In the fall of 2017, I enrolled my daughter into public school at William Penn Elementary. Previously, she had been at a charter school and although I was excited about the change and believed it was the best thing for her and for the community at large, other members of the family had their doubts. They truly believed that a charter school education was superior and that my daughter was getting a better education with a more rigorous academic program. I believe that a child’s education is not just about the academic rigors that they endure, but also about the character they build over time with their peers. With this on my heart, I made the push to public school.
Truth be told, my daughter was not building character at the charter school. She was in a class with children very much like herself and I saw her choosing to be a follower. Although the other student behaviors she was following were not necessarily bad, it was evident to me there wasn’t opportunity for her to become a leader there, and to develop skills she would need to best navigate middle and high school life.
Enter, William Penn Elementary school. Within the first few months of my daughter enrolling in her new community school, she had been elected to a leadership role in her class. She is in a classroom with an amazing teacher (thank you Mr. Frank!) who models cooperation and collaboration and super fun learning opportunities with his teacher partner, (thank you Mrs. Shellhaas!). I can’t say enough about the kind and easy spirit that the principal of the school, Mr. Fontanez, brings to the school atmosphere. I know my daughter is in a place that challenges her, and provides opportunity for her to become her authentic self. At William Penn my daughter is becoming a leader, developing her creative and musical abilities (thank you, Mrs. Dennehy, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Rupnik ), building her physical strength through their running club, and being challenged academically. The math business project even gave her an opportunity to practice what a real-life interview is like! I know her ideas and personality are appreciated at William Penn and I am so happy she has found a place to grow and prepare for what is to come at Northeast, Liberty, and beyond.
One thing that sets William Penn apart from other schools is the community aspect. I know their community coordinator, Greer Hockemeier, puts a great deal of effort into providing fun activities for the families so that parents and children can stay connected even outside of the school walls. There is a true community atmosphere at William Penn and any child who has the opportunity to grow up there, I believe, will have an opportunity to develop and succeed in a safe, warm and super fun school!
submitted by Jaime B. – proud William Penn Elementary parent