A dream has come true for more than 200 children who live in the Portside at the Beaches neighborhood and attend
Chets Creek Elementary, as well as their teachers and administrators who have been building the dream for more than a year.
Thanks to the generous donations from the property owner, American Residential Communities (ARC), a student media center has been established at Portside.
The newly renovated center, named ARC: Academic Resource Center, is complete with five computers that will provide students with online access to the academic supports offered to all Duval County Public Schools’ students, as well as a reading room with a variety of age-appropriate books.
Teachers from Chets Creek will graciously donate their free time to the new center, which will be open this summer and then from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year.
“This started out as a dream of our leadership team at Chets Creek, and ARC has made our dream come true,” said Media Specialist K.K. Cherney.
According to Cherney and teacher Liz Duncan, the leadership team realized that so many of their students lived in the Portside community and needed somewhere after school that they could practice their reading skills as well as have access to the Internet for math, science and reading programs.
The team asked ARC for a small space for an after-school program, and ARC went beyond the call and renovated rooms for the students in their old pool house, complete with computers, furniture, paint, books and supplies. The art resources teachers at Chets Creek made the rooms into a seaside retreat with a hand-painted, beach-themed mural.
For Principal Susan Phillips, the donation was extra special. Since she moved to Jacksonville and began teaching 17 years ago, she has always worked at a school that had students from the Portside community.
“The Portside community has a special place in my heart, and I am so thankful for the contributions American Residential Communities has made to the students and families who live here. They have made a dream a reality.”
Portside at the Beaches is one of 265 communities managed by ARC, and Chief Operating Officer Leslie Fox says the Chets Creek/ARC media center will be a model for their properties throughout the United States. They soon hope to provide the students in their other communities with an academic resource center for after-school learning opportunities.
The students and staff of Chets Creek Elementary, as well as American Residential Communities and Portside residents, joined together for an official ribbon cutting grand opening for the center. Guests were treated to special food and gifts from the school's business partners Scholastic Books, Bonanza Books, Chick-fil-A at Hodges and Beach, Starbucks and The UPS store of Ponte Vedra.
For more pictures from the grand opening celebration, visit the
flickr photostream of Chets Creek Elementary's Instructional Technology Coach Melanie Holtsman.
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