Germantown may soon welcome a charter school dedicated to advancing educational achievement for Black and Brown boys.
Philadelphia Collegiate School is planning to open its second location in the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood. The school will be a sister institution to the Baltimore Collegiate School in Maryland.
Executive Director for the Baltimore School, Jack P. Pannell, said he opened his first school to address the low Black male graduation rate and lack of college-readiness.
“It basically came out of what I perceived was a profound need in our community,” Pannell said. “In any urban community in this country, when you look at the statistics that measure one’s success, it seemed to me that young Black males were at the bottom when I thought they deserved to be at the top.”
In 2012, three years before Pannell opened the Baltimore school, he found the city was only graduating 67 percent of Black males. While in Philadelphia, around 39 percent of Black students do not graduate on time, according to a 2019 city Health Assessment. Pannell said Baltimore and Philadelphia have similar problems that his school’s mission can help address.
The Collegiate School mission is to provide a liberal arts education to ensure that young boys become global citizens trained to learn, lead, and serve their community, nation, and world. Their curriculum focuses on an array of subjects, including literature ranging from Shakespeare to James Baldwin.
After five years in Baltimore, Pannell and his team wanted to expand the collegiate school. Several organizations in Germantown reached out to Pannell a year ago. Men Who Care was one of the organizations that admired the Baltimore School mission and invited Pannell to open a school in Philadelphia —and Germantown felt like a great fit.
“This type of school not only instills a sense of pride but also provides an avenue to remind them [Black and Brown boys] where we come from, which is greatness,” Clayton Justice of Men Who Care said. “A legacy that’s rich. It’s a legacy that is built on strength.”
Although the school’s prospective location is Germantown, it will accept applications citywide. Justice said he loved the collegiate school’s mission and curriculum catering to Black and Brown boys’ development and college readiness.
“I recognized that we can’t allow or rely upon institutions to raise Black boys in a way that they should be,” Justice said. “They have special needs, culturally, socially, and as well as you know, just a little different because of what they’re dealing with in terms of their home life and what they experienced in their community.”
Pannell also said their school plans to hire staff reflective of their students. For example, the Baltimore school’s team is composed mostly of Black men, making up more than 75 percent. In 2018, Kristen Graham of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that only “five percent of the Philadelphia School District teaching force is made up of black men”.
The school plans to submit their charter application in a few weeks and hopes to open for school year 2022. In the meantime, they are accepting applications for prospective students. If their charter application is approved, and a location in Germantown is confirmed, the school will enroll kindergarten, first and fourth grades.
To learn more about the Philadelphia Collegiate School, visit their website, Instagram, Facebook, or check out their prospective families form.