Penn Alexander School/GSE Partnership Celebrates Academic Achievement

Jill DiSanto | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820
Friday, December 5, 2014

The University of Pennsylvania is known for its academic excellence.

So when it partnered with the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers back in 1998 to design a state-of-the-art, University-assisted PreK-8 neighborhood public school in West Philadelphia, the idea was to serve the children with a joint venture in educational advancement.

Since its establishment, the Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School, commonly called the Penn Alexander School, has regularly been one of Philadelphia’s best performers on state-mandated academic assessments.

This year, when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Education Department released the scores used to rate its public schools this year, Penn Alexander ranked as the top K-8 school in the City of Philadelphia.

Penn Alexander serves more than 500 students that mirror West Philadelphia’s ethnic diversity, and 30 percent of its students are the children of University faculty, staff and students.

In addition to ongoing financial support, Penn partners with the school in community outreach programs, maintains its grounds and provides student volunteers from across the campus who serve as tutors and mini-course providers.

A number of Penn schools, organizations and departments work with Penn Alexander to strengthen the students' educational experiences. The Graduate School of Education takes the lead in this work, providing student teachers in the classrooms, professional development courses and workshops for staff.

Its enhanced academic program gives students access to specialized learning opportunities in art, music and technology though an array of enrichment activities such as chess, instrumental music lessons, student government, sports, as well as computer science and science fairs. Penn Alexander’s instructional practice is built upon the best available educational research and the classroom’s core experiences that draw upon its diverse cultures.

Penn continues to find new ways to support its surrounding community.

Last year, GSE substantially deepened its decades-long relationship with West Philadelphia’s Henry C. Lea Elementary School. This partnership enacts a new vision of university-school partnerships, driven by the needs and vision of the community around it.