City celebrates "PHLpreK Day of Play"

Approximately 1,000 PHLpreK students, families and providers participated in an event May 17 to celebrate the end of the school year.

PHLpreK, a free, quality pre-K program funded by the city's sweetened beverage tax, has served over 4,000 students and their families and is expected to expand to 3,000 seats next school year. The program launched in 2017.

Families can enroll in preK for the 2019-2020 school year beginning in June by going online to or calling (844) PHL-PREK.

Gesu School celebrates 25 years 

The Gesu School hosted an Anniversary Gesu Gala on May 9 in celebration of its 25 years of service.

The Gesu School is an independent Catholic elementary school in North Philadelphia.

The theme for the event was "Our Legacy, Our Future," celebrating all who have shaped the Gesu community for nearly 150 years and sharing aspirations for future generations.

The evening included speeches by Gesu alumni, a performance by the Gesu Gospel Choir and the presentation of the Gesu Spirit Medal to Winston J. Churchill in recognition of his work as the founding chairman of the school's board of directors from 1993 to 2009.

Churchill introduced two major campaigns, the Building for Tomorrow Campaign and the Millennium Campaign, the largest in the school's history. Churchill and his wife, Ellen, are still dedicated to Gesu through the Sponsor a Child program, supporting numerous students' education.

EducationWorks honors Mike Pearson

EducationWorks, a nonprofit provider of in-school and out-of-school programming, personal development and career training activities for students in Philadelphia and Camden, honored Mike Pearson, the founder, president and CEO of Union Packaging, during an emPOWer benefit themed "Infinite Synergy" on May 22 at the Filter Club. 

Pearson was honored as a model for EducationWorks and its students. Both Pearson and EducationWorks CEO Miles Wilson aim to push the conversation in education and youth development toward creating new learning experiences, discovering each student's passion, and fostering an entrepreneurial spirit that will ultimately empower them in finding meaningful careers.

Legislator seeks to change school funding formula

State Rep. Chris Rabb (D-Philadelphia) has introduced legislation to change the state's public school funding formula.

"I am leading the charge to require all state public school funds to be distributed through a fair funding formula to certify our kids have the resources and tools needed to give them the best chance at success," Rabb said in a statement.

Rabb introduced House Bill 961, which would require that 100% of state funds are distributed through this formula effective immediately, acknowledging that significantly more funding is required to ensure that each school district has enough resources to educate its students.

According to Rabb, while the Basic Education Funding Commission agreed to provide all funding to public schools through the fair funding formula it developed, only 9% of state funds in 2018-2019 is being distributed to schools through the formula. The bill has been referred to the Education Committee.

Papa John's partners with Boys and Girls Club for service 

Papa John's International and the Papa John's Foundation for Building Community, in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, launched their first Day of Service. Franchise owners and staff visited the Shane Victorino Nicetown Boys and Girls Club in Philadelphia and gave students a pizza party.

— Compiled by Ryanne Persinger

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