The Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) today announced it has awarded $375,000 in grants from its Great Schools Fund, including incubation grants to support turnaround plans at two Philadelphia high schools. This latest round of grants brings the total investments of the Great Schools Fund to $35.8 million to create better educational opportunities for nearly 16,000 Philadelphia students in schools of all types.
“Opportunities to create great educational outcomes for low-income students exist in schools of all types across the city,” said Jessica Pena, Director of the Great Schools Fund. “These investments in public and private schools will enable leadership teams to develop comprehensive plans to ensure that every student in their schools can learn and succeed. We are particularly excited to support innovative approaches to improving student outcomes at the high school level that are grounded in a strong academic program.”
The four investments include:
- $150,000 to support planning for the turnaround of Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School (Neumann-Goretti)
- $145,000 to support planning for the turnaround of Roxborough High School
- $56,625 to Wissahickon Charter School, a previous recipient of an expansion grant, to engage in leadership and teaching coaching
- $23,200 to Workshop School, a previous recipient of a start-up grant, to create an academic intervention program and technology improvements to support project-based learning
Neumann-Goretti is a Catholic High School serving about 500 students in South Philadelphia, and approximately half of its student body is economically disadvantaged. In order to improve academic rigor and increase student achievement, the school leadership team is developing a robust school turnaround plan. The PSP grant will allow the school to engage turnaround consultants to support the plan, make visits to high-achieving schools and implement professional development for teachers.
“We are excited to be joining with the Philadelphia School Partnership to bring an exciting new educational vision to Neumann-Goretti,” said Bruce Robinson, president of Neumann-Goretti. “This grant will enable us to create a new model for learning through innovation and entrepreneurship that will benefit both our present and future students.”
Neumann-Goretti is one of 17 Catholic high schools managed by the Faith in the Future (FIF) Foundation, eight of which are in the city. FIF works in partnership with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to make a first-rate, Catholic education available to all families that want it. In 2013, PSP made a $600,000 planning grant to support the growth strategy of FIF and its investments to build-out the Office of Catholic Education.
The leadership team, staff and community partners of Roxborough High School, a neighborhood school in Northwest Philadelphia serving mostly economically disadvantaged students, are also engaged in a planning process to transform the school with a comprehensive approach. Principal Dana Jenkins is working in partnership with Philadelphia Academies, Inc. and the District’s Office of Career and Technical Education to restructure the school using an “All Academy” model. The model focuses on ensuring all students have the opportunity to develop strong college and career competencies within small learning communities. The grant from PSP will support the development of a rigorous academic plan aligned to career paths.
“The days of ‘do it because I said so’ are long gone,” said Dana Jenkins, Principal of Roxborough High School. “We are offering career programs like cinematography, business, web design and biotechnology, which provide the connectedness students require to understand why they should master traditional subjects like English, geometry and chemistry. Roxborough High will greatly benefit from full implementation of the ‘All Academy’ model and the resulting positive impact on student achievement and success.”
“These grants are an important form of support that the Philadelphia School Partnership is providing to our children,” added State Senator Vincent Hughes (D-7th). “Both Roxborough High School and Wissahickon Charter School are vital educational institutions in my district. This assistance from PSP is both valued and needed.”
Both high schools are still accepting applications for the 2015-16 school year. To learn more about applying to Roxborough High School – as well as other public schools with openings for next year – families should visit greatphillyschools.org. To learn more about 9th grade admissions at Neumann-Goretti, families should visit http://neumanngorettihs.org/admissions/.
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 and empowers families with information about school options. 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 2017. 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.