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23 Sep 2022

School District of Philadelphia announces new 21st Century Schools Model in three neighborhood high schools

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September 23, 2022 Category: Education Posted by:

The School District of Philadelphia has announced a new 21st Century Schools Model in three neighborhood high schools for the 2023-2024 school year – Bartram, Overbrook, and West Philadelphia High Schools. 

The 21st Century Schools model will provide students with blended instruction, exposure and hands-on experience that will prepare them for success in high-demand industries after graduation. This model also aligns with the needs of businesses and non-profit organizations across Philadelphia by supporting the establishment of a healthy, diverse, and more equitable pipeline of skilled labor in industries such as transportation & logistics, entertainment and urban development.

“When our students are successful and have access to opportunities allowing them to graduate college and career-ready, it becomes the best asset for our communities, our city and beyond,” said Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Ed.D. “In addition to improving academic outcomes, I believe in investing in partnerships that provide transformative opportunities and outcomes for our young people so they can take care of themselves and their families.”

In collaboration with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, the District will launch the following 21st Century Schools Models next school year:

John Bartram High School will provide transportation and logistics industry programs in automotive (mechanics & collision repair), supply management specialist/logistician, warehousing (*CDL), and rail, air, and road transportation.

Overbrook High School will provide entertainment industry programs in digital design, film & television, music industry and entertainment management.

West Philadelphia High School will provide urban development programs in real estate, information technology, entrepreneurship, and arts & cultural studies.

“As a proud Overbrook High School alumna and principal for four years, I can’t begin to express how excited I am to officially launch the new 21st Century Model at Overbrook High School next year,” said Dr. Kahlila Johnson, principal of Overbrook High School. “We are excited to tap into some of our alumni expertise and continue our partnerships with DASH, Live Nation, Live Nation Urban and the Mann Center to connect high school students to the entertainment industry workforce.”

“Today’s young people have so many different options at their fingertips, we want to provide those same pathways and options in our school,” said Bartram High School principal Brian Johnson. “We have a variety of logistics and automotive industries right outside of our walls so having this type of advanced pathway in our school provides students with the option of securing work in these fields.”

“The 21st Century Schools Model will allow West Philadelphia High School to build on our success by enhancing the students’ exposure to STEAM careers in Urban Development,” said West Philadelphia High School principal Marla Travis. We will continue to build community partnerships to enhance our city and develop a future-ready workforce.”

After choosing an industry-based career pathway, students at these schools will be immersed in an integrated and career-focused curriculum, receive side-by-side classroom instruction and field experience, earn applicable industry certifications and more. They will also have increased access to internships every year, and employment opportunities upon successful completion of the program. 

These programs will complement existing programming in the schools and run separately from the school’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. Industries were selected based on labor market trends in collaboration with local business partners and paired with schools based on the history and capacity of the school.  

“This new 21st Century Schools Model is the type of innovation we expect will strengthen academic experiences for students enrolled in our neighborhood high schools,” said Ali Robinson-Rogers, deputy chief of postsecondary readiness. “It blends instructional rigor, college and career readiness, student engagement and social-emotional learning, and provides students with the opportunity to participate in a themed industry-based pathway that connects learning with students’ interests and career aspirations.”

The goal, with the success of these three programs, is to expand them and other high-demand industry programs to other neighborhood high schools over time.

The District will provide updates about the implementation of the 21st Century Schools Model during the school year. In the meantime, learn more about the District’s work to prepare students for college and careers at:

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