This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
by Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks
Dozens of residents packed the pews of a Germantown church on Wednesday night to learn more about a proposal that, if approved, would bring three alternative-education programs to the neighborhood.
With six weeks to go before the start of the new school year, officials with Camelot Education told residents that the for-profit company wants to merge all of its city programs at Germantown High School’s freshly shuttered building.
Excel Academy North and Excel Academy South, both located in Northeast Philadelphia, serve "near-dropouts" who need a substantial number of credits to graduate high school. Participants, who must be at least 16, attend voluntarily.
Camelot Academy, on the other hand, works with middle-school and high-school students who were removed from traditional schools for disciplinary infractions. Enrollees are expected to transition back to a regular school after a period of remediation.
Not a new program
All three programs exclusively serve students from the Philadelphia School District, which has partnered with Camelot for the last decade.
"These are kids that have fallen through the cracks," said Camelot CEO Todd Bock inside Janes Memorial United Methodist Church.
The new school would serve between 400 and 800 students, a number of whom are not performing at grade level.
About two thirds of the school’s population would be "accelerated" students from Camelot’s Excel programs. The remaining third would be "transitional" students from Camelot Academy.
The school would be privately staffed by Camelot teachers.