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Family of Helen Oakes creates literacy institute in her name

The education nonprofit Foundations Inc. will run the program.

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

The family of Helen Oakes, the education activist and former Board of Education member, is creating an institute in her name to provide professional development around literacy for teachers.

“Helen was passionate about helping children succeed in their early school years and recognized that reading and writing are key to that success,” said a statement from her family. “The goal of the Institute is to improve literacy rates throughout the City by increasing the knowledge and skill of Philadelphia public school teachers.”

The institute, to be run by the education nonprofit Foundations Inc., will provide an annual half-day seminar for a select group of teachers and post publicly available activities and resources on its website.

Oakes, a watchdog and gadfly who wrote a newsletter about city schools for 19 years, both before and after she was appointed to the board by Mayor Bill Green, died in May at age 94.

The institute is accepting tax-deductible donations in her memory.

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