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Teacher Spotlight at Sayre High

At William L. Sayre High School, there are a variety of exceptional administrators and staff. One of these extraordinary educators is Dr. Andrew Schiera.

Dr. Schiera went to University of Pennsylvania for his undergraduate education and majored in History, then went to graduate school for History as well. However, he later realized that he loved teaching, and went back for a Masters in Teaching Education. Before he came to Sayre, he worked at University City High School for three years where he taught Social Studies. When UCHS was recommended for closure and they lost by a 3 to 2 vote, Dr. Schiera was out out of a job. That summer, he taught at a bridge program called Leaders of Change College Bridge, which prompted Sayre students to talk about these teachers that pushed them to their limits, including Dr. Schiera and Ms. Jada Warfield.

Dr. Schiera has been with the Sayre family for three years since the fall of 2016. At Sayre, Dr. Schiera has an abundance of responsibilities, such as teaching AP Government, Psychology and a Foundation of Education course with Penn Undergrads, serving as the Roster Chairman, as well as teaching a course at UPenn.

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“Teaching at a University is different.” Dr. Schiera observed.  “I’m teaching future teachers. Not the same as being in a school, with teenagers who are excited about what they’ll do next, and it’s a different feeling. There is tension between what feels as though I’m making an impact with the skills I have, and the skills I want to learn. There is nothing like building a relationship with students and being able to connect it with their lives. In a perfect world, I would like to teach high schoolers in the morning, and future teachers in the afternoon. I would like to create a program like this to do it in a way where the university does not take over, letting teachers do it their way and use their opinions. Institutional factors in schools and work that keep them in separate worlds… PD school that tries to do it that way.. Out there somewhere.”

Even though he has so much on his plate already, he has thought about becoming a principal. When it was time to put in his application, he applied too late, and the applicant poll was full. He had to ask himself if he wanted to be a principal, and the answer was no.

“The needs to be able to be a principal in the Philadelphia School District, make me not envision myself in that role. Being a teacher is something special for me to leave. There was a brief flicker of a moment where I thought about being a principal. It was so easy for schools to be ran, and I appreciate the leadership here and my colleagues. It’s easy to listen to students and build from there. My goal is to keep doing that, and I see a renewed energy in those students. That’s something you lose if you leave. As Forest Gump said, That’s all I have to say about that.”

We appreciate all the hard work that Dr. Schiera puts into his classes and for his students. We love collaborating with him on class assignments, college trips and after school activities!! Thank you Dr. Schiera!!!

Senior Project Fair

On February 28th, seniors at High School of the Future presented their senior projects to teachers, staff, and other students. The seniors have been working on research papers since November and they finally got a chance to showcase their work. The topics ranged from gun violence and crime in Philadelphia to body image and eating disorders, as well as many others. The students were able to make a poster to present their work or present from PowerPoint slides. Each presentation was very unique and clearly demonstrated all of the hard work that students put in this year. The CCAs at Future had a great time listening to the projects and giving feedback to each senior.

Pictured above are two seniors who gave presentations on gun violence rates in Philadelphia. Both students incorporated racial profiling and police brutality into their presentations and gave statistics and examples that they found throughout their time doing research.

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Posing in front of her poster board, this senior presented on body image and researched how social media is correlated with poor body confidence in teenagers. We were so proud of all of the hard work that students put in this year!!

OHS is Ready for College!

On Wednesday, February 27th, the Overbrook High School Team took on not only one, but TWO college visits! CCA’s Rodney and Aliyah partnered with senior English teacher Ms. Ali on a visit to Penn State Brandywine while CCA Jessie partnered with Talent Search to visit West Chester University.

Some highlights from West Chester University:

Students began the tour at Lawrence Dining Hall, one of the many food options on campus, led by two seniors at WCU. While on tour, students caught a glimpse of Commonwealth Hall, one of the affiliated style dorm options. Students saw a model dorm and were able to ask questions about dorm room experiences.

 

 

Additionally, students were able to see numerous classroom buildings, such as Mitchell Hall, Anderson Hall, and the newly renovated business building that hosts classes for Business & Public Management. Along the tour, students were able to take pictures in front of West Chester’s famous Golden Ram statue!

 

 

The tour concluded with a stop at Sykes Student Union, where OHS students were able to engage with the Director of the Multicultural Center as well as a West Chester University Police Officer, and then participate in a Q & A. Students asked several questions about academics, campus life, and joining organizations such as Greek Life. Overall, students had a great day and were super excited about all West Chester University has to offer.

Some highlights from Penn State Brandywine:

Students were given a well-rounded information session on Penn State Brandywine as well as its 18 other campuses. An admissions representative, Ms. Kari discussed everything from sports to school size and transferring. Students were asked to think about their Penn State story if they were to attend any of the campuses.

