In the late spring of 2012, American Paradigm Schools was matched by the District with John Paul Jones Middle School for the School District of Philadelphia’s Renaissance Initiative. This meant that the school’s community voted for American Paradigm Schools to be the nonprofit Educational Management Organization to transform the learning environment into one producing measurable outcomes for scholar success. In July, 2012, John Paul Jones Middle School became the Memphis Street Academy Charter School at J.P. Jones Middle School.
MSA has instituted Developmental Studies Center’s (DSC) Caring School Community model, which is a well-researched program designed to promote fairness, personal responsibility, kindness, and helpfulness throughout the school community. Teachers use several means to deepen scholars' thinking and build community. Class meetings are a time to team-build, collectively make decisions, and check in with scholars about how they are feeling and how the class is doing in creating a caring community. These meetings are an excellent way to involve scholars in the thought process of how they wish to be treated and how they want to treat others. Some activities are also designed to let scholars get to know each other better, thereby teaching an appreciation for differences and an awareness of the ways in which they are similar. Teachers use cooperative structures to encourage partner and group work and discussion amongst scholars. At MSA, we value the knowledge and experience that scholars bring with them to school. Therefore, we provide opportunities for scholars to learn from each other in the classroom.
According to DSC research, the program has several benefits. In a caring and safe environment, scholars are more likely to enjoy school and learning activities, have trusting relationships with teachers, and make better decisions regarding issues such as drugs or tobacco use in the middle school years. These scholars have taken ownership for the type of atmosphere that was created in their schools.
Memphis Street Academy Charter School takes pride in being a member of the No Excuses University Network, which promotes college readiness to all scholars. This means that every scholar deserves the opportunity to be educated in a way that prepares them for college if they choose to attend. Educators at No Excuses Universities believe they have the power to influence every scholar to be academically successful, even those who are considered to be at risk. We ask parents and parenting adults to make a pledge to help us help our children succeed.
Memphis Street Academy Charter School Is…
· A caring school community where children experience a “democratic-values” approach to learning. This means being inclusive, respecting differences, caring about fellow scholars, and being intrinsically motivated to do the right thing.
· A place to experience diversity in neighborhood, as well as music, art, and a variety of physical and social activities every day.
· A place where children can develop their ability to problem solve and collaborate.
· A place where children can become confident learners.