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Community Outreach

West Philadelphia Public School Initiative

As part of Drexel University and PECO collaboration, the School of Education (SoE) is working with two local schools, Morton McMichael Elementary, and Samuel S. Powel Elementary, to enrich education in the classroom. McMichael Elementary is a K-8 school with approximately 370 students, located in the Mantua neighborhood of West Philadelphia. Samuel Powel Elementary in Powelton Village, has about 230 students, and is a K-4 school. To assess the unique needs and population of each school, SoE students will be tutoring students at the schools, providing in-classroom support. Additionally, faculty members in the School of Education are serving on a faculty advisory panel. The panel will act as a sounding board and provide recommendations on education and curricula. The complete collaboraton is comprised of three components:

  • A $500,000 investment in the Samel S. Powel Elementary School to enrich educational programs and improve educational resources for elementary school students.
  • A $300,000 investment 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.
  • $200,000 to develop a process with the community to create a plan for educational enrichment in the Powel and Morton McMichael Elementary Schools.

Philip B. Lindy Inner-City Public School Program at Drexel University

Through the generosity of Philip B. Lindy, Drexel University has established the Philip B. Lindy lnner-City Public School Program at Drexel University (“Lindy Scholars Program”) which aims to level the playing field in public education by increasing academic achievement and expanding the social horizons for middle school students living in the west Philadelphia vicinity. The program encourages children and families to share in, and benefit from, the University’s vast educational, technological, and cultural resources.

The overall goal of the Lindy Scholars Program is to provide mathematics, writing, and literacy enhancement programs along with other related services to selected students in grades 6-8 enrolled in Alain Locke, Martha Washington, and Morton McMichael Elementary Schools. Drexel staff, faculty, and student volunteers work closely with school administrators, community leaders, students, and parents to help identify needs and then provide services on campus and within the community that are expected to make measurable positive improvements in academic performance and retention.

The program began in Spring 2009 with 75 5th-grade students from each partnering elementary school. Many of the students continued through the Lindy Scholars Summer Program at Drexel from June-August. Both the spring and summer programs allowed the students and the program to develop further so that by 6th grade, students were enrolled for the entire school year. An additional 6th-grade cohort of 75 students will be added each year from each school until 225 students in 6th-8th grades are participating in the program.

Critical Conversations in Urban Education

young modern dancers
CCUE Video: Learning Through the Arts (April, 2013)
In September 2012, the School of Education launched a series of events entitled Critical Conversations in Urban Education (CCUE).  The mission of these timely educational programs is to facilitate discussion about issues that uniquely affect and influence education in urban settings.  Teaching and learning that is affected by higher incidences of poverty, racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity and a high frequency of student mobility present unique challenges that affect educational outcomes.  In conjunction with a number of contributing community partners, CCUE events address the critical factors that can ultimately result in action and sustainable change. 

For more information, visit the CCUE website.

NSF Noyce Scholars Program

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Noyce Scholars Program seeks to encourage and support talented STEM graduates or career changers to become K-12 mathematics and science teachers in high-need urban schools. Scholarships of $10,000 are awarded toward tuition costs. NSF Noyce scholars are required to teach for two years in a high-needs school for each year of grant support. The program also provides other supports such as induction, mentoring and funding for classroom resources based on mini-grant applications. Training to write a mini-grant application is provided. The program monitors performance at each stage of teacher development and provides monthly Noyce seminars which focus on urban pedagogy and other expressed teaching needs.

STEM Camp for 5th and 6th Graders

The School of Education has partnered with PECO to open new educational opportunities for rising 5th and 6th graders in the Mantua and Powelton Village communities who are interested in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The Summer STEM Career Camp encourages and engages students to satisfy their curiosity with industry-related mentors and hands-on workshops and activities. Mentors also act as role models to guide students toward their educational goals and ultimately a career path within one of the STEM industries.

Life Skills to Foster Youth

Thirty ninth-grade students from Arise Academy Charter High School, the only charter school for foster youth in the country, are receiving individual mentoring and social skills training through a new partnership with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Life-skills training are provided by Dr. Chuck Williams, a professor in Drexel's School of Education, and director of Drexel's Center for the Prevention of School-Aged Violence, and a 2012 Stoneleigh Fellow, who is himself a former foster youth. Social skills activities facilitated by Williams will be based on the Ready-to-Use Social Skills Lessons and Activities for Grades 7-12, published by The Society for the Prevention of Violence and The Center for Applied Research in Education.

The partnership is funded by the Stoneleigh Foundation, which supports fellows exploring innovative, collaborative, cross-system reform to the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.