakfast on testing days.

pssa1After the test, ask your child how they felt. What went well? What could have gone differently? Praise their efforts and reward their honesty. Then make time for some play and exercise, a hearty dinner, and a wonderful night’s rest. Remember, this test is just a tiny slice of a child’s academic portfolio. These tests can be viewed as a way to celebrate your child’s growth.  It’s their opportunity to apply all the knowledge they’ve gleaned so far this year and demonstrate it in a formalized way.

Mrs. Lisa Krammes

ES K-3 Reading Specialist

Lehigh Valley Academy

How to help your Elementary students prepare for PSSA’s: Part 1 of 2

We can’t believe it is almost time for the PSSA’s!  LVA students work incredibly hard screadduring the school year learning and applying many test taking strategies.  Our students feel prepared to take on any challenge, but we need the help of our families too!  “There is a superhero inside all of us, we just need the courage to put on the cape”- Unknown.  

Prior to testing, there are many ways families can help their superheroes gain the courage and confidence to power through the PSSAs.  In school we work in quiet classrooms; you can try creating a quiet working environment for homework too!  Helping your child develop good study habits will directly benefit them in the classroom.  Since your child brings homework home most nights, take this opportunity to reinforce the testing strategies that are being taught in school.  Having your child double check their assignment, allows you to ask questions about what they have been learning throughout their school day.

All superheroes want to enhance their super powers; one easy way to do this is through reading.  In the 4-6 building, we encourage our scholars to read for a minimum of twenty minutes each night.  We also have reading incentives, where our students record the amount of minutes that they are reading nightly.  Once they reach the goal, the students are rewarded with a reading party.  This winter, we held a snowball themed Minute-To-Win-It party!  Since our students are challenging themselves to read at home, there are several ways you can help your child take part in our future reading incentive parties.  Reading books together with your child is a great way to get started.  Even though your child is older, this doesn’t mean you can’t read together!  Whether you are reading a picture book with a younger sibling or reading a novel along with your child, the options are endless.  While reading, ask your child questions about the text to encourage deeper thinking.  These questions may lead to quite an engaging discussion!
During the weeks of the test, there are multiple ways to continue to help your superhero soar!  Encourage your child to practice the Mindful Minute as a strategy to calm and destress themselves at the end of the day.  pssa1Getting to bed on time allows our body the much needed rest we require during this busy time of the year.  Each morning, try to start the day with a healthy breakfast and some positive and encouraging morning chatter.  Arriving to school on time is also important, as we will need plenty of time to prepare for our busy and productive day!  Also, please try to keep your schedule as normal as possible.   Reflecting on these thoughtful tips can help your child gain courage to wear their superhero cape with pride!

Mrs. Sarah Cunningham

ES 4-6 Reading Specialist

Lehigh Valley Academy RCS

LVA Community Spotlight: Meghan Coble, LVA fifth grader

Meghan Coble, a Fifth grade student at Lehigh Valley Academy is among eight national winners in the “Lighting for Pupils” essay contest created by the lighting company, Acuity Brands.  As a result, Meghan’s classroom will receive a free installation of tunable white lighting from Acuity Brands. Tunable White lighting allows a teacher to adjust, or “tune,” the color of the light – warmer or cooler- to be just right for the classroom activity. Research shows it helps improve student mood, behavior & focus.  135 students from Meghan Cobleacross the country submitted essays focused on “What Light Means to Me,” and why it should be in their classrooms.  Meghan’s essay was one of  8 winners selected.

What light Means to Me

What light means to me is to come out of the darkness.I got my inspiration from a book called “City of Ember” because they are coming out of the darkness. So coming out of the darkness is is like stepping into happiness and it is a wonderful feeling and you are making this your moment and stepping out of your shadow you might have been hiding in for so long.

You should make your life bright.Even if it is a gloomy day and it is raining or cloudy you can make it a good day and make it bright by your mood, your personality, and the way you act towards people.

In “City of Ember” they come out of the darkness that they have been trapped in for so long.The main characters Doon and Lina find their way out of Ember and lead the Emberites into a place called Sparks.Sparks is a nice place for them because they did not know what light was and now they are in a light filled world.

