Philadelphia District High School gets Grant to Plan for Expansion

Grant from PSP’s Great Schools Fund will support planning for expansion of magnet school in North Philadelphia; the Fund has invested over $35 million in Philadelphia schools, including $11.5 million in District schools

The Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) today announced it has awarded a grant from its Great Schools Fund to support the development of a growth plan for the George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, a high-quality high school in North Philadelphia. The $147,000 grant brings the total investments of the Great Schools Fund to $35.4 million to create better educational opportunities for 15,883 Philadelphia students in schools of all types.

“Students at Carver High School are learning and achieving at high levels, and the school’s leadership team believes they can offer this excellent education to younger students,” said Jessica Pena, Director of the Great Schools Fund. “Carver is achieving well above both city and state averages in math and reading while serving a diverse student body. We see in Principal Domers a passionate leader who understands that teacher, community, parent and alumni involvement are pillars on which excellent schools are built. We are excited to support plans to give more Philadelphia students an opportunity to attend this great school.”

George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science (Carver) is a 9-12 School District of Philadelphia magnet high school in North Philadelphia planning to expand to include grades 7 and 8. Carver provides a curriculum for students with an interest in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and medicine, and consistently demonstrates academic excellence among its students.

“Carver High School of Engineering and Science parents and community members have long sought to create a middle school pipeline for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math,” said principal Ted Domers. “By adding a middle school next fall, Carver will be well-positioned to expand the pool of students preparing for 21st century careers and academic concepts. I am eager for the opportunity to build a team to research and develop a robust middle years STEM curriculum, as well as re-imagine what a 7th through 12th grade STEM program can look like.”

Domers has assembled a team of parents, community members and school leaders who will use the grant funds to develop an expansion plan to open a new middle school in the fall of 2015. The new middle school will be closely aligned with the current Carver curriculum and serve an additional 120 students in 7th and 8th grade.

“This is a great opportunity for the School District of Philadelphia to enhance STEM education,” said Paul Wagenhoffer, teacher and STEM coordinator at Carver. “I am excited to work with and share resources with teachers across the District to support the development of a strong and focused middle school STEM program.”

In addition to the Carver grant, PSP awarded a technical assistance grant to Freire Charter Schools – a recipient of a previous growth grant – to support development of a strategic growth plan and an improved assessment model.

The George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science
Approximately $147,000 will support the development of an expansion plan to add middle school grades
Carver High School currently serves 750 students in grades nine through 12. The school has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and received the Governor’s Award for Academic Excellence in 2013 for achieving a rating in the top 10 percent in the state of Pennsylvania. The school serves a student population that is 84 percent Black and Hispanic, and 62 percent economically disadvantaged. Carver is among the highest performing high schools in Philadelphia, with more than 94 percent of students proficient or advanced in math and reading. The four-year cohort graduation rate is consistently at or above 90 percent, and college acceptance among graduates is at 100 percent.

Freire Charter Schools
$246,000 will support the development of a strategic growth plan and more robust assessments for students using the “Nesso” dashboard
FCS operates two schools in Center City Philadelphia, serving 1,000 students in grades five through 12. It serves predominantly low-income and minority students; 96 percent of students are either Black or Hispanic, 84 percent are economically disadvantaged and approximately 12 percent are special education students. FCS’s high school continues to have strong results, with a graduation rate of 82 percent and a college matriculation rate of 82 percent for the class of 2013. In addition, FCS middle school data suggest increasingly strong performance, with PSSA scores increasing by 11 points in math and six points in reading since 2013.

About the Philadelphia School Partnership
The Philadelphia School Partnership is a nonprofit organization that funds the creation and expansion of high-quality K-12 schools in the city of Philadelphia to give more children access to a great education. PSP also facilitates the sharing of best practices among school leaders that improve the quality of education for students. PSP is raising $100 million in philanthropic funds to provide grants for the transformation, growth and startup of high-performing public and private schools in Philadelphia. It measures success by the number of students in Philadelphia who move out of failing schools to better-quality school options based on student academic outcomes.

About the Great Schools Fund
PSP’s Great Schools Fund provides grants for the turnaround of low-performing schools, expansion of high performing schools, and the creation of new high-quality schools in Philadelphia. Grants are provided to district, charter and private K-12 schools that have the capacity to deliver outstanding educational outcomes for children in the city. The goal of the Great Schools Fund is to create 35,000 seats in high-performing schools in Philadelphia by 2016-17. 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.