This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
McMichael Elementary School received a facelift yesterday on day two of renovations in preparation for the new school year. The first was on Aug. 22.
Thanks to $15,000 worth of contributions from the Goldenberg Group, a local real estate developer, the school upgraded common areas — the teachers’ lounge, indoor recess room, multipurpose room, and the courtyard.
Goldenberg Group partners with local schools in its development area, and McMichael, located in Mantua, is near Park West Town Center, a Goldenberg retail development at 52nd and Jefferson Streets. Past school renovation partnerships have been with E.M. Stanton, McCall Elementary, and Dunbar Promise Academy.
Two hundred volunteers contributed by assisting with the painting, assembling furniture, and cleaning. They included employees from the Goldenberg Group, Drexel University, the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment & Opportunity, local residents, and others.
Each room was repainted and outfitted with new furniture, appliances, and/or cabinetry. In addition to these larger renovations, every room in the school was cleared of outdated papers, electronics, and other materials, and repainted.
The school’s makeover actually began earlier this year on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, when volunteers from Drexel University helped paint the stairwell doors and clear out classroom closets for their day of service.
McMichael was recommended for closure in 2013, but in the end, it was spared. For the last six years, said McMichael principal Brian Wallace, an effort has been made to turn the school into a “more warm and inviting space for the students.”
“The kids are going to realize that not only am I investing in myself [and] not only does the principal and the staff care about us, but look at all the people in the community that care about our overall success,” Wallace said.