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String Theory Schools Teach Students to Perform on the Stage of Life!

Education is vital to our children to achieve their dreams and a meaningful life! We know that our educational system today is in great turmoil as we try to figure out the best way that children learn. Our ultimate goal has to be instilling a love of learning that lasts for a lifetime that affects all aspects of our lives.

Photo couresy of Alexander Iziliaev

The School District of Philadelphia identified our local H.R. Edmunds School at 1197 Haworth St. as a “Renaissance School”. By this identification, the School District acknowledges that Edmunds has been one of the lowest performing schools, thus, the School District wants to “bring about a dramatic improvement in student achievement”. 1 There are several organizations that specialize in turning around schools. So, the task becomes finding the right match for H.R. Edmunds. With input from Edmunds’ School Advisory Council, the School District decides which organization will take over management of the school. One of our contributor’s, Lea Pfeiffer, and her daughter, visited the String Theory Schools and presented their opinions about their visit to the School Reform Commission meeting in April, 2012. Lea has shared a copy of her remarks with us and we are sharing some of them with you here. Lea said, “It was what I saw, far more than what I was told, that convinced me String Theory was the best choice. I saw the compassion, respect and love that they have for every child….It was this passion and compassion that convinced me that String Theory will not stop until our students are able to achieve and succeed…”  That passion is what makes String Theory Schools believe that they will make a difference at H.R. Edmunds and help every student achieve. The School District announced that String Theory Schools, a Non-for-Profit Education Management company, was awarded the contract to take over Edmunds Elementary.

We have reached out to String Theory Schools and we would like to share with you their vision, in their words, of exciting changes that will be taking place this coming school year. “When the students return from summer recess, they will be walking through the front doors of the new Charter School for the Arts and Sciences at H.R. Edmunds, under the leadership of String Theory Schools, an education management company, whose flagship model is the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School. Performing Arts is one of the most successful charter schools in the city of Philadelphia with 11 years of academic excellence.

On June 5th,  H.R. Edmunds hosted students from Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School, who presented excerpts from their spring concert at the Kimmel Center, which included orchestral selections, ballet, and choral music.

Courtesy of Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School

String Theory Schools is being recognized locally and nationally for its STEM+ Arts (STEAM) educational model, which encourages the collaboration of the arts (performing, visual, and literary) with the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

The new Charter School for the Arts and Sciences at H.R. Edmunds will feature an engaging, art-infused curriculum with a strong focus on academic excellence. Every student in grades Kindergarten through fifth will be given a violin and taught to play. Each young student will also study ballet, vocal music, and visual arts. Science Lab, French language, and the art of creative writing will also be included in the curriculum. In grades sixth through eighth, students have the opportunity to choose to major in either academic or arts subjects. Students will spend 90 minutes each morning on their selected major. Majors include: Creative Writing, Innovations in Science, French, Ballet, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, and Visual Arts.” 2

All current Edmunds’ families must enroll their children (including incoming Kindergarten children) to attend the Charter School for the Arts and Sciences at H.R. Edmunds in September, 2012. Packets were sent home with all currently enrolled students. Please see the flyer below for more information!

We wish all involved in this effort much success in the coming year!


  1. Renaissance Schools
  2. Angela Corosanite, CEO of String Theory Schools
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Spread the Word! Sidewalk Recruitment Fair at Early Head Start on Monday!

I visited the Health Federation of Philadelphia’s Early Head Start Program today and you will be reading all about it next week. While I was there, I learned that a sidewalk recruitment fair will be held this Monday, June 11th, from 11 AM until 3 PM. HFP Early Head Start is located at 4606 Frankford Avenue. Their mission is supporting parents as they support and provide for their child’s growth and development. The Frankford location serves families in the 19124, 19120 and 19122 zip codes. There is a PreNatal Program for women who are pregnant and parents up to the age of 30 with children newborn to 3 years of age are eligible for this extraordinary program providing services that parents and very young children need. This program provides services based on a parent’s need.

Please share this information with anyone  who might be eligible and interested! Stop by and say “Hello” as all the staff I met today were very warm,  welcoming and would love to assist you in the challenging job of being a parent! Tell them you read about it in the Frankford Gazette!


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Mayor Nutter’s VIPs Outstanding Teachers

From Shane Doud, Executive Assistant, Mayor’s Office of Education:

When we started this search our office was overwhelmed with the number of deserving and dedicated teachers across our city. This has inspired us to look to continue and possibly expand the event heading into the fall (more information to come over the summer). We have chosen 4 great teachers to represent our city’s diverse educational background.

The winning teachers are…

Wilma StephensonFrankford High School– Culinary Arts (Six of her students thanks to her leadership and guidance were recently awarded $336,000.00 in scholarship money!)

Jim O’Brien- Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School– English ( Mr. O’Brien has been teaching for 43 years and still finds time to run clubs and other school programs)

Jennie Prochorenko Stadelberger- New Foundations Charter School– Special Education ( Ms P.S. is excellent communicator with parents, has helped guide and mold some fantastic students and has dedicated her time to produce a student yearbook when it appeared one wouldn’t be produced.)

Richard Leek- Girard College- History, Government and World Religions (Mr. Leek has been teaching for over 27 years, and coaching swimming, track and field & cross country for most of that time. Our office was informed that several of Mr. Leek’s students have returned to the classroom and have become teachers themselves citing Mr. Leek as their inspiration.)

Go Frankford High School!

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Green Building Taking Shape at Frankford Friends

Steel framing rose for the new building at Frankford Friends School last week. The project, the culmination of many years of planning at the school, will allow it to offer high-quality Friends education program to more local families by expanding the space in middle school classrooms. The new building will provide a multipurpose space, a music room, and three more classrooms. The building, which is among several new construction projects now happening in Frankford, was designed by DIGSAU and is being built by CVM Construction.

Energy use at the new building will be reduced through the use of a highly insulated envelope, an efficient HVAC system, exhaust fans, operable windows, natural light, highly-insulated walls, and solar shades that block summer sun while bouncing winter sun more deeply into the rooms. A large north-facing skylight in the multipurpose room minimizes lighting costs. Rain barrels will keep rain water out of the city stormwater system and provide free water for classroom and ornamental gardens. All materials and carpet will are low VOC. Budget allowing, the exterior will be clad in reclaimed red cedar.

The school, which has been on its historic campus since 1833, expects to enroll over 130 students in grades PreK-8th in the coming year. There are still some openings in grades 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7; the others have waiting lists.  For more information,

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Sankofa Freedom Academy Has Charter Renewed

At its April meeting, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted to renew the charter for Sankofa Freedom for an additional five years. From the Inquirer:

The five-member commission voted unanimously to award five-year operating agreements to Multi-Cultural Academy and Sankofa Freedom Academy, based on their academic performance and because they fulfilled other requirements.

Multi-Cultural, a college-prep high school in North Philadelphia, pledged not to grow beyond its authorized limit of 275 students through 2017.

Sankofa, in Frankford, has an Afro-centric curriculum. The school now has 463 students in kindergarten through sixth and ninth to 11th grades. It agreed to abide by the maximum enrollment of 650 students, set in its original 2009 charter, when it completes its growth to a K-12 model in 2013-14.

In the present economic environment that is quite an accomplishment.  Congratulations to the staff and students at Sankofa.