Green SchoolsGo Back to Projects List
Belmont Charter School
"Belmont Charter School was founded in 2002 by the Philadelphia School Reform Commission. Formerly a public school with the Philadelphia School District, Belmont Charter School is unique in the fact that student enrollment is determined by a geographic catchment area (39th Street to 42nd Street, from Lancaster Avenue to Mantua Avenue), versus the typical lottery style of enrollment associated with charter schools. As such, Belmont truly is a ""community"" based charter school in every sense of the word. The current 1st through 8th grade program serves 430 students and has a 17:1 student to teacher ratio. Over 99% of Belmont students identify as African-American. A high percentage of neighborhood residents live below the poverty line (38%), and the percentage of residents who received public assistance in 2009 (14%) is also nearly twice as high as the city-wide average (8%). Ninety-eight percent of our students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. We aim to equip our students with a comprehensive education to confront the challenges that an underserved population may face. Belmont Charter School is open year-round, offering out-of-school-time programs, yoga and dance classes for adults, family events, and emotional, mental and behavioral support through our Family Support Specialists team."
"Belmont Sprouts was created in 2009 to incorporate educational gardening and greening activities into Belmont Charter’s curriculum. An initial site plan was created by several students which included six raised beds, a fruit tree, and several rain barrels. To date Belmont Charter has leveraged the resources necessary begin this original vision – with the help of Recyclebank we hope to make our garden complete. To date our students have grown an assortment of plants and vegetables – including peppers, tomatoes, and kale. Earlier this year we have ramped up our curriculum and our capacity, engaging additional teachers and students. In 2012 Belmont Sprouts received a Woolly School Garden grant to create a vertical edible garden on our building. We also received support from Whole Foods allowing us to provide user-friendly gardening curriculum to our teachers. This allows all our teachers - even those without green thumbs - to educate students on healthy food choices. We seek additional support through the Recyclebank Green Schools Program to complete the construction of our Belmont Sprouts garden and to host a special Mother’s Day Spring Planting event. As a community school we see engaging parents in Belmont Sprouts as a creative opportunity to educate our families around healthy lifestyle options. Our goal is to create three additional raised beds, install a greenhouse, and plant a fruit tree. We are also requesting tools and supplies to allow Belmont Sprouts to maintain our crops throughout the season. We anticipate constructing the raised beds and greenhouse in late March 2013, with a spring planting in early April around Mother’s Day. Sustainability is a key element to our program – as our gardens needs tending to grow, so do our students. We seek to create an outdoor classroom environment which would allow us to teach multiple subjects. We anticipate incorporating math and science lessons through Belmont Sprouts, using our garden and our greenhouse as an interactive way to engage students with nature. Through identified Sprout volunteers, teachers will help students create a work plan to maintain their garden, harvest their crops, and plan ahead for future plantings."