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Green Woods Charter breaks ground at new Roxborough location

By the Notebook on Oct 26, 2012 02:09 PM

Pennsylvania State Rep. Pamela DeLissio congratulates a Green Woods student on the groundbreaking.

by Matthew Grady, for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner

School officials, political leaders and a handful of lucky students broke ground Wednesday morning at the new site for the Green Woods Charter School in Roxborough.

The new location for the decade-old charter school is a five-and-a-half acre plot in the 400 block of Domino Lane. Earlier this year, Green Woods moved out of its digs at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Roxborough and the school is now occupying two former parish schools -- St. Mary of the Assumption and St. John the Baptist, both in Manayunk.

The new, three-story building will be about 60,000 square feet and will be surrounded by eight outdoor learning centers, in addition to a pond, a stream, and wetlands.

Green features will include full retention of on-site water, high-performance mechanical systems, and an emphasis on natural lighting that is expected to reduce energy costs.

Read the rest of this story here

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Comments (20)

Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on October 26, 2012 4:02 pm

A national model indeed.

 

"Given the resources and resourcefulness families needed just to obtain an application, it’s no surprise that Green Woods has one of the whitest, most affluent student bodies in the city. In 2010-11, almost 80 percent of Green Woods students were White. Just 17 percent were eligible for a free or reduced price lunch, the lowest poverty rate of any public school in the city."
 
From Ben Herold's earlier article.
 
This Newsworks article is nothing but a puff piece, perhaps an attempt at "balance" after Ben's piece.   This school's history of using public dollars to promote racial and class segregation is completely glossed over.   No doubt the school has some quality programs.   All the more reason why they should have been available to all students.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 27, 2012 8:09 am
Bull Conner would be proud. Segregation 101 while making lots of easy money for the already rich. Where's the outrage, certainly not from the PFT in any real way. The Chicago TU should have taught us positive things but instead it shines a light on how inept and ineffective the PFT is. Of course, there is always the possibility that another agenda is at work too.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 27, 2012 8:42 am
I was trying to find out the ethnic diversity of the school. Based on AYP, they don't even have a sub group for African American kids. What a sham. This is classism at its best and maybe borderline racism supported by taxpayer funds. If this school wants to be a private school for whites, it should give ups its charter and do so. Otherwise, its diversity should reflect the District's. Notebook please don't glorify this and take down the article. I would hope the folks at the law center are taking notes.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 27, 2012 10:04 am
Most Philadelphia elementary schools are segregated by race/ethnicity. It is based on location. Those with diverse populations are often in desegregated neighborhoods. (This isn't true in the Northwest - look at the populations of Houston and Henry.) Do we mandate that all Philadelphia schools desegregate including Afrocentric charters? The federal gov't tried for nearly 40 years to make Phila. schools desegregate - that order was thrown out about 5 years ago. This doesn't justify the charters previous attempts to limit enrollment but lack of integration by ethnicity is an issue all over the School District.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 27, 2012 12:50 pm
It's impossible to have things always be perfectly fair, especially based on location but this Charter is a disgrace. It should KEEP its charter not lose it but no public money should be given to it. It's not borderline racism, it's clear cut, garden variety racism and receiving public money to pay for it. Why didn't it surprise me to see Fattah there???
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 27, 2012 1:48 pm
Isn't that Chakah Fattah on the right?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 27, 2012 3:35 pm
The ethnic breakdown for the schools in the Green Wood area are: Cook-Wissahickon – 43 % AA 45 % White Dobson Elementary 42% AA 48.6% White Mifflin Elementary 84% AA 11 % White Shawmont Elementary 37 % AA; 53 % White Unless Green Wood matches something close to these stats it is tantamount to a selective school for white kids. It is just flat out wrong. The fact that the district does not have the guts to face this discrimination is further evidence they really don't care about black children. Chakah Fattah is a fool for supporting this exclusionary school and its blatant racist practices.
Submitted by g (not verified) on October 28, 2012 7:08 pm
Obviously-that registration event-held last year at a suburban location was wrong. However-to label this school as racist is also wrong. Only certain parents are willing to send their children to a school whose policy is to have the children outside-daily-in ALL KINDS of weather. I will stick my neck out here a little bit-By MY anecdotal observation , black parents are more likely to express their concern for their young children by bundling them up-worrying that they may be cold or wet or dirty. SOME of the racial and class disparity between this and other charter schools may be a reflection of this cultural difference. A child at Green Woods may be expected to sometimes be wet,a bit cold and sometimes dirty. This is not a bad thing-but it may be a turn-off for more black parents than white parents. Is this possible?
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 29, 2012 8:26 am
Wow. That is the most ridiculous response I have ever read on the Notebook. Classism as a cover for racism. Horrendous attempt to explain why your school excludes african american kids. I know many african american parents who would prefer their child go to a school were students are engaged in hands on learning. But, I also know a school that does not give them that opportunity.
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on October 29, 2012 10:26 am
I think class is more at issue here. How many of those who can't afford to, care about the environment? The school needs to respond to/correct the limited access application. Once this is addressed, then the accusation of racism can be made, or not.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 29, 2012 9:48 am
Just a parent shopping around for a good school. Hoping that someone can clarify the accusation of racism for me. Is there evidence that the percent of different races that attend the school doesn't match the breakdown of the applicants? Or is the accusation that the school just doesn't do enough to promote itself to certain groups? It is my understanding (admittedly limited) that the students in the school are mainly from the nearby areas and from my perspective as a nearby resident, the majority of families are white. Is this not the reason for the limited diversity?
Submitted by Ms.Cheng (not verified) on October 29, 2012 10:07 am
The school, as you point out, is not necessarily guilty of racist exclusion. It is however guilty of exclusionary application procedures. In my opinion, this results in a cliquish class exclusion. The fact remains class is still tied to race, and therefore the result is a race exclusion. The charter of this school is the use of the environment in the curriculum. Many parents may feel that this takes precedence over the diversity of the student body. I on the other hand would prefer diversity of exposure for my children, in socio-economic background as well, over a special curricula. For me, the lack of diversity is a drawback, not a benefit.
Submitted by Ron Whitehorne on October 29, 2012 10:25 am

