On Tuesday, the School District released the 2015-16 School Progress Reports (SPR), which evaluate all District and charter schools in the city. The SPR combines a number of metrics around academic achievement, student growth, and school climate to produce an overall school score.
When Marcquaan Marion was in kindergarten, his school’s playground was an empty asphalt parking lot with a lone basketball hoop and not a single a patch of shade.
Marion, now a 7th grader, spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for Chester Arthur Elementary School’s new Outdoor STEM Learning Lab. When complete, the playground for the school at 20th and Catharine Streets will be transformed into a green space with multiple outdoor classrooms for inquiry-driven learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
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Sometimes, it really does seem like strollers are everywhere. In a 2011 report, the Center City District predicted a “coming demographic wave” of school age children in the greater Center City area. In core Center City, the boom is palpable: a 66 percent increase from 2000 to 2010 in children under five years old who will be attending elementary school here, “if these families decide to stay” (italics in the original report). For greater Center City (roughly Tasker to Girard, river to river), the increase is about 32 percent.
Last May, Generocity.org interviewed two Philadelphia-based teachers about how they were using crowdfunding to create makerspaces for students in their schools. Here’s an update on how both teachers have gone on to create successful maker spaces:
Michael Franklin at Chester A. Arthur
Michael Franklin said that his workshop, dubbed the “Wildcat Workshop,” is coming along well.
“We have received the bulk of our materials ordered through Donors Choose and, between an event with NextFab, the Donors Choose project, and additional donations, we managed to raise nearly $8000,” he said in an email.
The K-5 students at Chester A. Arthur visit the workshop as a class for hands-on projects geared toward the science curriculum for each grade. Also, the school’s 6-8 graders are finishing up making cars made from household materials that are powered by a fan.
“They are aiming to make the most efficient car (cost of materials per foot of distance traveled),” said Franklin.
He added that the students have been using their sketchbooks, professional grade drafting tools, and Prismacolor markers to lay out their designs on vellum.
“There is still plenty of work to do to get the space where we want it, but it has been very exciting and the vast majority of students are really gravitating to the classes,” Franklin said.
We are extremely proud and excited to announce that Arthur's School Redesign Initiative proposal was accepted by the District! The rest of this school year will be spent in the design phase where we'll work closely with Science Leadership Academy to learn more from their best practices around project-based, inquiry-driven learning and will determine how to best adapt their model to Arthur.
This summer, Arthur is playing host to a hands-on science camp that attracts students of color from around the region to Arthur’s campus. The camp is one of 12 in the country run by the National Society of Black Engineers, and seeks to give interested students a chance to learn from mentors with similar backgrounds. Most of the camp instructors are college and graduate students looking to give back with their summer vacations.
From the mayor’s desk to the principal’s office, from grassroots parent activists to teachers aiming to transform instruction and assessment, from the superintendent’s seat to a boldly reimagined vocational academy, here are the stories of Penn alumni trying to carry out the increasingly embattled mission of public education in Philadelphia