BETHLEHEM, PA (May 2021)— Recently, some members of the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts (Charter Arts) Black Student Union (BSU) including Trinity Jefferson, Malachi Chapman, and Marlee Davis, along with their faculty advisor, Jodi Fowler, began painting Free Little Library Boxes that will be installed on the school’s campus at 321 East 3rd Street in South Bethlehem, as well as at a location in Allentown.
The Free Little Library book-sharing movement fosters “Building Community, Inspiring Readers, and Expanding Book Access for All”. Book sharing for these libraries is simple- anyone may take or share a book. Also, anyone can place books in the library if they would like to donate to the initiative. Charter Arts’ BSU selected this project due to library closures that took place during the Covid pandemic, and their interest and research into understanding geographic book deserts that exist in some cities.
The Black Student Union raised more than $1100 to fund this project through proceeds from its “Black History- Then, Now, and Black Joy” show held in February. A portion of the proceeds have gone toward the purchase of 60 books to help stock the libraries.
“We purchased books for a wide range of ages, from preschool through high school readers,” says BSU’s faculty advisor, Jodi Fowler. “The focus for the books was to ensure diversity so that all readers can find themselves represented in the libraries’ book selection.”
BSU has also collected donated books from faculty and students and its members will be the stewards of the library, checking them bi-weekly to ensure they are well stocked.
The final assembly and installation of the libraries is expected to take place later this spring. Upon installation, the school will notify the community so that young readers can continue to be inspired through the wonderful world of books.
ABOUT THE LEHIGH VALLEY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS (Charter Arts):
Charter Arts, opened in 2003, is an audition-based public charter school that provides a comprehensive curriculum for high school students, grades 9-12, who have a passion for the arts. Students major in one of seven artistic areas: dance, instrumental music, literary arts, production arts, theatre, visual arts, or vocal music.
Charter Arts’ rigorous curriculum fosters both academic and artistic excellence for its students. The school’s impressive Future Ready PA Index ranking, Advanced Placement (AP) exam statistics, Keystone Exam statistics, SAT scores, prestigious artistic accolades, and graduation rate, are testaments to the outstanding education that Charter Arts provides.
Charter Arts, is proud to continue its legacy as one of the most respected high schools for the arts in the nation. Charter Arts was one of only 349 schools in the nation to be named a 2018 National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2020, the school earned the Title I Distinguished School designation for the fourth year in a row, placing it in the top 5 % of all Title I high schools in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Recently, Charter Arts was ranked as #1 Best Public High School Teachers in PA (out of 666) and #1 Best Charter High School in Pennsylvania on Niche’s 2021 Best Schools in America Rankings. The school is also one of only five high schools in the Lehigh Valley to make the Top 100 PA Schools list on U.S News & World Report’s 2021 Rankings.
Charter Arts is located at 321 East 3rd Street, Bethlehem PA 18015.
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Manager of Public Relations and Media
Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts
321 East 3rd Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015