About : Mission and History


Our Mission

All students learn the academic and personal skills they need to succeed in higher education, compete in the global economy, and pursue their dreams. 


Our Values

At the core of every Mastery school is a set of values that guides all of our actions. Mastery’s values are infused in the everyday life of the organization -- in the recruitment criteria for new staff, in staff evaluation and promotion decisions, in the organization’s growth strategy, and in the way staff interact with each other and the parents and students we serve.

Mastery Values are:

1) Student Achievement -- Above All

Student achievement is the civil rights issue of our time and the reason we exist. Each staff member is responsible for our students’ success.

2) We Serve

We serve students and their families first. Our business is their success.

3) The High Road

We do the right thing. We are fair and treat folks with respect.

4) Grit

Our students’ futures are at stake – we don’t give up. We do more with less. If it doesn’t work, we fix it. We find a way.

5) Joy and Humor

Our positive, caring culture supports student and staff success. We like fun. We love to laugh.

6) Straight Talk

We face reality, communicate honestly and respectfully, and hold each other accountable.

7) Open Doors

Everybody is welcome to talk to anybody. We are open and transparent.

8) Continuous Improvement

We seek a better way – always. We are engaged in an ongoing cycle of goal setting, action, measurement, and analysis.

9) One Team

We are in this together. We may disagree, but at the end of the day, we support each other 100%.


Mastery Charter Schools operates three charter public school models- Charters, Turnarounds and Renaissance.


Traditional charter schools are tuition-free public schools that receive public funding. Charter schools provide families with choice and provide an alternative to school district run public schools. The charter is approved by the school district in which the charter school is located. Currently, all of Mastery Charter Schools are located in Philadelphia and approved by the Philadelphia School District. When enrollment in a charter school has reached its capacity, admission is allocated by a lottery system. Mastery Charter Schools Lenfest Campus is Mastery’s only citywide traditional charter school.


Mastery Charter Schools also operates Turnaround Schools. The Turnaround Initiative, created under Former Superintendent Paul Vallas, targeted chronically low-performing middle schools to bring about dramatic improvement in student achievement. Mastery Charter Schools Shoemaker, Thomas and Pickett campuses are all turnaround schools.


Mastery operates Renaissance Schools. Introduced in 2010 by former Philadelphia Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, the Renaissance Schools Initiative is designed to turn around the lowest performing schools in Philadelphia by working with school communities who select the school operator that has a proven track record of operating and supporting high-achieving schools.


The main difference between traditional charters and turnaround schools is that turnaround schools are neighborhood schools that take the same students from the same neighborhood in the same building while changing the management of the school, implementing new systems and bringing in new staff.