ECS is Now an Independent Charter School!


Environmental Charter School and Imagine Schools End Operating Agreement

PITTSBURGH, July 24, 2012 -  The Environmental Charter School at Frick Park (ECS), a public charter school located in Pittsburgh’s East End, and Imagine Schools, a national charter school management company, jointly announce that the operation agreement between the two organizations officially terminated on June 30, 2012. 

ECS is chartered by the Pittsburgh Public Schools and began operations in September 2008.  The ECS founding Board of Trustees chose Imagine Schools, based in Arlington, Virginia, as its partner. Imagine provided development and operational services and assisted ECS in securing the purchase of a building. 

During the 2011-2012 school year, the Environmental Charter School and Imagine Schools engaged in collaborative discussions around the future partnership of the two organizations.  By the close of the academic year, ECS and Imagine Schools mutually agreed that the innovative K-8 school is able to operate as an independent charter school without the assistance of the management company.  “Imagine is gratified that ECS has developed a strong enough organization so that it can succeed on its own,” stated Mubuso Zamchiya, Imagine’s Director of Pennsylvania Operations.

“We appreciate the foundational support Imagine Schools provided us in our infancy as an organization,” noted Jon McCann, CEO and founding principal of ECS.  “Pittsburgh’s rich science and technology community has provided us with the support and resources to begin to grow as an independent charter school.  We look forward to continued collaboration with our regional partners and appreciate their overwhelming support.”

The Environmental Charter School offers a program that develops students into critical thinkers, thoughtful innovators, and well-rounded scholars.  A focus on environmental literacy provides students the tools and educational foundation to become tomorrow’s global citizens.  The school’s unique location, adjacent to the 500+ acre Frick Park, provides a learning laboratory for over 450 public school students in Allegheny County. 

In August of 2012, ECS will expand to two campuses.  The ECS Lower School, located at the newly renovated Park Place School on Braddock Avenue, will welcome 250 students in grades kindergarten through third grade.  The Regent Square School, nestled against Frick Part on Milton Street, continues to serve the schools intermediate and middle grades students.  Both campuses utilize place-based learning, and engage in park explorations to support curriculum and instruction.


The Environmental Charter School of Pittsburgh (ECS) provides a unique educational experience for students and teachers by integrating the Pennsylvania Environment, Ecology, Science, and Technology standards within the Math, Social Studies and Language Arts curriculum.  In addition to classroom-based instruction, students engage in the adjoining Frick Park to explore environmental concepts more deeply and to practice scientific investigation.  ECS develops robust, curriculum-focused partnerships with local organizations that specialize in environmental education and standards-based programming.  Instructional experiences outside of the classroom help to solidify the content knowledge, and build students’ sense of place in the Pittsburgh region.  Currently, ECS serves 460 students in grades kindergarten through seventh grade from 11 different districts in Allegheny County.   More information is available at