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RCMA new Mulberry school receives grant

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IMMOKALEE AND MULBERRY (June 14, 2022) – RCMA announces that it received $200,000 from the George Jenkins Foundation for staffing at its new Mulberry Community Academy, which will open for the 2023-2024 academic year.

RCMA is Florida’s largest nonprofit provider of early childhood education and a nationally recognized charter school operator. RCMA serves 5,500 children and their families in 21 Florida counties.

Mulberry Community Academy will be RCMA’s third K-8 charter school when it opens to serve K-1 students in temporary modular classrooms in August 2023. The school will serve K-2 in the newly-built school in August 2024. It is being built on property that RCMA currently owns and where it operates its Mulberry Child Development Center for more than 160 pre-k children.

The George Jenkins Foundation grant of $200,000 covers 18 months of salary for a Talent and Recruitment Manager, who is hiring teachers and administrative staff for the new school, and an After School Coordinator, who will help families register their children for summer school at Mulberry Community Academy for summer 2023.

“At this exciting time, as we prepare to provide a continuum of education for students transitioning from our child development center to our charter school, we are extremely grateful to the George Jenkins Foundation for helping us identify new staff members and to let families about the additional services we are providing,” says RCMA Executive Director Isabel Garcia. “RCMA is committed to ensuring that children in Florida’s rural communities have access to the best education possible and that they and their families benefit from our holistic approach that includes healthcare, parenting classes, English language instruction, nutrition services, and immigration support programs. The George Jenkins Foundation grant is making a tremendous impact on residents of Mulberry and Polk County.”

For more than 20 years, RCMA has operated Wimauma Community Academy and Immokalee Community Academy. It has plans for a second charter school in Immokalee followed by another new school in Miami-Dade County.

Florida’s State Board of Education on May 11 designated RCMA as a “School of Hope” charter school operator. RCMA is just the sixth such operator since the program began in 2017 to encourage development of publicly-funded, privately-run charter schools in neighborhoods where a traditional public school has been persistently low-performing and/or is within a Florida Opportunity Zone. The designation makes RCMA eligible for state funds and low-interest loans as the 57-year-old nonprofit organization expands its charter school operations.

Earlier this year, the Charter School Growth Fund, the largest funder of high performing charter schools in the country, pledged a $1.275 million investment over four years to help RCMA expand its schools.

Learn more at rcma.org.

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