Tanner Mossell Alexander
University of Pennsylvania Partnership
school has already been labeled a gold-standard by the
National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities for
bringing the most effective, research-proven educational practices
into the classroom.
the time of the groundbreaking for this unique and groundbreaking
public school (Almanac
March 6, 2001), it was then known as the Penn-assisted PreK-8
Neighborhood School. When it opened in September of 2001 for kindergarten
and first grade, it was still without a real name. This fall--with
students now occupying pre-k, kindergarten, first, second, fifth
and sixth grades--the school had been named for a woman of
great recognition who exemplified true leadership, perseverance
and dedication to our city and our country, said Sheila Sydnor,
principal of the Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania
Partnership School. Some of the children have affectionately called
it the Sadie School' for short.
current enrollment is 225 children, with a target enrollment by
2004-2005 of approximately 650--when all grades, preK-8 will have
been phased in. The student-teacher ratio is 17:1 in kindergarten
and 23:1 in other grades. The faculty consists of 17 teachers, including
specialists in Spanish, art, music, physical education and technology.
The principal is a West Philadelphian, Penn alumna and an experienced
Philadelphia educator (Almanac
July 17, 2000).
Tours are conducted on the first Tuesday of the month at 9:30 a.m.;
no reservations required. An open
house for prospective families will be announced. Families with
children who live in the catchment area are eligible to attend the
January 23, 2001). For more information call (215) 823-5465.
primary colors adorn the walls in a light-filled, multi-story
atrium which is in the center of the new 83,000-square-foot
building that features 28 classrooms, a gymnasium, a cafeteria,
a library, a media center, a science lab, music and art rooms,
parent participation center and administrative spaces. Classes
cluster around the atrium with a carpeted amphitheater-seating
area that serves as a school and community gathering place.
than five years in the planning, this Penn-assisted public school
was designed on a best practices model, with a standards-based
curriculum. The new $19 million building was constructed on
the site bounded by 42nd and 43rd Streets between Locust and
of the many representatives of the three organizations that
created the school--the School District of Philadelphia, the
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) and the University
of Pennsylvania, joined by elected officials, along with members
of Sadie Alexander's family, who were on hand for the Ribbon
Cutting and Naming Ceremony last Monday (left to right): State
Rep. James Roebuck, Jr., School Reform Commission (SRC) member
Sandra Dungee Glenn, SRC member Dan Whelan, City Councilwoman
Jannie Blackwell, SRC member Michael Masch, PFT President Ted
Kirsch, President Judith Rodin, School District CEO Paul Vallas,
Principal Sheila Sydnor, Rae Pace Alexander-Minter, SRC Chair
James Nevels, Mary Alexander Brown, Mayor's Representative Nancy
Morgan; and City Councilman Frank Rizzo, Jr.
Sheila Sydnor with the portrait of Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander
September 3, 2002) which was unveiled at the ceremony. Our
students will know and emulate the values of this great lawyer,
educator and pioneer as they pursue their education, Ms.
Constance Clayton, former superintendent of schools and former
Penn trustee, with GSE Dean Susan Fuhrman
of the School String Ensemble performed at the Ribbon Cutting
and Naming Ceremony.
school serves a diverse catchment area in West Philadelphia,
where families represent at least 19 countries. Children attend
small classes through Penn's financial subsidy of $1,000 per
child per year.
building steps down the sloping site, resulting in a multi-level
complex that connects the students directly to the landscape.
The school features a playground, two playing fields, a grass
amphitheater seating area, a rain garden, and an outdoor science
garden. The fields, which have a storm water management design,
and the rain garden were funded by a state Department of Environmental
Protection Growing Greener grant. The landscape was designed
to be used as an outdoor classroom.
Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 8, October 15, 2002