In June 2014, we invested approximately $137,000 to support planning for the turnaround of St. Helena Incarnation, a PreK to 8th grade Catholic school that is part of the Independence Mission Schools. The school’s leadership team will work with IMS leadership to develop strategic plans to improve academic achievement and long-term financial sustainability.
St. Helena-Incarnation is part of Independence Mission Schools (IMS) network, which assumed management of 13 Philadelphia Catholic schools last year that serve predominantly low-income and minority students. IMS is identifying opportunities to provide a high-quality education to more students while instituting strong business practices in order to achieve financial stability. As we have seen in most turnaround schools, we expect the transformation initiative to result in increased enrollment of up to 30 percent.
St. Helena-Incarnation is located in the Olney neighborhood of North Philadelphia and was formed as a result of the merging of Incarnation of Our Lord Parish and Saint Helena Parish before it joined Independence Mission Schools. The school currently serves 480 students. St Helena’s serves a very diverse student body: 57 percent of students are non-Catholic and 78 percent are minority.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ new leader, Genevieve Torres, was hired in October 2013 and has spent the year laying the ground work for bold transformation with the support of IMS. Last year, PSP made an investment in DePaul Catholic School, another IMS network school, to implement a blended-learning model that has resulted in dramatic academic gains as well as an increase in enrollment of over 100 students in just one year. With this investment, the school leader and IMS will develop a transformational plan that we hope will result in dramatic increases in student achievement.