Phila. school group plans $4.7M in grants

Posted: July 19, 2013

The Philadelphia School Partnership will announce Thursday grants totaling $4.7 million to help high-performing charter schools expand and a nonprofit develop a new high school with the School District.

"What is exciting about this [funding] round is that it shows the many different ways that the fund is available to invest in expanding access to great schools," Mark Gleason, the partnership's executive director, said Wednesday.

A $3.5 million multiyear grant is going to Mastery Charter Schools to serve more students at the dozen schools it operates in the city. Part of the money will be used for Mastery's new elementary school in South Philadelphia, which is tied to the 7-12 grade school Mastery operates for the district at the former Thomas School.

The elementary campus will open in the fall in the former Stella Maris parochial school, which closed a few years ago.

Boys' Latin of Philadelphia Charter High School in West Philadelphia is being awarded $1.1 million for a middle school program that will open with sixth graders in the fall.

The School Reform Commission approved the new middle school in 2012.

The partnership also granted Building 21, a new local nonprofit, $50,000 to help underwrite costs of developing a proposed high school model that will combine classroom instruction and one-on-one computerized learning so students can advance at their own pace.

Building 21 was founded by Laura Shubilla, former copresident and chief executive of the Philadelphia Youth Network, which works with at-risk students.

Gleason said the district has expressed interest in working with Shubilla's group but has not made a commitment to implementing the project. The group hopes to present a proposal to the SRC for the 2014-15 academic year.

The partnership also awarded a $55,000 grant to Freire Charter School in Center City to make it easier for teachers, parents, and students to access academic data to improve results, and $40,000 to Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School to develop a process to identify school leaders.

The nonprofit partnership's Great Schools Fund is trying to provide money to add 35,000 slots for students at high-performing city schools by 2016-17.

Contact Martha Woodall at 215-854-2789 or

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