About the Lancaster County Academy

Opened in November 1993, the Lancaster County Academy is a unique alternative public school located in the Park City Center mall. The academy is a business and education partnership formed by participating Lancaster County school districts, the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit, and General Growth, Inc., with PA Department of Education approval. Students ages 16-21 are residents of a participating district. Maximum enrollment is 120 students. Average class size is 30 students. Students are required to attend a minimum of 3 hours per day.

LCA StudentsMany students come to LCA after dropping out of school and given time, come to the conclusion that their decision to leave school was not in their best interest. Others are still enrolled, but are struggling. The reason for lack of success in traditional school varies greatly. Some who leave and begin to work full time make financial commitments that bind them to a job. Others are pregnant or parenting. Others have physical or mental health issues that have interfered with regular school attendance. Those battling substance abuse(drugs and/or alcohol) find a fresh start after rehabilitation stays. The lack of a typical high school social strata also helps the adjustment of those who have not met with success in regular high school setting.

The Academy's self-paced academic curriculum fits the needs of students who are released in mid-school year from court placements. No matter what the reason that regular school was not working, the Lancaster County Academy gives opportunity to restart a stalled education.

Approximately 40% of LCA graduates enroll in post-secondary education programs. Over 500 students have earned a Lancaster County High School Diploma. Two commencement ceremonies are held each year, one in December and another in June. LCA graduates have been accepted for admission to:

The Lancaster County Academy has been recognized by the Council of Chief State School Officers for "Connecting Service Learning to School-to-Work", and the National Conference of State Legislatures for it's innovative funding structure. Students have worked with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay in an on-going stream monitoring project. The Academy continues to seek innovative ways to integrate work and learning into a diploma program.

Awards and Recognition

  • Awarded $100,000 School-to-Work grant by U.S. Department of Labor (1997-8)
  • Recognized by Council of Chief State School Officers as exemplary program for connecting
  • School-to-Work and Service Learning 1997
  • Recognized by National Conference for State Legislatures for Funding and Sustaining
  • School-to-Work Strategies for Dropouts 1998
  • All Mean All National STW Award, University of Minnesota 1998
  • National Retail Federation Skills Standards Project pilot site
  • Public/Private Ventures Work Plus Project pilot site
  • Only High School to assist in 1998 U.S. Geological Survey Snapshot of Chesapeake Bay Watershed
  • Awarded Department of Environmental Protection grant for Stream Restoration 1997
  • Awarded PDE grant for Linking Adult Education to School-to-Work Initiatives 1998
  • Awarded Department of Environmental Protection grant for Wetland Restoration 2000, 2004, 2006
  • National Gold Key Scholastic Writing Award – Elizabeth Flowers 2001