MaST Charter pays visit to Normandy residents

Source: MaST Community Charter School / Facebook

Normandy residents who attended last week’s civic association meeting heard from representatives of MaST Community Charter Schools and a member of Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Philadelphia Violent Gang Task Force.

MaST CEO John Swoyer gave remarks at the meeting about the school’s second and third locations and the application process.

“This past year we had 1,200 kids apply for 100 seats,” Swoyer said.

MaST III is still planned to be open next fall despite setbacks with attaining the property, which is the Crown Holdings (formerly Crown Cork & Seal) building, 12345 Roosevelt Blvd.,

Swoyer said the current plan is to share the building with Lannett Pharmaceutical. The site would be 41 acres, which Swoyer said would give access to fields and walkways for students.

“We’re dividing the building essentially into two,” Swoyer said. He said the location is Lannett’s corporate office and students would not be connected to that side of the building.

MaST at 1800 E. Byberry Road serves grades K-12 and is open to citywide enrollment. MaST II at 6238 Rising Sun Ave. and 6501 New State Road serves grades K-6 and 9 and is open to citywide enrollment. MaST III will serve grades K-8 for the 2019-2020 year. Half of the lottery seats, 450, will be given to families residing in the 19120, 19124, 19140 and 19141 ZIP codes. The other 450 seats will be given to citywide enrollment. The now-defunct SRC decided the lottery location divisions.

The schools are open to all students, including those with special needs. Swoyer said MaST students have a 20-percent special education student population, with over 200 students having special needs.

Enrollment ends Jan. 28. The lotteries will take place Jan. 31 for MaST II, Feb. 5 for MaST and Feb. 7 for MaST III. Families must be notified by Feb. 19. To apply, create an account at ApplyPhillyCharter.org and follow the instructions. Families can apply to all three schools with the same application.

Swoyer said they are projecting to add approximately 130 jobs between the second and third locations.

Later in the meeting, Sgt. Andy Callaghan addressed the residents about his 30 years of experience working on the police force, including 10 years working in the field of recovery. He also works part time at Livengrin Foundation, where he counsels individuals in recovery and with PTSD. Callaghan, who grew up in Morrell Park, said he’s seen the “face of addiction change dramatically” during his years of service.

 “When I was a young cop in narcotics it was mostly crack back then,” he said. He transferred to narcotics in 1992.

“When I went to stop and talk to someone who was arrested for drug possession back then, it was generally they were drinking or smoking pot, one of the gateway drugs, and they tried another drug they got addicted to like crack or heroin. Now, it’s totally changed. A lot of people who I stop with heroin addictions started with legitimate prescription. Part of the issue is education. They didn’t know what they were getting themselves into.”

Callaghan said some people get addicted and some don’t, and family history can be an indicator.

He encouraged neighbors to go online to PhillyPolice.com and submit a tip if they see anything suspicious.

In other news:

• Normandy is looking for volunteers for its town watch. Those interested can contact civic association president Michele Borbidge at NormandyCivic@gmail.com.

• Neighbors voted unanimously to support a zoning request at 2800 Nightingale Road to build a living space in the building’s preexisting carport. The footprint of the building did not change. ••