Approximately 100 YouthBuild Philadelphia Charter School students graduated on Aug. 25 during a ceremony held at Zion Baptist Church, 3600 N. Broad St.

The graduates, once high school dropouts, reclaimed their education by returning to school at YouthBuild and learning through rigorous academics, hands-on vocational training and community service. The commencement address was delivered by Otis Hackney, the chief education officer for the city.

YouthBuild Philadelphia is an alternative education program that blends rigorous academic curriculum with at least 300 hours of community service and on-the-job training. Once students earn their diplomas, they can transition to full-time jobs and post secondary educational programs. For more information about YouthBuild, visit

Lyft drivers hosted school supplies drive

Approximately 45 Philadelphia Lyft drivers hosted a school supply drive for Robert E. Lumberton School, 7501 Woodbine Ave.

They collected the supplies for kids getting ready to get back to school. A Lyft driver delivered the supplies to Principal Pamela Redmond during a Back-to-School Block party on Aug. 31.

Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School

Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School will celebrate their first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 5 with Fox 29 television personality Quincy Harris.

Harris and other community leaders will welcome the students back to school and try the show the positive impact that male role models can have in a child’s life. The day begins at 8 a.m. at the school located at 7101 Paschall Ave. and is inspired by events organized by the 100 Black Men off Philadelphia.

“We believe that what our students see is what they will one day be,” said Leigh Purnell, the principal of SLA, in a statement. “We teach our students to be respectful and responsible and it is important to see these traits reflected in successful male role models who are a part of the community that surrounds our school.”

Harris, the host of the “The Q,” will join other invited guests that include local police and fireman and businessmen. The school curriculum at SLA focuses on leadership, mentoring K-8 students and preparing them for life in high school and beyond.

Artist PnB rock to visit Discovery Charter School

Recording artist PnB Rock will visit Discovery Charter School, 4700 Parkside Ave., on the first day of school at 8 a.m. on Sept. 5. PnB Rock will join 100 other men who will be dressed for work.

The goal is to allow students to see positive role models in the community who are prepared to go to work and contribute to society in a positive way.

“We have invited strong male role models from a variety of backgrounds to celebrate the first day of school with our scholars,” said Bilal Bey, the director off Climate Control for the school, in a statement. “So many children in Philadelphia are missing a positive male role model in the home. For our scholars to see 100 men who believe in them and support them in their own community is a truly inspirational moment.”

School district launches teaching video

The School District of Philadelphia hosted its Exemplary Teaching Video Library Launce celebration on Aug. 30.

The video, made by the SDP’s Office of Teaching and Learning, created the video during the 2016-17 school year and is a professional development tool of 80 vendors and counting, that is accessible to all teachers, principals and central office staff.

According to the district, the video provides educators with concrete examples, featuring district teachers, of best practices in the context of the district and includes guiding questions to help frame a coaching conversation.

District collaboration for music production

The SDP’s Philadelphia Schools TV (PSTV) Studios and DASH (Destined to Achieve Successful Heights) partnered for a programming opportunity through a grant from StartupPHL.

The program begins in the fall and will provide hands-on training to a select cohort of students through instructors, including DASH founders Jerome Hipps and Michael McArthur, Grammy nominated songwriter Kristal Oliver, Grammy nominated producer Ivan Barias and President of the Philadelphia Chapter of NARAS, Carol Riddick.

MaST Community Charter Seniors start final year

MaST Community Charter School will enter their last year of high school and last year at Community College of Philadelphia when they return to school on Sept. 6.

MaST students are the first class to graduate under a dual enrollment program created through a partnership between CCP two years ago. The high school students entered the dual enrollment program their sophomore years, taking a combination of high school and college coursework.

Students are scheduled to graduate in May 2018 with 60 credit hours and their an associate in arts degree in business.

State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas awards students

State Rep. W. Curtis Thomas (D-Phila.) honored 24 students from schools in the 181st legislative district during his 27th annual State Representative Awards.

“These students have achieved academic excellence, which is all the more impressive because some of them have had to deal with violence, economic deprivation, homelessness or drugs in their community,” said Thomas in a statement.

Local businesses helped fund the scholarships. The elementary and middle school graduates were awarded $100 each and the high school graduates were awarded $250 each.

The honorees include the following high school students: Danielle Rice from Dobbins High School; Tiana Pindle, Philadelphia Military Academy; Natalia Tavares, George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science; KyRay King from Bodine High School of International Affairs and Robin Son from Parkway Center City High School.

Middle school students include: Alyssa Onley from YES Philly, Julio Abadia Ortiz, Anisa Davis from James R. Ludlow School; Kaylana Lisby from the Alliance for Progress Charter School; Jim Pares from Potter Thomas Promise Academy; Ashely Davis from General Philip Kearny School; Madisyn Cook from LaSalle Parochial School; Tymair Rasheem Yisrael from Hope Partnership for Education; Firdaws Mudbi, Al-Aqsa Islamic Academy; Emmanuel Nwalipenja from Gesu Parochial School; Adrian Mondragon from John R. Hartranft School; Camiyah Hill from Dunbar Promise Academy; Sean Harris of General Meade Elementary; Nadira Thomas of Tanner Duckrey School, Da’Vion Coleman of KIPP Charter School; Kionna Melvin of Spring Garden School and Markeema Hill of St. Malachy Parochial School.

Daniel Beqiri of John Moffet Elementary School was awarded with the scholarship from the elementary school.

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