The Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) today announced it is investing $6 million in grants from its Great Schools Fund to support the expansion of two high-performing School District of Philadelphia schools and the growth of an innovative program into a District high school.
Grants from the Great Schools Fund will support the expansion of the following schools:
"We are one-hundred percent committed to giving every child in Philadelphia access to a high-performing school, and the opportunity to graduate ready for college or the work world," said Dr. William Hite, Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia. "This expansion of schools with measurable track records of success will get 1,600 students closer to that day."
These expansions, which may require approval by the School Reform Commission, will ultimately create a total of approximately 1,600 new available seats in high-performing School District high schools. PSP selected the schools for investment after a thorough due diligence process focused on academic outcomes, leadership quality, and capacity for growth.
"Across each of the more than twenty schools the Great Schools Fund has invested in - private, charter, and District schools - we see unique strengths and common threads," said Mark Gleason, Executive Director of PSP. "These are all schools that prepare students of all backgrounds to succeed in college; schools with visionary leaders who have the ability to build outstanding teams of educators; and schools where leaders and teachers believe that all students can achieve at high levels."
PSP's Great Schools Fund pools philanthropic dollars from a diverse group of funders to strategically invest in the incubation, startup, expansion and turnaround of schools across Philadelphia. PSP has raised over $50 million toward the Fund's $100 million goal. This round of grants brings PSP's total investments in schools to $19.2 million for the cumulative creation of over 10,000 seats. PSP has been working closely with the District and school leadership teams to identify additional investment opportunities, with a focus on transforming student outcomes at one or more schools slated to receive an influx of students next fall under the District's Facilities Master Plan.
"We continue to look for other opportunities to invest in expanding access to quality schools, including district schools that are high performing or that are candidates for dramatic improvement," said Jessica Pena, Director of the Great Schools Fund.
About the Great Schools Fund
The Fund invests in K-12 schools of any type with the capacity to deliver outstanding educational outcomes for children in the city, including traditional district, charter, and private schools. The goal of the Fund is to replace the 35,000 lowest performing seats in Philadelphia by 2016-17 with higher performing ones by turning around low-performing schools, expanding high performing schools, or creating new high-quality schools. PSP's investment team conducts a rigorous screening process for grant applicants to evaluate their capacity for delivering strong educational outcomes; its recommendations are vetted by an investment committee before being presented to the PSP Board of Directors for approval.
About the Philadelphia School Partnership
PSP is a nonprofit organization founded in October 2010 that invests in the creation and expansion of great schools in Philadelphia. PSP is raising a $100 million "Great Schools Fund" in support of education reform, and investing those funds as growth capital to support the transformation, expansion and startup of high-performing schools in the public and private sectors. It measures success by the number of students in Philadelphia who move out of failing schools to better-quality school options, and it judges school quality on the basis of student academic outcomes. PSP works closely with Mayor Michael Nutter, state Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis, the School Reform Commission, charter school leadership, and the Archdiocese to achieve the goals of the Philadelphia Great School Compact. The Compact represents a collective commitment to transform or replace the worst-performing schools in the city, representing nearly 50,000 students, by 2016-17. Learn more at www.philaschoolpartnership.org
About the Hill-Freedman Middle School
Hill-Freedman is an academically rigorous public magnet school in East Germantown currently enrolling 240 students in grades six through eight. The school is expanding to add a high school, beginning with the addition of a ninth grade serving approximately 110 students.
Hill-Freedman provides a holistic approach to academic excellence. The school serves predominantly minority and economically disadvantaged students. It embraces a unique hybrid model in which 70% of the students are enrolled in a rigorous International Baccalaureate (IB) program, and the remaining 30% are enrolled in a high school transition program for students with complex needs. Principal Anthony Majewski successfully leads the school as one cohesive school community.
About Science Leadership Academy
Science Leadership Academy (SLA), an award-winning magnet high school in Center City, will expand to a second campus in the Beeber Middle School building. Developed in partnership with The Franklin Institute and its commitment to inquiry-based science, the Science Leadership Academy provides a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum with a focus on science, technology, mathematics and entrepreneurship in a one-to-one laptop environment. Founded in 2006, SLA has garnered attention in recent years as a national thought leader and incubator of inquiry-driven project-based modern learning. The expanded campus will enable Beeber Middle School to remain in a shared facility arrangement. Science Leadership Academy-Beeber(SLA-B) will invite select applicants to the 2013-14 SLA ninth-grade class to join the inaugural ninth-grade class of 125 students at the Beeber campus. For more information, visit www.scienceleadership.org.
About the Workshop School
Philadelphia School Partnership Invests $6 Million In Expansion of High Quality Public Schools, University City Review