George Washington named ‘community school’

The school, one of the most diverse in the city, is the tenth to be designated as a community school.

George Washington High School is one of the School District of Philadelphia’s newest “community schools.”

Officials from the Mayor’s Office of Education last month announced the designation of Washington High in Somerton along with Samuel Gompers School in Wynnefield as the city’s 10th and 11th community schools. The city hopes to transform 25 public schools into community schools by 2020. Washington and Gompers were among 24 schools that applied for community designation during a recently completed round of evaluations.

Each community school is assigned a full-time coordinator who engages with students, parents, teachers, administrators, service providers and neighbors to identify the community’s most-pressing needs. The coordinator works with service providers and city agencies to bring targeted resources directly into the school. The goal is to address students’ non-academic barriers to learning, increase community engagement and support the neighborhood through needed services.

Washington is one of the most diverse schools in the city, according to Director of Community Schools Susan Gobreski.

“Students there come from over 45 countries. And as a city that values the contributions of immigrants we are eager to connect the school’s students and community members with greater city resources and opportunities,” Gobreski said.

Previously, the city designated the first nine community schools in July 2016. During the ensuing year, the initiative distributed 7,000 pounds of fresh and nutritious food to students and families at Edward Gideon School, while it offered new internship opportunities for students at Dobbins Tech School, Kensington Health Sciences Academy and South Philadelphia High School.

Philadelphia’s sweetened beverage tax funds the community schools program.

At Washington, 16.5 percent of students are English language learners. There is a need in the neighborhood for more adult English classes, according to the Mayor’s Office of Education. Washington has three career and technical education programs as well as an international baccalaureate program. The school is several miles from the nearest health center and the nearest BenePhilly site where low-income people can apply for public benefits. ••