Yesterday, we announced that we are investing $3.8 million in four school operators with a track record of providing high-quality education. The four schools will receive grants from our Great Schools Fund for the transformation and creation of over 2,200 seats in high-quality schools for Philadelphia students.
The grants – the first in a series of investments we plan to make in 2012 – were awarded to the following schools and school leaders from a pool of applicants after a rigorous screening and due diligence process:
- $2 million growth grant to String Theory Schools to support the turnaround of Edmunds Elementary School, a chronically low-performing school that was turned over to String Theory as part of the School District’s Renaissance initiative.
- $1.3 million startup grant over three years to Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, which will open in fall 2012 in North Philadelphia. The school is part of a national network of 25 college preparatory Catholic high schools serving low-income students of all faiths.
- $350,000 growth grant to Freire Charter School, a high school serving predominantly minority and low-income students, to expand to include a middle school in 2012-13.
- $175,000 incubation grant to The Sustainability Workshop, a project-based alternative senior-year program that intends to grow into a full-fledged high school. Watch the PBS Frontline documentary, “Fast Times at West Philly High,” to learn earn more about The Sustainability Workshop’s leaders.
As our executive director Mark Gleason said in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, “Great schools come in all different types but share key characteristics, chiefly high expectations and the belief that all students can learn.”
We believe that these four leadership teams have demonstrated their ability to prepare students for college or the work world beyond school. We are excited to make these grants to help move Philadelphia closer to the goal of ensuring that every student in the city has access to a great school by 2017.
This is just the latest step in our ongoing work to replace the 50,000 lowest performing seats in Philadelphia with higher performing ones in five years. We continue to receive and review grant applications from all types of schools and plan to announce additional grants in 2012.