Philadelphia Public High School Gets Grant to Open New Middle School

Grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership will support the startup of a new middle school at George Washington Carver Engineering & Science

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) today announced it has awarded $200,000 from its Great Schools Fund to support the expansion of George Washington Carver Engineering & Science (“Carver”), a public school in North Philadelphia, as the school enrolls 120 middle school students this fall.

Since 2011, PSP has invested more than $35 million in schools of all types in Philadelphia, including $20.6 million in public charter schools, $11.9 million in district schools and $3 million in private schools.

“Carver serves predominately low-income students in Philadelphia who often don’t have enough opportunities to explore the sciences, so we are thrilled to give more students access to this opportunity at an earlier age,” said Jessica Pena, Director of the Great Schools Fund. “Principal Domers engaged thoughtful planning partners – including teachers, staff, and families – in developing the vision and curriculum for the new middle school. We are excited for the school to welcome new students and families this fall.”

The Great Schools Fund invests in the creation and expansion of high-quality schools serving predominantly low-income students. Carver is among the highest performing high schools in the city with nearly every student going on to college after graduation. It is the top rated high school in overall performance on the School District’s most recent School Progress Report. More than 60 percent of the school’s students are economically disadvantaged; minority and low-income students perform on par with their non-minority and non-low income peers. The school’s graduation rate is consistently at or above 90 percent, and more than 94 percent of students are on grade level in math and reading.

“Expanding to add a middle years program provides our school the opportunity to innovate, and I am appreciative for the tremendous support from the School District of Philadelphia and Philadelphia School Partnership,” said Carver Principal Ted Domers. “I am excited to continue to develop the tradition of our school’s rigorous academic and extra-curricular programming. Our STEM focused middle years curriculum – featuring two years of Computer Science and Engineering for all students – coupled with our school partners will create a new and dynamic learning environment for students throughout the city.”

Carver is currently a 9-12 district magnet high school of 750 students located in North Philadelphia. The $200,000 grant will support Carver’s expansion to include a middle school in the fall of 2015, admitting an additional 60 seventh graders and 60 eighth graders.  The 120 new middle school students have already been enrolled by the school district. Like the high school, the Carver middle school science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program will incorporate a hands-on, inquiry style approach to teaching.

“When we were looking for a school for our children, we wanted a place that would prepare them for the future and for now – both academically and socially – in a diverse environment,” said Kenneth A. Carruth III, father of an incoming 7th grade student. “Carver has a great reputation, and it shows when you walk into the building and speak with students and staff. We are excited for our son to have this opportunity for middle school.”

The school has also developed innovative partnerships with four middle schools across the city that share its focus on STEM to both develop Carver’s middle school curriculum and help align the middle schools to the rigor of high-performing high schools like Carver. The partner schools are Chester A. Arthur and Southwark in South Philadelphia and James G. Blaine and William D.


About the Philadelphia School Partnership

The Philadelphia School Partnership is 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.