PECO and the Exelon Foundation Renew Commitment to Successful West Philadelphia Education Partnership
September 21, 2018
PECO and the Exelon Foundation awarded a $300,000 grant to the Drexel Exelon Foundation/PECO Community Education Collaborative – a program that supports and enhances the work of the School District of Philadelphia at the Morton McMichael and Samuel Powel elementary schools in West Philadelphia. The purpose of the program is to improve educational outcomes for local students with a particular focus on STEM education.
This is the third grant awarded to the program from PECO and Exelon Foundation since it launched in 2011. PECO and Exelon Foundation provided an initial contribution in the form of a $1 million grant and a second grant of $500,000 was awarded to support the initiative in 2014.
“PECO and the Exelon Foundation are proud to support such a meaningful program and we are pleased to build on our long-standing relationship with Drexel University and the School District of Philadelphia,” said Romona Riscoe Benson, PECO director of Corporate Relations.
The impact of this investment can be seen in both the stronger school climate and learning environment at the Powel School, and the growing culture at McMichael of an individualized learning approach for all students.
“Our commitment to the development of our future leaders – particularly in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics space – remains strong and we are pleased that this grant of $300,000 allows the program to continue,” said Steve Solomon, Exelon Foundation’s vice president of Corporate Relations.
At McMichael, the PECO/Exelon Foundation grant helped create a climate of academic ambition and accountability, which has led to 100 percent of 8th grade students now actively applying for the high school of their choice, something that was not done at the school before the funding.
Grant funds also:
- Supported STEM and career exposure for middle school programs and supported the development of a STEAM Academy at McMichael. The STEAM Academy included academic support for at-risk students, counseling to help students articulate their goals and a McMichael Scholars Program to provide special learning opportunities for selected high performers.
- Support Powel during a time of transition in 2011 when the School District announced the closing of the nearby Drew School and catchment-area changes caused enrollment to grow dramatically. The funds have continued to build the school’s academic achievement and school climate.
- Supported technology upgrades for the library at Powel with the purchase of 30 laptops for individualized instruction and academic support and provide math instructional materials to bolster understanding of fundamental concepts.
“McMichael has been recognized as one of the most improved schools in Philadelphia. Powel has reaffirmed its status as a high-performing school with a stronger climate and learning environment,” said Penny L. Hammrich, PhD, interim dean of Drexel’s School of Education. “Drexel and its School of Education are grateful to PECO and the Exelon Foundation for their continued support of the schools. This new grant will help Drexel develop a long-term plan to continue assisting these schools in the future.”
The successes at Powel and McMichael Schools, made possible by this grant, were important components in securing a $30 million grant for the West Philadelphia Promise Zone from the federal government in 2016, and for leveraging millions of dollars in private sector support for needs there.
Over the next two years, the $300,000 gift from PECO and the Exelon Foundation will help bolster STEM education at Powel and McMichael, with a targeted focus on strengthening mathematics instruction at both schools. To build on momentum and leverage existing McMichael resources, the gift will fund a supplemental math coach for the 2018-2019 school year. At the Powel School, the gift will also support the employment of a Math Lead responsible for improving the math outcomes of students and supporting teachers in every area of math instruction.
The School District will also initiate the Ongoing Assessment Project (OGAP), a professional development program, at Powel that will include a training session for teachers. PECO and the Exelon Foundation gift will help Drexel take this a step further and provide additional training sessions for teachers and parents.
PECO, an electric and natural gas utility subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, 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.
The Exelon Foundation is an independent, non-profit philanthropic organization funded solely by Exelon Corporation, the nation’s only Fortune 100 energy company, through shareholder dollars. The Foundation supports non-profit, tax exempt organizations primarily within the service territory of Exelon and its operating companies, including: Illinois, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Texas and Massachusetts.