University Charter School has just been selected for a $150k contribution from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama to support the newly-established charter school. This is the largest single monetary contribution to the school to date.
The generous contribution from the Daniel Foundation will be used for start-up technology needs and curriculum components throughout the planning year, which began in October of 2017 and continues through September of this year. Funds will also support general operating costs through the first year of the school’s opening.
UCS Head of School Dr. J.J. Wedgworth said that the contribution is a significant boost for the school’s long list of needs.
“We requested funds to support start-up costs and operational costs associated with the implementation of the personalized, STREAM, project-based and place-based curriculum in an innovative rural school setting,” Wedgworth explained. “The costs of implementing such an innovative and progressive model are steep, but with this support from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, we are well on the way to providing state-of-the-art tools and resources for the families of Sumter County and the extended region.”
The Daniel Foundation of Alabama is a viable presence in the philanthropic community of Alabama, supporting educational, health, humanitarian and cultural activities in Birmingham and throughout Alabama. The organization’s list of qualifying priorities helps ensure that its funding recipients emphasize the most prevalent needs and beneficial opportunities throughout communities.
Among the Daniel Foundation’s priorities is advocacy and programming that promotes bold approaches to Alabama’s public school challenges, and programs working to provide better educational opportunities for K-12 students.
“We hope our funding serves as an encouragement for other funding,” said Maria S. Kennedy, executive director of the Daniel Foundation of Alabama. “We continue to be excited about being a part of the good work taking place in the communities throughout Alabama.”
UCS and the Daniel Foundation share the belief that quality education provides the basis for individual opportunity and economic vitality, particularly for school children in underserved areas where economic disadvantages exist. The school and the Foundation also share as a priority readiness for both higher education and employment opportunities.
UCS is one of Alabama’s first public charter schools, and it is midway through its planning year as granted by the Alabama Public Charter School Commission upon approval without condition of its charter application in July of 2017. The school will open its doors as a pre-K through 8 school in August of 2018, adding a grade each year thereafter until becoming a pre-K through 12 school in 2022.
The school has a capacity for 350 students in grades pre-k through 8 for the academic year beginning in August of 2018. Pre-registration periods for both Sumter County residents and non-Sumter residents were held beginning in November of 2017 through January of 2018.
The Daniel Foundation’s contribution is added to more than $430k in community support that has been pledged since plans for the school began developing. This includes a $6,000 grant from Tombigbee RC&D to build a fence for a designated playground. Support has been received from parents of area school children, community members, business and industry leaders, public officials, and other community leaders. The University of West Alabama, as sponsor of the school’s application and community partner, has also pledged in-kind support for the school.