School Spotlight: George Washington Carver High School of Engineering & Science

George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science (Carver HSES) is a magnet school option for Philadelphia students with an interest in math and science fields. The school was founded in 1979 in partnership with Temple University. Initially, the school was housed in Temple facilities and all students took college courses as part of the school’s program. Today, the school continues to serve the entire Philadelphia community as a leading STEM school. Students come from all over the city, representing 42 different zip codes. Academically, Carver HSES offers an array of Advanced Placement courses in all four major content areas and will offer 15 AP courses next year. Students at Carver HSES have the options to take a series of courses in a range of six STEM pathways: Computer Science, Engineering, Environmental Science, Psychology, Bio-Med and Advanced Mathematics.

To complement its rigorous academic program, Carver HSES offers its students a range of extracurricular experiences to enrich their learning experience. Clubs like robotics, chess, Mock Trial and debate compete regularly in local and state competitions; the robotics club finished second in a national prosthetic arm competition and the chess team finished fifth in the state competition last year. In addition to the academic teams’ successes, Carver HSES athletic teams also compete at a high level. Last year, the boys’ volleyball team won the District XII Class AA championship. Carver HSES is regularly among the top schools in track and field as well as basketball.

The environment at Carver HSES continues to drive the school’s mission of engaging a diverse student body in STEM fields to prepare students for college success and to be productive citizens. The school earned the second best score in the city on the PA School Performance Profile, just behind Central High School and ahead of J.R. Masterman High School. Last year’s graduating class earned $10.1 million in scholarships, including four scholarships to Drexel University and eight Board of Governor’s scholarships to Pennsylvania state schools. Three students from the class of 2014 are attending Ivy League institutions.

Based on its history of success, Carver HSES was invited by the School District of Philadelphia to expand its enrollment. With the support of Superintendent William Hite and Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn, Carver HSES decided to create a new middle years program to engage students in STEM fields sooner. The school will add 120 7th and 8th graders in the fall of 2015. With the opportunity to reconfigure the school, Carver is engaging in a process to strategically align with a variety of stakeholders within and beyond the school community. To support this planning phase, the school leadership team received a grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership to develop the vision for school’s future. This grant has broadened into a larger partnership, as the school aims to connect with and collaborate with other schools as it expands the community of STEM education for all students. Carver HSES is excited to join the PSP network and aims to become a hub for STEM education in Philadelphia.

Contribution: Ted Domers, Principal, Carver HSES