When you step out of your shadow you are going out of your comfort zone and taking a risk into the light filled world.You should look around and see the light around you and be glad you have light and not let the littlest things take the light out of your world.

In conclusion, What light means to me is to step out of the darkness and go into the light filled world.This will make you feel great and wonderful inside and even if the sun doesn’t shine on you make it shine on your wonderful self.So remember light is every where and that is what light means to me coming out of darkness.

By, Meghan Coble

Acuity Brands Blog



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

‘Paper-Free Day’ at Lehigh Valley Academy


To celebrate Paper-Free Day, our Fourth Graders communicated their annotations while synthesizing a first hand and a secondhand account by writing on their desks. They compared and contrasted the various accounts of Michelle Kwan’s career and achievements. These scholars tackled complex texts with such enthusiasm!

Our Fifth Grade thinkers examined the text “My Dogs and Me” and annotated in a Google Doc. They showed they were knowledgeable using Google Forms to answer questions. These paper free peers were reflective about their answers using the feedback from Google Forms and collaborative discussion.

paperless2Our sixth graders read the story “Ish” by Peter H. Reynolds during a center. They were given six questions linked to stopping points in the story. After hearing the question and rereading that part of the book, the students responded to the questions on their desks. These communicators shared in a discussion afterwards about the character trait “admirable”.

Mrs. Hemingway’s fifth grade encore students took the idea of Paper Free Day one step further. They used their math skills to collect and analyze the financial impact of the day!

Mrs. Sarah Cunningham & Ms. Steph Chimics
ES 4-6 Reading Specialists
Lehigh Valley Academy RCS

A Day in the Life of Lehigh Valley Academy Kindergarten

img_6178Lehigh Valley Academy Regional Charter School (LVA) has provided full day Kindergarten since the school opened in 2002.  We are the only school in the area to practice looping, which means students will have the same teacher for both Kindergarten / First Grade and Second/Third Grades.  This creates a sense of comfort and community within the classroom and allows for more continuity between grades.

We offer a before and after care program (ESP – Extended School Program) which is available for all K-6 students.  This enables parents and caregivers to drop off children as early as 6:45 am so that they are able to head to work.  During this time, the staff will provide homework help and supervise students during activity and play time.

In order to ensure a smooth start to the school year for our Kindergarten students, LVA provides a number of opportunities for the student and family to become familiar with the classroom and our Kindergarten program.  Prior to the start of the year, everyone is invited to our K-6 Open House.  This is followed by Kindergarten Orientation, where families learn more details about the Kindergarten Program and the students practice bus etiquette by riding the bus.

Each classroom has  interactive white boards, infusing technology into their lives every day.  Most of our Kindergarten teachers start their day with a short academic activity to wake up their students’ minds before circle time.  During circle time, students join their teachers in the common play space to review the goals for the day and some basics such as the date and days of the week, weather, the letter of the day or any other special things students need to know.

A bulk of the morning is spent on Language Arts – for Kindergarten students this means phonics, basic comprehension skills, and handwriting.  One of the most exciting things about LVA is that students begin their study of Mandarin Chinese at this age.  Every other day, students will work with their Mandarin Chinese teacher and receive introductory lessons to the language.  LVA also has three reading specialists who visit the classrooms throughout the day to help students where needed.  By the end of Kindergarten,  the goal is for all LVA students to know how to read!

recessLVA operates on a six-day rotation with one specialist class each day.  Kindergarten students will have art, drama, music, library science once in the six days, and PE twice. After specials, all Kindergarten classes head to the cafeteria so students can socialize with one another during lunch time.   Post lunch is every Kindergarten student’s favorite part of the day – recess!  An active body is just as important as an active mind.  From our large playground to inside spaces, LVA teachers make sure students have plenty of time to “shake their sillies out” during the day!

Kindergarten teachers utilize center time throughout the day, where students are placed in small groups for more individualized instruction.  As an IB World School, even our youngest students are introduced to the idea of inquiry-based learning.  Six units of inquiry are taught during the course of the year, encouraging students to learn about themselves and the world around them.  These units are based on the Pennsylvania State Standards in the areas of Social Studies and Science.  For math, students spend their days learning about number sense.  When necessary, students receive extra help from three building level math specialists.  The Primary Years Programme (PYP) guides all students in K-6 at LVA, and fully adheres to the PA Core Standards set by PDE.  PYP students are encouraged to ask questions, develop a lifelong love of learning and become global citizens of the world.

