FAFSA KICKOFF CHALLENGE (Feat. the Sixers Dunk Squad!)

October 3rd was an exciting night for Philadelphia; The School District of Philadelphia held its 4th annual FAFSA Challenge Kickoff from 4:00PM to 7:00PM. EFULJM5W4AAtrdC

4:00PM- Both parents and their children entered the School District of Philadelphia in swarms for one reason: FAFSA submission. One of the most important nights of the year, people have gathered around to learn about the FAFSA process and its details.

4:42PM-Party music wafted in people’s ears as they glanced around the art on the walls to the multiple chairs dowin the center. Multiple tables that provided their resources were: SDOP’s Administration, GEARUP, Salle Mae, PFCU, PHEAA, Philadelphia Futures, 12+, RaiseMe, PA Immigration & Citizenship Coalition, and The Student Loan Doctor LLC. Of course, us Promise Corps members floated around the area to help out!

There was more to the event than just learning about FAFSA. There were games like Quizzo hosted by the Sixers Dunk Squad, Scramble, and even dancing. All to lighten the mood. Shout out to DJ Nash for the amazing music! Plus, the light refreshments that were provided such as pizza, soda, water, and Insomnia Cookies.

fff5:00PM- Noticeable speakers were Dr. Brooks who told her life story on continuing her education career. The first step was completing the FAFSA application. She expressed her concerns about being a parent and how her daughter, who was in her sophomore year in college, and how she was going to help her daughter that weekend. “Parents,” Dr. Brooks said. “Students, please take advantage of this process.” It was a good feeling knowing that everyone was needed during this complex process.

Dr. William Hite, the Superintendent of the Philadelphia schools, gave his gratitude to the parents and students who came. “You don’t have to know all the answers,” He spoke. “But what you can do is find the answers. That is what all of our College and Career coaches are available for.”

5:15PM- As the event began to wind down, Promise Corps members had time to reunite, catch up on the stories from the other schools. Us Promise Corps from School of the Future in particular, had the chance to coordinate from other programs to speak to our students for our Speaker Week coming in January of 2020. We even had the time to interact with other parents and taken some silly pictures!





SAT’s Here We Come!

   The School District Wide PSAT/SAT date is soon approaching, and the Sayre team is getting the ball rolling with SAT Prep Initiatives! Studying test taking skills is critical in the formula of obtaining a good score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (the full name for SAT). One thing that this team understands is that it’s not just about knowing the concepts that will be on the test, but developing skills that will help our students learn HOW to take the test. Strategies like speed reading, mental math development, understanding word parts, and process of elimination are all great concepts that help students do well on the exam.


For schools like Sayre, access to SAT Prep outside of school are few and far between, and the Promise Corps Team at Sayre High School is making an effort to bridge that gap! Since the end of September, the College and Career Coaches (CCCs) at Sayre have been engaging their students in the cafeteria during their lunch hour with SAT Prep games. These games include, SAT word hangman, mental math relays, word part definition matching, and first in math styled games. The goal of these activities is to engage students in a way that is fun and informative. Each game highlights a concept that the students will be faced with come test time. The game’s layout and rules are set to help students warm up those skills that they will need to use for the test.

On the days that they are not in the lunchroom, the CCC’s at Sayre also offer for students to come in during their lunch period for SAT Prep sessions. Activities include taking practice tests in sections that the students need the most help in, breaking down the types of questions they will see, and giving tips on how to best handle answering difficult questions. The team hopes that with these efforts, they can make an impact on the turn out and preparedness of our Sayre students come test day!

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Pictured above are two of our team members getting ready to head to the lunch room for a game of First to 24! 


 Ciera M. Osborne – College and Career Coach at Sayre High School


One Month in Schools. What Has Happened?!

October 3rd marked one month of our coaches in their school sites! They have already done so much with the students it is just amazing.

Teams have almost completely established their caseloads of students and begun having their first one on one meetings. There has been so many events in only this first month and oh, so much planned. Coaches have had multiple partner meetings, had guest speakers and have all tabled at back to school nights and community days! Yes, this is all only in the first month!

