Longwood Foundation gives $1 million to planned charter school in Sussex County | Delaware First Media
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Longwood Foundation gives $1 million to planned charter school in Sussex County

May 27, 2021

The Longwood Foundation is helping to fund the start of a new charter high school in Sussex County.

The Bryan Allen Stevenson School of Excellence, also known as BASSE, is receiving a $1 million shot in the arm from the foundation. 

The funds represent about a third of the school’s starting budget. They will help buy property, start construction and hire the school’s executive director. 

“Our intentions are for the school to be in the Milton and Georgetown area, and we’ve located several properties in the area that we’re interested in, and this money allows us to be able to move forward and purchase property,” said BASSE Founder and Chairwoman Alonna Berry. 

Berry says the school is to be founded on the principles of its namesake, native Delawarean and Attorney Bryan Stevenson. 

“He talks a lot about the theory of proximity: that if you go out and you get close to things, you learn more and you understand more,” said Berry. “And so, we took that theory and said, ‘what does that look like in a high school environment.’”

Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, he and his staff won reversals, relief or release for more than 125 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row, and he wrote the New York Times bestseller, Just Mercy.

Berry says the school will combine an academic curriculum with service learning. Students will have the opportunity to work at various small businesses, nonprofits and other partner organizations in the community. 

The school is expected to open in 2023, and house 500 students once it’s up to full capacity.