[NEWS] At 10, a North Philly prep school savors success | Project HOME

[NEWS] At 10, a North Philly prep school savors success


From Philly.com

Ten years ago, Germantown Academy teamed with Project HOME to create something unique: a small, top-notch private school for low-income kids in North Philadelphia.

With alumni placed in high-achieving prep schools around the region, the Community Partnership School (CPS) is celebrating a decade of success and making plans to expand.

"When people ask what I feel are the greatest accomplishments in my time at GA, I always list the Partnership School," said James Connor, who's retiring in June after heading that independent school for 26 years. "It allowed us as a school to broaden our definition of what GA could mean."

The school, which opened its doors at Project HOME's Honickman Learning Center in the fall of 2006, began with 34 children from prekindergarten through first grade. A grade was added each year until the school included fifth.

Connor, who nurtured the spark for the Partnership School with GA's board, said the goal was to give low-income students access to a curriculum based on Germantown Academy's and enrichment opportunities to provide a solid foundation for college-prep coursework.

He said he was frustrated that GA, which has 1,125 students in pre-K through 12th grade and had recruited low-income students, could not reach more. The idea was to "take GA to more people," Connor recalled. GA had moved from Germantown to Fort Washington in 1965, and the Partnership School also was a way for the academy to give back to the city where it was founded in 1759.

Project HOME, which contributed $1 million to help get the school launched, provides leased space at a discounted rate.