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Drexel and PECO Partner on Community Education Program

May 31, 2011

PECO and Drexel University have partnered to develop an education program to improve public school options for families in West Philadelphia. Funded by a $1 million grant from PECO, the five-year program opens the door to new educational opportunities for local students and engages the community to focus on improving student retention. The partnership was announced at a press conference today. Photos can be viewed at Drexel University's Flickr photostream.

The program, named Drexel-PECO Community Education Collaborative, has three components:

• A $500,000 investment in the Samuel S. Powel Elementary School focused on enriching educational programs and improving educational resources for elementary school students.
• $300,000 to develop a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program for middle school (grades 5-8) students who attend schools or reside in the Powelton Village and Mantua neighborhoods
• A $200,000 investment in an inclusive planning and engagement process with the community to create a blueprint for educational enrichment in the Powel and the Morton McMichael Elementary Schools.

“Programs like this succeed because people get inspired to make a difference, and they inspire others and good things happen,” said Denis P. O’Brien, PECO president and CEO. “It’s about teamwork, communication, inclusion and perseverance. We are proud to join forces with Drexel, and the residents of Mantua and Powelton Village, and to invest in the personal and educational development of the young people in this community.”

Design, development and implementation of the components will begin immediately and continue over the next five years.

“Drexel is proud to collaborate with PECO on this initiative that will help engage our youth in new educational programs and mentor them to become successful leaders in tomorrow’s communities,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “We take very seriously our responsibility to be a good neighbor, and this collaboration with PECO will allow us to focus on strengthening our positive impact on the community. The collaboration aligns with our vision for Drexel to be the most civically engaged university in the nation across all three dimensions of engagement – academic, student and employee volunteerism, and institutionally supported neighborhood investment.”

Samuel S. Powel Elementary School investment:
The Drexel-PECO Community Education Collaborative will address Powel School principal Kimberly Ellerbee’s top priorities, which include upgrades to the school library to enhance literacy and support STEM education.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program:
The STEM program will be in the form of summer workshops and will enable youth from the Powelton Village and Mantua neighborhoods, who express interest in a STEM career in middle grades, to educate and build on that interest throughout their middle school education. This will enable these students to choose an appropriate high school program and further the pursuit of a career in STEM.

Community education program:
The community education and enrichment plan will be developed collaboratively with community stakeholders in Powelton Village and Mantua, and will include a comprehensive assessment to identify educational needs and resources to lay the groundwork for a coordinated network of strong schools in these neighborhoods.

With a principle focus on math, science and environmental education, PECO supports programs which encourage students from all backgrounds to stay in school, develop their talents and continue their education beyond high school. Since 1969, PECO has sponsored the Philadelphia Academies’ Academy of Applied Electrical Science. In 2010, the company invested $1.2 million in educational programs, including more than $150,000 in scholarships for limited income students at local colleges and universities—a great investment in our future workforce.

About PECO:
Based in Philadelphia, PECO is an electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC). PECO serves 1.6 million electric and 490,000 natural gas customers in southeastern Pennsylvania and employs about 2,400 people in the region. PECO delivered 87.9 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 39.5 billion kilowatt-hours-hours of electricity in 2010. Founded in 1881, PECO is one of the Greater Philadelphia Region's most active corporate citizens, providing leadership, volunteer and financial support to numerous arts and culture, education, environmental, economic development and community programs and organizations.

About Drexel University:
Founded in 1891 in Philadelphia, Drexel is the nation’s 14th largest private university and is ranked second among national universities in the U.S. News list of “Up-and-Comers.” Drexel is widely recognized for its focus on experiential learning through its co-operative education program, technology and use-inspired research.


News media contacts:
Ben Armstrong, PECO, 215-841-5555 or
Niki Gianakaris, Drexel University, 215-895-6741 or


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