So, tonight was the Science Leadership Academy’s first Open House. We were hosted by the Franklin Institute, and we had around 250 folks show up to listen. Given that we’ve got a SEPTA strike and that 30th St. Station had a brownout, I thought the turnout was decent. Carol Parssinen of the Franklin Institute and Ellen Savitz of the School District spoke about the school, Center City Regional Superintendent Janet Samuels was there to support our efforts, and our consultant Len Finklestein was there for moral support. My role was to build off of what others said and go into detail about our philosophy and our plans. And what I love is the opportunity to talk about that… about what we see as the very special philosophy of education that SLA will be built around.
And I love seeing kids and parents get excited about what we’re going to offer. I love that parents like hearing that we think there is more to assessment than just tests. I love that I believe there is an audience for people who think that redefining "Magnet School" to attract kids who are more than a test score is a worthy goal. And I love that I can talk to kids about our capstone project — the idea that they can create projects that come from their passions in each of the academic disciplines — and see them get excited about it… even if it’s more work than a traditional high school might ask of them.
And I believe in this form of education. I believe that it can be empowering and authentic. I believe that it prepares kids for college and life. And I loved watching Laura Young, Beacon graduate and Drexel University frosh, talk about her experiences at Beacon and how she believes in this form of education as well.
For folks who want to get a sense of the structure of my presentation, I’ve created a web version of the Power Point presentation that I used tonight. There is one that didn’t translate to the web version (I had a snapshot of the 2nd floor floor plan,) and it really was just an outline for my comments, but you can at least see the structure of my part of the conversation tonight.
Tonight was definitely one of those moments where I could really see how important it is that we build this kind of school in Philadelphia. It was exciting to see the energy in the room, and getting through tonight successfully was a big hurdle. Next up is our first curriculum summit, then staffing and facilities and then actually going through all the applications and finding the kids who will be the first class. I hope that we saw many of those kids in the room tonight.
I think we did.