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3 schools named to receive redesign awards

Fox Chase, Hancock, and Penrose will undergo internal school-led transformations.

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

Three Philadelphia neighborhood schools have been named by the School District to make up the second cohort of the District’s School Redesign Initiative and will start planning now for changes to be implemented next fall.

The schools, with the themes of their redesigns, are:

· Fox Chase Elementary in Northeast Philadelphia – Interdisciplinary, hands-on agriculture-based learning model;

· Penrose Elementary in Southwest Philadelphia – Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning model;

· John Hancock Demonstration Middle School-Gen. J. Harry LaBrum Campus in Northeast Philadelphia – Inquiry-driven, project-based learning model.

The awards are the result of a competitive application process.

“These school-led innovations will create dynamic academic concepts and practices that other schools can replicate," said Superintendent William Hite in a statement.

The initial cohort of redesigned schools – Tilden Middle School, J.S. Jenks Academy for the Arts & Sciences, and Arthur and Carnell Elementary Schools – launched their revamped programs in September.

Schools that are part of the initiative remain under District control, can maintain existing staff, and continue to serve all students from their catchment areas.

Each of the three schools will receive about $30,000 to support the redesign planning year and another $50,000 for implementation next fall. The schools receive no other additional funds.

The District’s awards to the three schools are dwarfed by grants announced Wednesday from the privately funded nonprofit Philadelphia School Partnership to five startup charter schools. Those grant amounts ranged from $1.6 million to $3.3 million per school. In all, PSP made eight grants totaling $10.5 million to approved and proposed charters, with no District schools receiving funding.

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