Videos: What works and what needs work

After Q2 Exhibitions, our students took a week-long break before immersing themselves in their Q3 projects. During that week, they took field trips, rebuilt their advisory cultures, and created short videos showcasing their perspectives on what we do well at the Workshop School – and what we don’t do so well. These videos were primarily intended to spark conversation and reflection in our community and help students connect across different advisories and grade levels.

We showed the best videos from each advisories to our students and asked them to vote on the best in each category. Check out what our students have to say!

What Works

Cesar Ramirez, Tajair Delbridge, Tanaejia Jackson-Clark, Jeff Holden (Dr. Clapper, 11th/12th grade)

What Needs Work

Asidah Griffin, Lior Lefkovitz, Samiere Young, Bash Riley, Sikia Williams, Maurice Chavis (Ms. Melville, 9th grade)

Books For Students, By Students

Ms. Melville’s 9th grade advisory know that stories are powerful: they tell us about our world, our selves, and our possibilities. When they looked for good books to share with a class of 2nd grade students at nearby Powel Elementary, though, they noticed that many children’s books don’t reflect their experiences. To explore what makes for engaging books, students read and reviewed a children’s book that resonated with them. Then they used what they learned to write and illustrate their own culturally relevant book for the 2nd graders at Powel.

Read student reviews by Tyasia Fuller, Cameron Swann, Kareem Coleman, and Samiere Young, published in The Notebook!

Admissions, Exhibitions, and Home & School Alliance!

Heads up, prospective students and current families!

  • The deadline for SDP High School Selection is fast approaching. If you are interested in attending the Workshop School, please check out our pages on HOW and WHY to apply. Visitors are welcome at Open Houses every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 9-12 through November 12.
  • It’s hard to believe, but the end of the first quarter is approaching quickly! Q1 Exhibitions will take place Monday-Friday, November 9 (full day), 10, 12, and 13 (half days). (Wednesday, November 11th is Veteran’s Day.) Parents and guardians, please plan to attend your student’s exhibition in support and celebration of their great work so far. You will have the opportunity to conference with teachers directly after your student’s exhibition or in the afternoon on the 10th, 12th, and 13th.
  • Our first Home & School Alliance meeting on October was attended by about 20 parents and staff members and was a great success. Mark your calendars: the next meeting will be Thursday, November 12 at 5:45pm and focus on developing a stronger network of parent communication. Light refreshments will be served. Questions? Please contact Nimet Eren ( or Stacey Millbourne (

Student Voices: Where I’m From, Erieyanna Hicks

I am from the sun glistening and the neighbors grilling,
From the stray cats and the raccoons too.

I am from my mother’s cooking and my father’s tunes,
From my grandma’s cookies and the cool cartoons.

I am from the shoes on the wires and the trash on the ground,
From the water company banging all around.

I am from the old lot with all the cars,
From the football throwing and the car alarms.

I am from the laughter of the children and the parties on the block,
From the reggae down the street and the man with the locs.

If you come on my block you surely will see
where I am from and why I am me!

Students in Ms. Melville’s 9th grade English classes wrote about formative places and experiences.

Student Voices: Where I’m From, Krista Frasier

I am from “Yo lemme borrow some sugar”,
from neighbors living on the next floor.

I am from kool-aid and chicken,
from banana pudding and s’mores.

I am from dark nights at the park,
from running from cats following me home.

I am from sharing a laundry room,
from inspections every month.

I am from noise above my head,
from hearing knocks on neighbors doors.

I am from gatherings in the community room,
from kids knowing one another on each floor.

I am from meeting up at Woodland Ave. ,
from the Septa G bus.

I am from neighbors that didn’t like noise
so they didn’t like us.

I am from the train tracks in the back,
from where we listened to the trains roam.

I am from where I felt safe,
from where I call home.

Students in Ms. Melville’s 9th grade English classes wrote about formative places and experiences.

Quick Hits, Summer 2015

The work never stops at the Workshop School – not even for summer vacation!

  • Jamal Jackson, Keyshawn Stran, and Danitria Cain talk about healthy sexuality and relationships with their peers. This summer we hosted 17 student workers, funded through Philadelphia Youth Network’s WorkReady program. They spent their time working with Bevan Weissman, Workshop Industries Coordinator, and Meg Hayden, Upper House Coordinator, to turn the Fab Shop into a space where everyone can build and learn safely. They also put together a presentation on healthy relationships for a Skillshare with their peers.
  • We also hosted all our new and returning staff for 2 weeks of summer professional development. We spent our time orienting newcomers, planning this school year’s projects and procedures, defining a shared culture that expresses our collective values, and building bridges and cardboard boats – just like our students! Principal Simon Hauger captured some of the magic of our first week.
  • Two students, Jahtae Williams (12th) and Issa Benoit (11th), attended Adventures of the Mind, a week-long career and college exploration for top students across the country. Read about their experiences in the Tribune.
  • Quwontay Hunter (10th) was profiled in Grid Magazine, giving a glimpse into what life is like for the Workshop School student. Check it out!
  • Teacher Kathleen Melville reflected on her first year at the Workshop School in Education Week. We are lucky to have her wisdom and leadership leading a 9th grade advisory again this year!