Philadelphia Citizen: Wonder Woman to the Principal’s Office

Thanks to help from the Philadelphia Schools Partnership, the School District is counting on a dynamo leader to turn around a struggling elementary school. But does the District have enough dynamos to fix all its broken schools?

At 6 AM on a recent Tuesday morning—before coffee, before her two kids awoke, before she’d even considered what to wear to work that day—Gianeen Powell had a new job. The principal of James G. Blaine Elementary School in Strawberry Mansion, Powell’s day started, as it started and ended every day, with a quick check of her email. That’s when she learned that her building engineer was going to be out because of a death in the family. Powell sent him a condolence note, then considered the new complication to her day. The school district would send over another engineer, as needed. But no one else among Powell’s small, stretched staff could ensure the building was open on time, the tables were set for lunch, the lights were on—all parts of his job. She would need to oversee his work, in addition to all the other roles she performs as principal: school nurse three days a week; guidance counselor three days a week; teacher instructor; class evaluator; parent communicator; community liaison; grant writer; student; cheerleader.

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PSP has invested in 66 schools of all types (public district, public charter, and private) across Philadelphia

$65,000,000

Since 2011, PSP has invested over $65 million in schools of all types to improve educational outcomes of children in Philadelphia

100,000

Annually, over 100,000 people learn about and apply to great schools through the free resources provided by GreatPhillySchools

26,000

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