In lieu of the Philadelphia School District budget crisis, Houston Elementary in Mount Airy has created a different model for creating and funding various after school programs. With the decrease in funding from the state of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Schools have to learn to do without or get very creative in procuring their needs and materials. William McCann, a teacher at Houston Elementary, understood the issue.
“We had a crisis in terms of public education…that crisis being funding,” said McCann.
It was this lack of funding that lead Houston back to their neighborhood.
“We really had to look in our own community for help,” said McCann.
By reaching out to their community members and local organizations, Houston Elementary is able to provide school programs and extracurricular activities for their students.
“Who can we ask to help tutor our kids after school?” McCann asked.
Houston administrators found the answer in retired teachers. The retirees are now doing one-on-one tutoring for free.
Houston Elementary has also formed a partnership with Springside Chestnut Hill Academy with the program “Reading Rocks.” This program brings teachers in to do after school tutoring for select second and third grade students. Parent Teacher Association director, Meredith Haskins enjoys watching the students’ progress.
“Students need to be able to read,” said Haskins. “Without it, they can’t progress further.”
Chestnut Hill College is also helping to create and provide space for after school activities. Some of the clubs after school include a math club, tennis club and a school beautification club.
It seems as though Mount Airy’s tight knit community has come together once again to benefit the neighborhood.
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