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A bold new school takes root in Philadelphia

One morning an educator (Noelle) and an equity investor (Gina) sat down to breakfast. This was not their first meeting—Noelle had taught Gina’s children in elementary and middle school at The Philadelphia School, and they had collaborated on several progressive education initiatives when Gina later served on the school’s board—but it would prove to be their most important. With plates cleared and coffee mugs nearly emptied, the equity investor asked — in one exhale —“why don’t we just build it?!”

The Philadelphia School

The Philadelphia School

Over the next few months, the unexpected pair of founders recruited a team of outstanding educators and administrators from across the country, which grew as word got out. Their goal was to imagine the most amazing progressive high school they could. Each member brought a different perspective, but all shared a common vision: a diverse and humanistic high school where students could have intentional encounters with real-world experiences.

The educator refilled her coffee cup. By the time she left, she was running late…and the seed for Revolution School had been planted.

Ants Pants Café, Philadelphia

And, imagine they did. They imagined the role of the teacher as a researcher, improving educational practices, and a coach, encouraging students to develop their own style of focus and a deep understanding of their passions. They imagined students as curious learners, creative thinkers, effective communicators, flexible collaborators, and engaged citizens. They imagined the community as a classroom, community leaders as educators, and students as participants in local activism and industry initiatives. In short, they imagined a revolutionary high school where students could forge their own revolutions… not tomorrow…starting right now.

To meet these goals, the team established
three commitments early on:

  1. The school would be place-based, with a program inextricably connected to Philadelphia’s local assets, issues, and opportunities.
  2. They would do more than pay lip-service to diversity: they would seek and honor it in everything from tuition to community partnerships.
  3. They would create a “new way to do school,” moving from subjects to systems thinking, putting curiosity, creativity, evidence and growth at the center of everyone’s work—students and teachers alike.

In this way, Revolution School can become a beacon and support for
other innovative educators in Philadelphia and beyond.

What’s next?

On July 1, 2018, we launched Year Zero for The Revolution School: establishing our identity, preparing our facilities, cementing community partnerships, recruiting the brightest and most passionate educators, and (most importantly) seeking and enrolling our founding class.

On July 1, 2019, we’ll welcome our first faculty, and on September 4th, 2019, we’ll open our doors for a group of energized, ambitious students ready to tackle their learning with a commitment to positively impacting their world.

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