West Philadelphia High School Welcomes New Promise Corps Cohort

The West Philadelphia Promise Corps has launched for the 2020-21 school year with a brand
new cohort of College and Career Coaches. The members of the Promise Corps are working
with four high schools in West Philadelphia to mentor and guide students as they plan and
prepare for post secondary life. Although COVID-19 continues to keep us apart physically, the
new cohort is bringing exciting energy and new ideas to the schools they will serve at. Members
recently completed a two week long orientation in preparation for their service year with the
Promise Corps. Below, the team members at The West Philadelphia High School reflect on
what they learned and appreciated the most about this year’s orientation.

What was your favorite professional development training and why?
The members of the West Team took part in several professional development training on a
variety of topics, such as Cultural Competency, working in a school community, and active
listening skills. One speaker who received great praise was Brandon Brown, a technical
consultant for the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University.

Kim Brask says “ I liked the active listening Professional Development because I think genuinely
listening to someone can be a profound gift and is a skill that needs constant strengthening.
Brandon Brown is so engaging and knowledgeable so it made the workshop very powerful.”

Gabe El Sheikh says “ My favorite part of training was the active listening work we did with Mr
Brandon. While active listening is a skill that will help me as a college and career coach, it is
something that everyone should practice to improve their relationships.”

Nijah added “My favorite professional development training was Active Listening. I feel that it is
an undervalued skill that we can all improve on.”

What was your favorite team building activity and why?
The teams also took part in several team building activities to get to know each other and better
understand our team dynamics. One team builder involved mapping your life’s journey through

Nijah and Kim both enjoyed the opportunities to get to know their teammates through these
activities. Nijah says “My favorite team builder activity was the “How well do you know your
teammate” activity led by The School of the Future. It was fun and got everyone involved”.
Kim added that she “ most enjoyed the down time in our teams that allowed us to build a rapport
and get to know each other.”

Some members preferred the more competitive team building opportunities, like Gabe who says
“My favorite team builder activity was our intense game of jeopardy. There were alliances,
betrayals, several plot twists, and it was a crazy time.”

What are you looking forward to this school year?
There is a general consensus among the members of the West Philadelphia High School Team
that building relationships and getting to know students is the part of the work they are most
excited for.
Kim said “This year I’m really looking forward to building supportive relationships with students
that encourage and challenge them to strive to be their best selves”. Gabe adds that he is
“looking forward to doing creative group activities and just chillin with the students of West.”

Nijah added that she is “ looking forward to developing strong and effective relationships with
my students. I am also looking forward to finding new and interesting ways to engage students
in a virtual setting.”

If you had to describe your team in just three words, what would they be?
The team really enjoyed getting to know each other through orientation! Here’s how they
described their new squad in just three words each!
Kim: Positive, Dedicated, and Supportive `
Gabe: Sociable, Stylish, and Visionary
Nijah: Balance, Passion, Integrity

Harry Levant – College and Career Coach at West Philadelphia High

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