Progressive Education in the 21st Century – Second Edition
Edited By Susan F. Semel, Alan R. Sadovnik and Ryan W. Coughlan
Chapter 10. The Learning Community Charter School: The Founding and Evolution of a Progressive Charter School
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THE LEARNING COMMUNITY CHARTER SCHOOL
The Founding and Evolution of a Progressive Charter School
Elizabeth S. Brown
The Roots of a School
Walking south from Jersey City’s PATH train, Learning Community Charter School’s (LCCS) original location is identifiable by the large clock on top of a former coalbunker. Situated along Canal Street, the former Morris Canal, the coalbunker’s height stands out in contrast to the three-story brownstone houses it towers over. While walking down Grove Street, whose mixed use is apparent by the shops and restaurants below apartment buildings, it is difficult to imagine that just a century ago the coalbunker connected railroad trains to the boats coming down the Morris Canal, that ran through Jersey City.
Today, the neighborhood surrounding the school’s original location includes newly renovated brownstones; a colonial house painted in yellow and white wedged between a nail salon and a falafel restaurant; City Hall; new high-rise buildings; Spanish bodegas; a number of new bars and restaurants attracting wealthy couples and families; a barber shop with a predominantly African American clientele; and a Muslim mosque housed in a former Jewish synagogue. The wide array of establishments along the four-block distance between the PATH train and the school’s founding location highlights the ← 311 | 312 → neighborhood’s rich ethnic, socioeconomic and racial diversity—a diversity that is uncommon to most urban neighborhoods and even less common to an urban public school.
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