Ballengee Joins in Support for Public School Partner
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission (SRC) Thursday spared four schools that had been scheduled for closure, including Bayard Taylor Elementary School, an elementary school with which Penn Charter has a long-standing service partnership.
PC Director of Service Learning Jim Ballengee gave testimony on behalf of Taylor School, as did six other Taylor supporters. Taylor, located at 3698 N. Randolph Street in Hunting Park, is a K-5 school serving about 625, many of them Latino.
Ballengee explained that he has come to know Taylor over the 18 years that Taylor and Penn Charter have engaged together in service learning projects (photo above). “When Penn Charter visits Taylor (and vice versa) we see an engaged and inspiring student body, teachers and administration,” he said.
The Taylor/Penn Charter partnership has its roots more than 300 years ago in William Penn’s vision “to integrate a host of different ethnic and religious groups into a pluralistic society characterized by responsible citizenship and brotherly love.”
Not only has Taylor been an integral part of Penn Charter’s service learning program, but it is at the heart of a new group called the Allegheny West Consortium, Ballengee said. The consortium has worked in the past year with Taylor, St. James School, Logan Hope School and Temple University with a mission of sharing resources and plans for helping young people lead productive and purposeful lives. “Taylor is a critical partner in insuring the value of this partnership which may serve as a model for future collaboration between all schools in the city,” Ballengee said.
When the decision of the SRC was announced, Taylor supporters were elated. But the SRC did vote to close 23 other public schools. "The elation over Taylor being taken off the chopping block was tempered by the sadness in the room over the fate of so many other schools," Ballengee said.