Saturday was community cleanup day and I got an invite to go over to the Mastery Charter School formerly known as plain old Smedley Elementary to see what was happening. Smedley is a big school and when I first pulled up and I only saw a few kids in front. Jacob Waters a teacher there had sent me the email and he gathered all personnel for a picture. Turned out there was a nice crowd of kids on hand and just when we got set up Tony Payton arrived.
I have been doing this long enough to know that Tony will usually turn up at community events. He is the most present politician I have encountered. Present he was and below we have the picture. Three cheers for Mastery Charter School and the new Smedley Elementary.
Frankford Cleanup Day at Mastery Charter School - Smedley
I was off the check out Overington Park and when I went by the 4900 block of Penn Street I found these folks just out cleaning up. I had to stop and get a video of them in action.
Finally saw I was early for Overington so I headed over to Wilmot Park. I got a tip from Jason Dawkins that there would be a cleanup crew there too. I found Raymond Grant of Philadelphia Cares unloading the equipment as his crew began to arrive. All in all it was a cleanup day in Frankford. But there was more than that happening and that will be posted tomorrow.
At long-suffering Smedley Elementary in Frankford, things are finally looking up. Now a Renaissance school run by Mastery Charter, there are raised expectations for students. And according to new data released by Mastery and the School District, enrollment, attendance, and reading levels are all going up, too. The key, says Principal Brian McLaughlin, has been getting the entire school–even the kindergartners–to feel a sense of urgency.
From the Notebook on the opening of the Mastery Charter Smedley Elementary School (1790 Bridge Street):
By 8:30 in the morning on September 1, all of the fourth and fifth graders at the new Mastery Charter Smedley Elementary School in Frankford were assembled in the sweltering cafeteria for a combination PowerPoint presentation and pep rally.
“On the screen, you see a big eraser,” preached Brian McLaughlin, Smedley’s energetic new principal who, at 27, is just a few years removed from a stint as a Teach for America corps members at Stetson Middle School.
“I want you to think of all the things from last year that may not have been things you liked,” said McLaughlin. “We’re going to erase those right now.” Photo: Benjamin Herold
Taking a breather on the first day back to school.
Mastery opened Smedley, Mann, and Harrity Elementary schools on September 1, and Young Scholars Charter School opened Douglass Elementary on August 31. For both, the focus of the weeklong head start is establishing a new school culture and new expectations.
The education of these children is the only hope we have. See this link on the dropout rate in Philadelphia.