Penn Gives Lea $1.5 mil.

The University is contributing $1.5 million to the Lea School as part of its efforts to improve public education in the surrounding neighborhood.

Lea, at 47th and Locust streets, is the school closest to the new Penn-assisted public school being built at 42nd and Locust streets, and like the Penn-assisted school, serves children in kindergarten to grade 8.

“Penn’s contribution to Lea over three years will help reduce class size, pay for a librarian [and books], and provide extensive professional development for teachers,” said University Vice President and Chief of Staff Stephen D. Schutt, who has been working on the development of the Penn-assisted school. “This assistance will help Lea join with the new Penn-assisted school in providing an enhanced public school experience for children in our community.”

Under Principal Cheryl Hazzard, Lea is beginning an intensive revitalization of its curriculum, and the Graduate School of Education is helping, said Nancy Streim, associate dean in GSE. “The funds from Penn will provide for GSE faculty and some of our advanced doctoral people as well as national consultants who will work to raise the standards and teaching in literacy, math and science.”

The offerings will include workshops, graduate courses, mentoring, direct classroom assistance and coaching, including helping teachers analyze the learning that’s going on in their classrooms so they can use the data on their students performance to guide them in improving teaching strategies, Streim said.

The new curriculum will hone in on literacy skills in the early grades, culminating in library skills in grade four said GSE’s Ann Kreidle, program coordinator for the Penn-assisted school. Grades five to eight will focus on math and science.

Supplementing the $1.5 million contribution, Kreidle will deploy tutors to where they will be most useful at Lea. The tutors, who come not just from Penn, but also from Drexel University, Penn State and the University of the Sciences, are largely volunteers, although some are getting service-learning credit, Kreidle said.

The money is also going to help school staff improve the school climate, focusing on student behavior and classroom management, to create “a positive learning environment in which kids can feel safe,” Kreidle said.


Originally published on September 28, 2000