Mastery Charter Simon Gratz Unveiled New Career and Technical Education Program - Mastery Charter School

Mastery Charter Simon Gratz Unveiled New Career and Technical Education Program

Press Release
October 3, 2019

Media Contacts
Larry Miller
[email protected]

Rae Oglesby
(267) 800-8244
[email protected]

Mastery Charter Simon Gratz Unveiled New Career and Technical Education Program

10th grade students can enroll in CTE classes in communications technology, health care technology and hospitality management & culinary arts

Mastery Charter Simon Gratz officially inaugurated its new and exciting Career and Technical Education program for 10th grade students who are interested in pursuing a future in the fields of communications technology, hospitality management and the culinary arts.

Elected officials Pennsylvania State Senator Sharif Street, Philadelphia City Councilmember Cindy Bass toured the new training suites along with a staff member of State Senator Rosita Youngblood office, Gratz staff members, parents and students. The unveiling included live demonstrations conducted by teachers and enrolled students.

“Students who enroll in the program will get real and practical experience in classes taught by industry professionals and will receive certification in their chosen career paths or college credits should they choose post-secondary education,” said Isobel Dewey, assistant principal of instruction. “They’re getting the same level of training and experience just as if they were in an actual industry-sponsored program. This was several years in the making and is a nod to Gratz’ tradition of vocational and technical training. This CTE program is the 21st century version of vo-tech.”

Dewey also said that in addition to gaining actual experience, industry certifications or college credits, students will intern in their prospective career choices. The training suites include an actual café and modern restaurant kitchen facilities. Those enrolled in the communications technology program will learn web and graphic design, video production, photography and animation. Students in this program will graduate ready to work in the field of multimedia technology – which includes everything from creating video content to repairing computers.

Students interested in healthcare will learn the fundamentals of health care, including how to use basic medical equipment, treat injuries and work in a lab.

Foundational classes will be in a traditional classroom setting, but as students advance through the program, they will begin working in a real-life clinical setting

“This is really very exciting,” said City Councilmember Cindy Bass. “When these students graduate they will be immediately eligible to enter the workforce and that’s huge. I’ve always been a friend to Mastery and I will continue to support their efforts in educating our young people. In Philly many of the jobs are in ‘eds and meds” but unfortunately that doesn’t always include people who look like me. Mastery can count on me as a resource.”

The program courses of study are for three years, starting in 10th grade and running until graduation in 12th grade. Dewey said that studies have shown that students who complete CTE classes have higher graduation and college completion rates than their peers.

“We retrofitted three spaces in the school for the CTE programs,” said Simon Gratz Principal Le’Yondo Dunn. “While in the process we reached out to the community to determine exactly what they saw as their children’s education needs. Ninety-seven percent of our families said ‘yes’ to this program.”

Marvis Mills, 15 has enrolled in the culinary arts program and said he’s truly enjoying what he’s learning from the head chef and being exposed to in terms of actual industry experience.”

“I’ve always been interested in cooking and this seemed like the perfect choice for me. I love this program,” he said. “The head chef seems to really understand what we’re trying to do here as it relates to real world experience. I’m confident that when complete these courses, I’ll be ready to pursue this as a career.”

Mastery Charter Schools and Mastery Schools of Camden form a nonprofit network of 24 schools in Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey serving more than 14,000 students in grades K-12.  Our mission is to ensure all students learn the academic and personal skills they need to be truly prepared for post-secondary success and able to pursue their dreams. Read more at