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March 30, 2017

Philly lays out goals for nine community schools funded by soda tax

Education Schools
033017_kenney_schools @PhillyMayor/Twitter

Mayor Jim Kenney speaks at Tilden Middle School on Thursday.

Philadelphia officials unveiled plans this week for the city's newly designated community schools that are funded by proceeds from the soda tax.

On Monday, Mayor Jim Kenney along with representatives of the School District of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s Office of Education revealed goals for the city's nine community schools. A news conference was held at Tilden Middle School, one of the designated schools located in the Elmwood neighborhood.

The schools will focus on the unique needs of students and surrounding community. Those goals were determined following months of surveys and focus groups with area residents.

But common functions will include access to job training, healthy food, health services and clothing.

Kenney stressed the announcement marked a "significant milestone" as efforts to strengthen schools continue.

“Community school coordinators have engaged thousands of Philadelphians to understand the unique strengths and challenges at each community school," Kenney said. "Now that plans are in place, coordinators can align city and nonprofit services that meet the specific needs of our students, their families, and local residents.”

The following institutions - ranging from elementary, middle and high schools – were selected to be the first wave of community schools:

• William Cramp Elementary School, which will focus on mental health services, access to job training for families and access to healthy foods.

• Murrell Dobbins CTE High School, which will focus on improving school climate, access to healthy foods and job training for students.

• F.S. Edmonds School, which will focus on extra-curricular activities, supporting an inclusive environment, resources for community members and physical activity of students.

• Edward Gideon School, which will focus on school safety, access to health services for families and extra-curricular activities.

• Kensington Health Science Academy, which will focus on mental health services, academic supports for students and access to healthy foods.

• James Logan Elementary School, which will focus on health resources for students, access to healthy foods and extra-curricular activities.

• South Philadelphia High School, which will focus on job training, social and emotional health services and providing academic supports

• Southwark School, which will focus on immigrant and refugee families, health services for students, literacy efforts, improving school climate.

• Tilden Middle School, which will focus on improving school environment, health services and job training for families.

The effort is funded by revenue from the city's new beverage tax. Initially launching with nine schools, the city plans to expand to 25 schools after lawsuits challenging the tax are resolved.

“Matching community needs like job training and health care to additional services will be a significant challenge, one that we will need the business and nonprofit communities as well as individual citizens to help us meet," City Council President Darrell L. Clarke said.

The city said 46 principals requested applications to join, but only two schools will be added in the next round of appointments.