In 2013, we invested $1.5 million to support the launch of The Workshop School in West Philadelphia. The project-based learning district high school will ultimately serve 500 students in grades 9-12 by 2016-17. We previously invested $175,000 through an incubation grant in July 2012 to support the design of the Workshop School.
The mission of the Workshop School is to unleash the creative and intellectual potential of young people to solve the world’s toughest problems. The school accomplishes this by putting real world problems at the center of the curriculum, and evaluating students’ work based on the progress they make in defining, exploring and ultimately developing solutions to those problems. Project work is the core component of the school’s academic model. Projects must address a problem that is important to both the student and to society, and they must result in work that can be evaluated using real-world standards. The school’s leaders create a culture that fosters creativity, risk-taking, and responsibility for self and others.
The Workshop School serves students in West Philadelphia. It is a citywide district high school with no admission criteria. At the time of the grant, the school’s student population was 98 percent minority and 95 percent economically disadvantaged.
The Workshop School successfully operated a pilot program for high school seniors two years prior to launching their high school. Though students only spent one year in the program, students achieved remarkable results including 94% attendance (in line with elite magnet high schools and significantly higher than the 82% average at comprehensive neighborhood high schools), 96% student acceptance into at least one college or university, and 74% matriculation into two- or four-year colleges.
Learn more: www.workshopschool.org