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With Dell grant, Philly school to become ‘Center for Excellence in Learning’

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

The Philadelphia School District: It’s not all bad news all the time.

Some successes, in fact, are so great that educators from across the nation are willing to book a flight to PHL just to take a peek underneath the proverbial hood.

Take the District-run Science Leadership Academy as a case in point.

Through its partnership with the Franklin Institute, SLA has developed an inquiry-based, project-driven learning environment that has earned high praise from educators across the country.

President Obama himself has acknowledged the school’s accolades. When he spoke at SLA’s high school graduation in 2012, he predicted that "somebody in this room … will invent some entire new industry that we don’t even know about yet."

Based on the school’s stellar reputation, Dell Inc. announced Thursday that it would award a three-year $620,000 grant to SLA, naming it a "Center for Excellence in Learning." The designation affects both of SLA’s selective admission high schools – its original Center City campus and its newly created Beeber campus in West Philadelphia.

Chris Lehmann, founding principal of SLA, said the grant will make the schools somewhat like a "teaching hospital" – where educators in districts far and wide can learn from SLA’s accumulation of best practices.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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