Events members have been a part of include: back to school nights, old school vs. new school pep rally, parent open houses, FAFSA kick off, financial aid presentations, a meet and greet with coaches and SAT prep lunch sessions!


All that in the last month and teams are in the process of planning trips with their students! They are on a roll with starting off the year as strong as possible. Teams will be taking students to Lincoln University, Delaware State University, Shippensburg University and many more before the end of this calendar year!

Be on the look out for blog postings on our college and career trips and events!

dj khaled monday GIF by TikTok


Promise Corps 2019 Orientation Recap

Currently going into the fourth week of school it’s hard to believe we completed nearly 60 hours of training before we got to this point!

Promise Corps pre-service orientation kicks off the week before school staff begin returning to their school sites and leads Promise Corps Coaches directly into the start of the school year hopefully armed with information, knowledge and resources to kick start an incredible year of post-secondary coaching!

Included in orientation members learn the history of AmeriCorps and National Service, the Philadelphia School District and national education reform. Members complete practical training’s including mandated reporting and other procedural important topics. This year content focused on Adverse Childhood Experiences, otherwise known as ACE’S. Members were provided an overview on this important research and given strategies to work with students that include a high percentage of ACE’s. As referenced by the Philadelphia ACE Research Committee, in Philadelphia, where roughly a quarter of residents live in poverty, researchers found that almost seven in ten adults had experienced one ACE and two in five had experienced four or more. Examples of ACE’s include witnessing violence, experiencing divorce and living in foster care among other experiences. By working through possible scenarios and learning about local and national resources, members were provided with a variety of ways to support students that may need the additional assistance.

Orientation included nearly a full day for members to practice facilitating post-secondary workshops for students. The best part was pretending to be an audience of high school students! Members were able to ask questions, react and engage with each other while playing the role of coach and student. While members were able to become familiar with their workshop content, they learned even more about behavior management and critical thinking!

We’re looking forward to being back together for our first Promise Corps Professional Development day later this month!


Welcome Tameka!

Promise Corps leadership would like to welcome our newest teammate! Welcome Tameka Williams!


You can call me Meka if you’d like. I am from Philadelphia and recently moved back after living in Montgomery County last year. I graduated from the Community College of Philadelphia with a degree in Psychology. I will be graduating from Penn State this year. While in college I participated in a girls mentoring group in which the students could get support with academics and their personal life from female mentors. I was most recently a research specialist at Temple University and have also been a staff member at PHMC, the Girls Scouts of southeastern Pennsylvania and Kids of Destiny Learning Center. I served as an AmeriCorps member and truly valued my experience, especially serving on a team. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with new members and supporting them during their time in service. I am excited to support as many students and members as possible with Promise Corps. Something interesting about me is I love watching Korean dramas. My hobbies include reading and crafting. My favorite book is “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou.

Tameka will be supervising the teams at West Philly High and Sayre High School! She has already jumped into working with school leaderships, supporting her teams and getting the year started the right way.
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-Marylissa Barbosa, Site Supervisor


Back to School!

It is that time of year again! That is right! BACK TO SCHOOL!


The 2019-2020 school year has officially begun and our amazing coaches have started right along with the students! Our coaches have been waiting along time for this day to come and it has ARRIVED! In the last two weeks our coaches have been preparing for their time with students. They have participated in orientation and learned a few things!

School District History

Mandating Reporting

Setting Boundaries

Mentoring 101

Promise Corps 101 & 102

They are packed full of knowledge to get their service year rolling. They have already been welcomed by the staff at their sites and some have even started planning trips! Today our members welcomed students through the doors at our four schools, West Philly High, School of the Future, Overbrook High and Sayre High School.

This week they will be getting to know students, setting up their classroom space and planning trips for students. Our coaches are going to be great resources and guides for the students they will be working with.

Promise Corps is wishing everyone a great first day back at school and an even better 2019-2020 school year! We are back in it!

-Marylissa Barbosa, Site Supervisor