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Grimmway Schools Awarded $900,000 to support development of new public Charter School in Shafter


Aerial rendering of the Shafter Charter School.

Local charter school management organization, Grimmway Schools, has been awarded two prestigious national grants totaling $900,000 to support its groundbreaking work in rural Kern County communities. The growing network of high-performing, college-prep public charter schools, led by a home-office in Bakersfield, sought financial support from granting organizations and underwent an exhaustive application process.

"We are grateful to the Walton Family Foundation and the Public Charter School Grant Program (PCSGP) for their generous support of our work," said Paul Escala, Executive Director of Grimmway Schools. "These awards are external validation of the value of our growth plans, particularly from foundations who have historically invested primarily in large, urban centers. These grants will attract more investment and allow us to reach more students throughout Kern County," he said.

The comprehensive process included evaluation of Grimmway Schools' financial history, sustainability, academic success at the network's existing school (Grimmway Academy Arvin), outreach efforts, service to high-need populations as shown through a full market analysis, and other factors.

The grants will help in the startup phase of Grimmway Academy Shafter, a new charter school scheduled to open in August 2017. The grants will fund furniture, equipment, technology and staffing for the first two years of operation.

The Walton Family Foundation granted $325,000 for the benefit of Grimmway Academy Shafter. For nearly two decades, the Walton Foundation has worked to improve K-12 outcomes for all students, especially those of limited means, by ensuring access to high-quality educational options that prepare them for a lifetime of opportunity.

The Public Charter Schools Grant Program approved a $575,000 grant to support Grimmway Academy Shafter. The PCSGP, a statewide program through the California Department of Education and funded by the National Charter Schools Program, focuses on high quality, high performing charter school operations.

Both grants support the creation of high-quality public charter schools by providing startup and supporting replication of successful charter schools within a single charter school network. "The power of partnership in bringing educational access and choice to an even greater number of underserved students and families cannot be underestimated," Escala added. "We are looking forward to doing even more for our communities."

Grimmway Academy Shafter

In August 2016, the Richland School District Board of Trustees approved a charter petition for Grimmway Academy Shafter, a K-8 public charter school. Pre-construction work began on December 12, 2016, for the Shafter campus. The school will open to serve 400 students on August 7, 2017, with grades K-4 and will grow to 700 students by 2021, with grades K-8. Grimmway Academy Shafter is modeled after the network's first school, Grimmway Academy Arvin. Grimmway Schools recently hosted a Community Groundbreaking Celebration on the campus site. Many families and community leaders attended, excited about the school's opening in August.

Grimmway Academy Arvin

Grimmway Academy Arvin, a California Distinguished School, opened in 2011 and serves approximately 740 students in grades K-8. Grimmway Academy Arvin is located in the rural community of Arvin and embraces a unique blended learning model of instruction. Combining best practices in education with wellness and healthy lifestyle principles, including an on-site edible schoolyard, Grimmway Academy Arvin students learn life skills that will support them on their path toward lifelong achievement and success.

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