The point is not simply that the "school doesn't do enough to promote itself to certain groups."   The application process created significant barriers to low income families of color applying to the school.    Segregation is common place in Philadelphia schools, but this school is unusual because of the extreme lengths it went to keep "certain groups" out.  One day out of the year to get an application, only available at a suburban country club.   Not exactly a formula to promote diversity.
 

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 29, 2012 1:15 pm
Gotcha. Hopefully the introduction of the online applications will address this to a certain extent.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 30, 2012 5:42 am
I don't think we should fail to point out that Hispanic, white working class, and immigrant children from low income families are also being segregated by charters like this. In other words we are creating a class based educational system with working class children being sent to funding starved schools.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 30, 2012 11:45 am
I like your comment. Yes my son goes here. I notice a handful of black children, my son being one of them. However, I clearly see no sense ethnicity at this school and I am a little more cautious because of this fact. My daughter goes to J.R Masterman and I see a hue of color and ethnic back grounds. I think the children learn more when they are expose to different people and different back grounds. All I can say, I hope the process will allow a more balance mix of the races. Please parent do not let this stop you from applying. So, far my son loves it. I like it. Yes, there are some things that are annoying me. However, I am very sensitive to my children needs so if any one gets in my way, trust they will get an ear full.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on October 30, 2012 12:32 pm
In the state of Pennsylvania, charters enroll a larger number (proportionately) of minority and low income students. Because there are those that seek to avoid diversity does not mean all charters should be put in the same category.
Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on October 30, 2012 3:57 pm
There are so many underutilized school buildings in Philadelphia? Why is Green Woods building a new building? How about using old Catholic school buildings in Manayunk? Seriously, this is a waste of taxpayer money.
Submitted by James Smith (not verified) on October 31, 2012 9:27 am
SOME of the racial and class disparity between this and other charter schools may be a reflection of this cultural difference. A child at Green Woods may be expected to sometimes be wet,a bit cold and sometimes dirty. network-fraud
Submitted by Jonna Smith (not verified) on October 31, 2012 9:30 am
However, I clearly see no sense ethnicity at this school and I am a little more cautious because of this fact. My daughter goes to J.R Masterman and I see a hue of color and ethnic back grounds. network-fraud

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