OHS college 5The tour included the two new buildings on campus: a residence hall equipped to house 250 students and a larger dining hall which also houses the student activity center, the bookstore and the blue cafe. Students enjoyed a host of outdoor sights as well and began to snap photos of the refreshing greenery!

 

Overbrook has engaged with on-site volunteers as well, welcoming CCP’s representative Mr. Chris Lewis for both A and B days. Mr. Lewis spoke with seniors on a host of topics about CCP and all of its resources, FAFSA and scholarships including the scholarship app called Scholly!

Students left with the intent to learn more and apply to CCP, and also gained Mr. Chris’s contact information. They also took the time to voice their concerns about college and the application process. Mr. Chris will return to Overbrook in the near future in order to deliver on site placement tests for seniors who have already applied to CCP.OHS college 6

Overbrook students have also welcomed Mr. Ron Felder, the PHEAA representative for the entire city of Philadelphia, who gave a direct message and realistic talk on navigating the FAFSA application. Students asked well-thought out questions and were then able to apply for their FAFSA directly with Ron Felder on site. Many students expressed their gratitude left feeling like a weight had lifted from their shoulders!

 

West Philly High Completes the FAFSA!

Ever since the Free Application for Federal Student Aid opened in October, Promise Corps has been working to find ways of educating our students about the importance of completing this vital document. We had many successes in the first part of the year, as we worked together with parents, the guidance department and other partners throughout the school. Now that the end of the year is quickly approaching and seniors are starting to make their final college decisions, we have had to ramp up our efforts.

FAFSA

Rather than waiting for students to come to us with their parents’ necessary information, we have started hosting make-shift computer lab sessions in the Promise Corps room, where we pull students from their classes to work on their applications. During these workshops, we sit with the students and guide them through the process on a case-by-case basis. For the most part, the largest challenge of completing the FAFSA is getting the necessary financial information from the parents. To respond to this roadblock, we have increased our parental engagement by actually calling them to get the information directly from the source, while also encouraging parents and guardians to come to after school events.

We are trying to get as many applications filed as quickly as possible, since students have a better chance of getting more money the earlier that they fill it out. We have seen really positive results with these increased efforts. We have completed the FAFSA with dozens of students, and have at least started the process with dozens more. We look forward to continuing our efforts to help our students find ways to pay for college.

Villanova comes to Future!

On Monday, February 11th, the School of the Future Promise Corps team room was filled with a mix of college students from Villanova and our very own seniors here at Future. A group of graduate students from Villanova have been leading a first generation college student group with the seniors at School of the Future since September. On Monday, this team of Villanova students brought multiple undergraduate first generation college students, as well as staff members from Villanova, to the high school and had them speak to the seniors about their experience as the first person in their family to go to college.

The Promise Corps team was invited to sit in on the panel and listen to the questions our students had for the panelists. The seniors were asking many interesting questions, and they were able to get a good idea of the struggles they may face throughout their academic career as a first generation college student. The students were extremely engaged in this panel and have given the Promise Corps team very good feedback on their experience. All of our students are getting more and more excited to start their journey after high school, especially as they have recently begun to receive their college acceptance letters. Many students have already been accepted to multiple colleges and we cannot wait to see where they end up in the fall!

Member Spotlight – Sayre Team

In the beginning of the 2018-2019 Promise Corps year, we started off with 8 College and Career Ambassadors in our cohort. As the year continued, we have held 3 recruitment efforts to expand our cohort in order to serve even more students in West Philadelphia high schools. 

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Cohort after 2 rounds of recruitment

Here at Sayre High School, we were able to gain an amazing new addition to our team from the final round of recruitment. Adedoyin Eisape, also known as “DeeDee,” joined the team in January and will serve with us until the end of the school year. DeeDee is from New Jersey, and has also lived in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Before DeeDee came to Promise Corps, she received her B.S. degree in Biology at Haverford College. While at Haverford, she participated in the Student Council as an Officer of Multiculturalism, was a member of the Black Student League and Mixed Identity Alliance, played on the Ultimate Frisbee team, and even participated in the Mentoring and Student Teaching Program. As you can see, DeeDee was extremely busy in college, and comes to Promise Corps with a lot of experiences that make her a great fit to support Sayre students.  After Promise Corps, she would like to go to graduate school and study Epidemiology, which is the study of the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases and other factors relating to health.

Dee Dee has decided to serve with Promise Corps this year because she wants to contribute to valuable support systems for youth, and engage with social determinants of health, which will help impact diverse communities. Since DeeDee has started at Sayre, she has stepped up to help take lead with the after school program called Girls Who Code, and she has had no trouble getting to know her students. 

Dee Dee has been welcomed by the Sayre team with open arms and will continue to uphold the Promise Corps values in all that she does!