PSP Awards $1.2M in Grants to Help Startup and Expand Three In-Demand Public Charter Schools

Over 2,100 More Children in High-Need Areas Will Have Access to Quality Schools

Philadelphia, PA – Furthering its mission to meet the demands of Philadelphia families for greater access to quality schools, Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) has awarded $1.2 million in new grants to help open two new schools in 2019, MaST III Community Charter School and Philadelphia Hebrew Public Charter School, and support the expansion of Mariana Bracetti Academy’s charter high school.

The three schools collectively received more than 11,000 applications for admission this past winter, demonstrating the demand among families for quality school options. The schools will fill more than 1,000 new seats this fall, and then grow gradually to ultimately create more than 2,100 seats.

Both MaST III and Hebrew Public are expected to enroll students from across the city and be racially and socioeconomically diverse. Notably, 50 percent of MaST III’s enrollment will come from four zip codes designated as high-need areas by the Board of Education. Mariana Bracetti Academy accepts applicants citywide but draws heavily from the surrounding Juniata Park and Frankford neighborhoods, which gives the school a predominantly Hispanic student body.

“All Philadelphia students should have the opportunity to attend a great school of their choosing,” said Mark Gleason, Executive Director of PSP. “These grants will give that opportunity to thousands of students in educationally underserved areas of the city.”

Including the new grants, PSP has invested nearly $65 million since 2011, in more than 65 traditional public, public charter and private or parochial schools within the city, to create new opportunities for underserved students. In total, the grants have supported the creation of 28,200 seats.

Below is the grant information for each of the three public charter schools:

MaST III Charter School

  • PSP Startup Grant: $500,000 for the 2019-20 school year, with the potential to grow to $1.5 million over the first four years (2019-20 to 2023-24).
  • Students Served: 900 K-5 students in Year 1 (2019-20) and then adding students each year until reaching full capacity of 1,300 students in K-12 in 2023-24.
  • Summary: This grant supports MaST Charter Schools (MaST) in the creation of its third campus, MaST III. MaST III is renovating the former Crown, Cork & Seal headquarters building on Route 1 near Woodhaven Ave. With its zip-code preferences, at least 50 percent of students at MaST III will come from four zip codes that the School District of Philadelphia Charter Office designated as high-need communities: 19120, 19124, 19140, and 19141 (which are in the Olney, Frankford, Logan, and North Philadelphia areas). In addition to serving students of diverse backgrounds, MaST schools are in demand by parents, as demonstrated by its incredibly large application pool. PSP previously provided grants to MaST to support the incubation and startup costs of MaST II, which opened in 2016.
  • Quote: “MaST Schools is thankful to be able to have the support funding from PSP to serve more students in Philadelphia focusing on the STREAM (Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts, & Math) model as a main focus,” said John Swoyer, CEO of MaST Charter Schools. “With over 27,000 applications across the three schools, we are happy to welcome hundreds of families from high-need areas of the city into our school community.”

Philadelphia Hebrew Public Charter School

  • PSP Startup Grant: $650,000 for the 2019-20 school year, with the potential to grow to $1.5M over four years.
  • Students Served: 156 K-1 students in Year 1 (2019-20) and then expanding to 702 students in grades K-8 by 2026-27.
  • Summary: Hebrew Public is leading a national movement of exceptional, diverse public charter schools that teach Modern Hebrew to children of all backgrounds and prepare them to be successful global citizens. The network currently operates three high-performing, nonprofit public charter schools in New York and supports an affiliated network of schools across the country. This grant supports the startup of Hebrew Public’s first school in Philadelphia (East Falls/Allegheny West neighborhood) that will be a citywide, open-enrollment public charter school. Even in its inaugural year as a new school, Philadelphia Hebrew Public received applications from 533 students to fill slots for 156 students in K-1. PSP previously provided Hebrew Public an incubation grant to conduct a feasibility study before submitting its application for a charter. Hebrew Public is the second operator new to Philadelphia to get a charter application approved since the founding of PSP in 2011 (following Deep Roots Charter School last year).
  • Quote: “We are deeply grateful for PSP’s help in making it possible to bring Hebrew Public’s diverse by design school model to Philadelphia” said Jonathan Rosenberg, President and CEO of Hebrew Public. “Thanks to this investment, we’ll be able to launch thoughtfully and deliberately growing from a K-1 to a K-8 by 2026. In a time of persistent racial and economic isolation in schools, we are relentlessly committed to serving as a model of how meaningful integration in public schools can boost academic outcomes and positively develop student skills and values.”

Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School

  • PSP Growth Grant: $250,000 over four years.
  • Students Served: Current enrollment of 455 high school students will expand by 25 students in each of the next four years, to a total of 555 students in 2021-22.
  • Summary: Over the last five years, students at Mariana Bracetti Academy (MBA) have consistently improved their performance, leading to its selection each of the past two schools years as a “Peer Leader” on the School District’s School Progress Report. Following the 2016-17 school year, the School District of Philadelphia Charter Office encouraged MBA to apply for a high-school expansion. MBA accepts applicants citywide but draws heavily from the surrounding Juniata Park and Frankford neighborhoods. MBA’s student body is predominantly composed of Hispanic/Latino students (79%), with an additional 15% of the school identifying as black and 100% qualifying as economically disadvantaged according to Pennsylvania’s Future Ready Index (FRI). This past winter MBA received 3,997 applications for its approximately 203 open seats.
  • Quote: “For nearly twenty years Mariana Bracetti Academy has fostered a powerful culture of academic achievement and personal responsibility that prepares our students for success after graduation,” said Angela Villani, CEO of Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School. “With the funding from PSP, we have the privilege of educating even more children in our community.”

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