Mayor Kenney announces three new community schools paid for with soda-tax proceeds

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“Three Philadelphia schools were named “community schools” by Mayor Jim Kenney on Tuesday, given extra resources and support paid for with the city’s soda tax.

Frankford High; Add B. Anderson, a K-8 in West Philadelphia; and Paul Dunbar, a K-8 in North Philadelphia, were tapped for the community schools program, a hallmark of the Kenney administration. Each will get a dedicated, city-paid worker embedded in the school building expressly to assess needs, seek out community partnerships, and provide wraparound supports for students as a way to remove barriers to learning.

Community schools have attendance supports for students who struggle to come to school regularly, adult education classes, connection to social services and emergency funds, plus after-school and summer programming and career exploration. And their buildings are also typically open for longer days and in the summer, and accessible to the community at times when school is not in session.

Each community school gets more than $500,000 extra annually; the city is proposing an $11.2 million budget for 20 community schools for the 2022-23 school year.

The addition of three new community schools makes 20 in total, and Tuesday’s cohort is the first new group named since 2019. The first community schools were chosen in 2016.

Kenney and City Council President Darrell L. Clarke first saw community schools up close on a trip to Cincinnati in 2015. They were wowed by school buildings that offered not just academics but also vision, medical, and dental clinics, food banks, day-care centers, and mental-health resources. They made schools into hubs accessible not just by the pupils enrolled there, but also by the larger neighborhood.”

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