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Assisted Schools Initiative

Supported by the Exelon Foundation and PECO

Project led by:

Penny Hammrich, PhD

The Drexel School of Education is not just a school that trains students to be teachers; we are also heavily invested in improving the quality of education in public schools in our neighborhood.

Through a grant from the Exelon Foundation and PECO, we have created partnerships with Morton McMichael School, Powel Elementary School and Science Leadership Academy Middle School. Drexel Faculty work side-by-side with principals and teachers at these schools to support and enhance instruction.

At McMichael, we implemented a system of universal screening of all students’ literacy and math skills, hosted professional development workshops for teachers on the subject of behavior intervention, developed customized education plans for each student tailored to their specific needs, and harnessed the resources of the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Franklin Institute and the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program to develop a unique STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) programs for students.

At Powel Elementary School, Drexel faculty and School of Education students enhance instruction in the classroom by working with teachers and students in order to provide and sustain a positive learning environment for students. To further our commitment, Drexel hired a Director of School Support who coordinates professional development and support methods to improve school climate.

With the help of local non-profit Playworks Philadelphia, we introduced socialized play programs to reduce conflicts on the playground during recess. At Drexel, technology leads everything we do but we understand that not everyone has access to computers and the Internet. At Powel we provided 30 new laptops to the school’s library for students to use.

As we look to the future and explore ways to continue to improve educational outcomes for children in our area, including three critical initiatives:

  • Response to Intervention (RtI): Through academic screening tools in math computation, math applied problems, reading fluency and reading comprehension, teachers will be able to better understand students’ strengths and weaknesses in order to develop individualized learning plans. Implementation of this strategy will identify instructional needs and deliver increasingly intensive interventions in classroom settings.
  • Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS): Drexel will implement a tiered approach to student behavioral support for internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Implementation of this strategy is expected to result in teachers using more effective behavior management strategies, classroom ecologies that are conducive to the learning process, more time on task and active educational participation, and the use of inclusive and instructive discipline outcomes.
  • STEM enrichments: The program also will pilot one of the nation’s first science benchmark assessments that follow new national science standards and enable targeted intervention in specific science domain areas.