Students prepare for final presentations at Wharton

Posted by on May 20, 2016 in General | No Comments

Please join us the week of June 7-10 for the Fourth Quarter Exhibitions. As the fourth term of the school year comes to a close our students will present their work and projects to their peers, parents, guardians, and community members. We hope you will be part of this important part of the Workshop School’s educational process.…

Support the 9th Grade Play, Roman & Julie!

Posted by on May 19, 2016 in General | No Comments

Roman and julie Flyers

Roman & Julie, a Philadelphia love story
Written, organized, and performed by Workshop School 9th graders!

Curio Theatre, 4740 Baltimore Ave.
Friday, June 3, 2016
10-11:30am, Admission $3-10
6-7:30pm, Admission $8-20

Reserve tickets today: online RSVP
or call Ms. Katrina Clark (215-272-7091)
or email Jaquana McDonald (
Donate to our GoFundMe!…

Beginning with Trust

Posted by on May 17, 2016 in General | No Comments

The Workshop School has a very different vibe than most Philadelphia Public Schools. As a graduate student this year, I have had the opportunity to visit many schools in the area–public, charter, and private. The only school that I have visited this year that can be likened to the atmosphere at the Workshop School is a wealthy, private, suburban school, rooted in the Quaker tradition.…

10th Grade designing their own water filters

Posted by on May 12, 2016 in General | No Comments

The 10th grade has spent the last few weeks studying water filtration and the devastating water crisis in Flint, Michigan. After researching both the political and environmental problems in Flint, try students investigated how water becomes contaminated. Now, students are designing their own water filters out of recycled materials, and thinking about how to prevent more crises in the future.…

Ms. Matthews’ advisory envisions, creates, and runs health fair for Workshop students, staff

Posted by on Apr 29, 2016 in General | No Comments

Ms. Matthews’ advisory studied the body and nutrition during the third term. As a culminating project, the advisory created a health fair for the entire school. Students were responsible for designing and running their own health stations. The sophomores ran tables that taught visitors about healthy recipes, exercise techniques, nutrition labels, and mindful living.…

Student leadership: Allowing students to have real agency

Posted by on Apr 7, 2016 in General | No Comments

Many schools claim to give students leadership opportunities, but in many ways, these opportunities are just façades. Teachers say students are leading, but in reality, the adults are doing a lot of work behind the scenes. At the Workshop School, teachers make sure that the “behind the scenes” work is student-led as well because if we want students to really learn, they must be involved in every step of the process, not just the end product.…

Rethinking the achievement gap (Part 3)

Posted by on Apr 1, 2016 in General | No Comments

We focus intently on the achievement gap because we see closing it as the best way to combat poverty and inequality. As I argued here and here, this gets us into trouble when we define achievement too narrowly. But it actually oversimplifies poverty and inequality even more than it oversimplifies learning.…

Rethinking the achievement gap (Part 2)

Posted by on Mar 21, 2016 in General | No Comments

I didn’t really know it at the time, but this graph would change the way I thought about the achievement gap.

CWRA result

Before opening the Workshop School, for two years we ran a small pilot project called the Sustainability Workshop. It was basically an alternative senior year program. We enrolled about 30 seniors a year from three neighborhood high schools, and ran them through an intensive one-year, project-based experience.…

PYP Young Voice: Ajah Smith

Posted by on Mar 21, 2016 in General | No Comments

Every year, our 9th grade students write monologues in English class and submit them to the Philadelphia Young Playwrights’ Young Voices Monologue Festival. This year, 21 pieces were selected from more than 400 submissions to be performed by professionals, including Ajah Smith’s “Death is Coming”. Check it out!

Rethinking the achievement gap (Part 1)

Posted by on Mar 19, 2016 in General | No Comments

There are a lot of ways to think about equity, and a lot of ways to think about achievement. In ed reform world, the most common is what we call the achievement gap: the quantifiable difference in test performance between poor and middle class kids. This concept has done a lot of good in highlighting inequities in our school systems, and creating a sense of urgency for change.