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District announces first community schools

City officials in charge of the initiative say the goal is to create better conditions for learning.

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

Mayor Kenney’s Office of Education announced the first nine of 25 planned community schools at a press conference this morning. The first group of schools to be part of the new initiative will be:

  • William Cramp Elementary School, 3449 N. Mascher St.
  • Murrell Dobbins CTE High School, 2150 W. Lehigh Ave.
  • F.S. Edmonds Elementary School, 8025 Thouron Ave.
  • Edward Gideon Elementary School, 2817 W. Glenwood Ave.
  • Kensington Health Sciences Academy, 2463 Emerald St.
  • Logan Elementary School, 1700 Lindley Ave.
  • Southwark Elementary School, 1835 S. Ninth St.
  • South Philadelphia High School, 2101 S. Broad St.
  • Tilden Middle School, 6601 Elmwood Ave.

The Office of Education conducted surveys and meetings with Philadelphia residents as part of the school selection process. A report about the process released last week stated that a neighborhood’s rate of child poverty and health issues, such as the prevalence of diabetes and asthma, should be the most important considerations in deciding which schools should become community schools. The most important school-based factor should be the willingness of the school’s principal and staff to get on board, according to survey results outlined in the report.

The community schools initiative seeks to more seamlessly integrate city services into schools, from health care and adult education to out-of-school-time activities and support for English language learners. City officials in charge of the initiative say the goal is to create conditions in each school so that learning can take place. Steps to meet that goal would include improving communication and information-sharing between schools and city agencies, opening schools to the neighborhood, and placing services within the schools themselves.

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