Penn Alexander School Wins National Design Award

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Media Contact:Matt Gray | mtgray@pobox.upenn.edu | 215-898-4820October 4, 2004

PHILADELPHIA -- The Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School has been recognized by KnowledgeWorks Foundation as one of just 14 schools in the nation that best exemplifies a growing national trend to build schools as centers of community.

A model PreK-8 neighborhood public school, Penn Alexander is the result of a unique partnership among the University of Pennsylvania, School District of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Federation of Teachers to build a University-assisted, exemplary public school for West Philadelphia children.  Opened in 2002 the school is dedicated to providing high-quality public education to children in West Philadelphia through a child-centered, research-based program.

"Penn Alexander was created to be a community school in the sense that its mission is for students to learn in the community, while at the same time serving as a hub for community members to extend their learning on-site at the school," said Nancy Streim, associate dean at Penn's Graduate School of Education.  "The building was designed to encourage shared use by school and community.  Equally important, the curriculum integrates the many cultural and historical assets in West Philadelphia."

"Every year school districts across the country spend billions of dollars building new schools and renovating old ones," said Chad Wick, president and CEO of KnowledgeWorks Foundation, "But too often there is limited connection to the community in this process.  We conducted a national search to find schools that are built for and with the community in mind, schools that can be used as models for all of us in the country.

"The schools that have been selected for the Honor Society are all models of excellence when it comes to being centers of their community," Wick said.  "If you want to put the public back into public education, a good place to start is to open up the facilities to the community and really make them community learning centers for people of all ages."

KnowledgeWorks Foundation is Ohio's largest public education philanthropy and a national leader in encouraging school districts to design schools as centers of community.