Kindergarten students wind down their day with some much needed quiet time to rest and reflect before packing up.  Bus dismissal flows smoothly and students who are a part of the ESP after school program can stay until parents are able to pick them up, as late as 6 pm.

During the school year, parents can stay connected to the classroom and ensure their child’s success through weekly newsletters, volunteering to help with classroom activities, attending Parent/Student/Teacher Conferences or chaperoning one of the field trips.

Kindergarten is a fun and exciting time for many families – we are so excited that you opted to take this journey with LVA!  For more information about Kindergarten admissions, please contact the LVA Admissions office at 610-866-9660 extension 4100 or

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

The Great Kindness Challenge 2017

As actor Morgan Freeman once said, “How do we change the world? One random act of kindness at a time.”    During the week of February 21st-24th, the LVA Aevidum team and the Elementary School 4-6 students and staff, participated in the Great Kindness Challenge.  

gkc4What is Aevidum you ask?  Aevidum translates to “I’ve Got Your Back”.  The high school team is available to listen, comfort, advise, and acknowledge each student knowing that this is a judgment-free zone.  This means that you will not be alone because you have a support system. Thank you to our High School Aevidum team for partnering on this awesome event.

The Great Kindness Challenge is a powerful event that actively engages students, teachers and families in helping to create a school culture of unity, respect, and acceptance. Check out some of the amazing things going on…….

The students in grade 4-6 were all given a copy of 50 suggested acts of kindness they cgkcthermometerould demonstrate to others throughout the week.  For those students that completed at least 25 acts of kindness from the list, a certificate of recognition was awarded. Check out our Kindness Thermometer!  

A kindness station was set up and students wrote special messages to their peers, thank you notes to the person of their choice, and decorated posters to hang throughout the gkc3school.

Each student will be given a link to write a time someone has shown kindness to them and all links will be attached together to make a schoolwide chain of kindness.  We will end the week gkc2with our grade level monthly assemblies to celebrate our accomplishments throughout February.


Mrs. Shea Ace

Community Relations Coordinator

Lehigh Valley Academy

Get Your Super Powers ready……for PSSA’s!

Our Elementary School’s 4-6 building has a ton of exciting things ins.chimicscomic (1).jpg the works in preparation for the annual PSSAs!  We are enthusiastic about our students being in the right mindset to show how knowledgeable they are and to communicate all that they have been learning this year. We are committed to showing the state that we can “be more awesome” every single year!

Our superpowers are all of the fantastic test-taking strategies that we have been incorporating into our everyday learning experiences.  Throughout our entire school day, our students are analyzing, examining, evaluating, and connecting, all while being IB thinkers and inquirers! Our students have become experts at making annotations, analyzing questions before attempting to answer them (underlining, highlighting, and circling, oh my!) and being confident enough to be risk-takers when we encounter new and challenging circumstances.

Another new superpower our 4-6 students have learned is how to take a moment and be reflective on mindfulness and how to use breathing strategies to keep us calm all day long!  A special shoutout to Mrs. Schaefer, an amazing parent volunteer who has coached our students to become masters of mindfulness.

Our enthusiastic teachers and specialists have been busy getting creative with our annual PSSA kick-off video, which will be shared with students during our 4-6 assemblies.  Similar to previous years, the goal is to help our students feel confident as test-takers and be even more ready to show what they know.  We want to demonstrate just how proud we are of all the commitment we have seen this year and that we are confident that they are ready to take on the challenge!s-chimicsdolls

We would like to invite our parents to get involved in a variety of ways too!  During our Spring Open House on March 30th, parents are invited to communicate words of encouragement and inspiration to our students through letter-writing.  Mrs. Fischer will also be hosting a PAC meeting to help our parents become more knowledgeable about the PSSAs.  Please participate on Thursday, March 9th at 8:30AM.  Your support helps our students be their absolute best and show that LVA can “be more awesome” than ever before!

Ms. Steph Chimics
ES 4-6 Reading Specialist