Mastery Charter School - Smedley Elementary is a turnaround school based on the model developed by Mastery Charter High School -- Lenfest Campus (founded in 2001). Mastery’s mission is to prepare urban youth for success in higher education and the global economy. Mastery Charter was selected by the Smedley Elementary Renaissance School Advisory Council for complete restart in May 2010. The school currently serves approximately 740 students in Kindergarten through 6th grade in the Frankford section of Philadelphia.
The 2010-2011 school year was Smedley Elementary’s first year as a turnaround charter school, part of the School District of Philadelphia’s Renaissance Schools initiative. During this year, everything from facilities to staffing was transformed as part of the turnaround. Part of the challenge at the beginning of the school year was getting students and families on board with the new expectations—everything from an earlier start time, a longer school day, the expectation of homework every night, classroom rules—and doing it all in a collapsed time frame.
Results from the first three years of operation are significant. Reading levels at kindergarten, first, and second grade (as measured by the Fountas and Pinnell Assessment of Reading) represent average gains of over 1.5 years. The number of students that are proficient or advanced increased by 23 percentage points on the math PSSA and 19 percentage points on the reading PSSA. In addition to the academic changes, our school saw a 95% reduction in violence, an increase in average daily attendance, and a dramatic increase in parent support as measured through participation in evening showcases, report card conferences, and requested parent meetings.
Everyone at Mastery – Smedley is guided by five core values – Respect, Responsibility, Hard Work, Teamwork, and Kindness. These values, along with the relentless pursuit of increasing student achievement, define our school community.
Every day, students at Mastery Charter School – Smedley Elementary are working hard to get to college. All homerooms are named after colleges, and students learn about these colleges as well as learn about the colleges that their teachers attended. Students go on at least one field trip per year to a local college or university, such as Drexel, University of Pennsylvania, or Cheyney. Throughout the school building, college signs, posters, and banners line the hallways as a continuous reminder to students to keep working hard and pursue their dreams.