More success stories

Faculty at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, PA found their scholarship students often struggled. "Many were coming with gaps the folks at GA just couldn't close," says Eric Jones, Head of School at Community Partnership School. "We all wanted them to achieve and thrive." So Germantown Academy board member Keith Williams worked with Head of School Jim Connor and other guiding forces to create a solution: a small school begun in cooperation with Project H.O.M.E., an established social service non-profit based in North Philadelphia, to close those gaps. This year the Community Partnership School has 85 students in pre-K through fifth grades.

Todd Eckerson had an idea. He loved his work as Dean of Faculty at the Westminster School in Simsbury, CT, but worried about the kids across town at Hartford High, where the graduation rate hovered around 25 percent. He convinced his private school to lend him out to the public school two afternoons a week. He walks the halls of Hartford High and holds "one-minute meetings" with kids at risk. He sends tutors to football team study halls before their practices. "I didn't have the money to copy something like Prep for Prep. But I figured out something else that worked." The motto for the Crossroads Cooperative Learning Program is, "Plan to Graduate. Graduate with a Plan."

The innovative James Center for Public Purpose at Garrison Forest School in Owings Mills, MD, is an initiative made possible by a first-of-its-kind major grant from the E.E. Ford Foundation, matched by an alumna. Clustering existing programs and partnerships between Garrison Forest and several public schools, non-profits and John Hopkins University, the James Center provides an excellent model for schools deepening their public purpose commitments. "Today these programs must be embedded in what's happening in the school, throughout the curriculum," says Whitty Ransome, Director of the James Center. "It must be a complete two-way flow of people, ideas and initiatives, in many ways eliminating the campus boundaries."

William Penn Charter School has had active K-12 partnerships for the past decade with eight Philadelphia public schools, including the city's only public school for the physically disabled, a new charter school that focuses on the environment, and a bi-lingual school in north Philadelphia.

Lick Wilmerding High School's Center for Civic Engagement was created to "leverage the school community's knowledge, networks and resources to benefit the common good." Among the school's programs are one that was developed 20 years ago by faculty at the school: Aim High gives urban middle school students "a summer of high quality learning in an environment that promotes education as a way to unlock the future… a program…where it's safe for kids to learn, make new friends, take risks and try new things… Aim High has expanded from one campus to 12, from 50 students and 12 teachers to over 1200 students and 100 teachers. The program has become a pipeline for developing young teachers by giving them an opportunity for hands-on experience while working with a master teacher.

Crossroads School in Santa Monica, CA, is a longstanding leader in public purpose ventures. Among its successes: a small arts program for public school students that now has its own foundation and reaches thousands of students every year. More recently, it gathered several local schools in partnership to produce an exemplary science program for a poorly funded parochial school, and then for local public schools.


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