LITERACY FIRST: What makes First Philly different…
First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School is currently a Kindergarten through Eighth Grade school serving a diverse student body comprised of children from all over the city of Philadelphia, from all ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds.
A significant 2009 addition to the campus includes the expansion of a 700 seat theater space to include a mezzanine level and a full stage with orchestra pit and a custom sound and lighting system. The expansion also offers an all glass front with gallery display cases to showcase student art.
First Philly is a school for students whose families understand how important literacy is to achievement in all academic areas. It nurtures a love, respect and appreciation for reading so that children are able to achieve.
In fact, the cornerstone for effective learning is literacy and the school’s primary goal is that all students, after two years of regular attendance, will read at or above grade level. First Philly runs on a year-round schedule, including thematic intersessions (enrichment classes when school is closed). The school believes in family literacy, providing the opportunity to study world languages, and allowing students to gain an appreciation for the international language of music.
All students are capable of learning, given the right tools, environment, family and community support, and motivation.
All of First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School's children will be successful learners.
The founders of First Philly believe that the love of reading must be nurtured during the early years of school. By collaborating with the Developmental Studies Center (DSC) of Oakland, California to make our school a place where students care about each other and care about learning, First Philly students discover a wide variety of strategies to help them make sense of what they read. Teachers expose the children to a diversity of literature and engage the students in discussions along the way. As students explore topics relevant to their own lives they are also learning reading comprehension strategies. These strategies, modeled in the classroom, allow students to find meaning in the books that they read independently and, every day, students are given time for independent reading at their level.
First Philly has also instituted DSC’s Caring School Community model, a well-researched program designed to promote fairness, personal responsibility, kindness, and helpfulness throughout the school community. Teachers use several means to deepen students’ thinking and build community. Class meetings are a time to team-build, collectively make decisions, and check in with students about how they are feeling and how the class is succeeding in creating a caring community. These meetings are an excellent way to involve students 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 students 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 students.
In a caring and safe environment, students 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 in the middle school years. These benefits show why we have chosen to implement the Caring School Community model at First Philly. Students have improved their abilities to listen to each other, agree or disagree respectfully, and discuss issues and feelings. Students are taking ownership for the type of atmosphere that is created at First Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School and teacher-coordinators work to continuously develop a caring learning community.
At First Philly we believe that all children can learn and it is the right of every student to have the opportunity to be prepared for college. On June 28, 2008 the school was accepted into the network of “No Excuses University”.
No Excuses University Schools Promote a Culture of Universal Achievement:
WHAT IS ESEA TITLE 1?
Title 1 is a non-discriminatory, federally funded program passed in 1965. It provides monetary assistance and guidelines for supplementary instruction for students requiring additional support. This program provides services for millions of our nation's children. More recent changes in the law request added parent participation in both, planning and evaluation of Title1, as well as the development of the school plan. The focus is to develop a high quality of education for all students.
ALL TEACHERS ARE HIGHLY QUALIFIED AT FIRST PHILADELPHIA
Delivery of Services
The funds are used to create, maintain and deliver a high quality curriculum according to a plan that ensures that all children meet the states standards.
We have made AYP for the last four (4) years!
Encourage Literacy At Home
Visit the library. Be sure that every member of the family has a library card.
Read to your children every night and make it fun. Read what you love.
Teach by example. Make sure that your children see you reading the newspaper, magazines, literature, their books, anything!
Kinds of Books
Be sure that the books you are reading or have available are age appropriate. Read through them ahead of time to be sure of the content.
Anything and everything that you all enjoy. Don't read books you don't love. Encourage your children to do the same. It is OK to abandon a book if you do not like it!
READING ALOUD – WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT?
Reading aloud helps develop a child's brain, improve their speech skills and helps you bond with your child. Reading aloud and simply talking to your children from the time that they are born will give them an advantage in school.
Remember to discuss the stories that you read aloud. Reading is not happening unless the child can talk about it, answer questions, make connections and inferences, retell it, LAUGH OUT LOUD when they hear something funny or cry when they hear something sad.