Students in action at A. B. Day School

While the look and feel of the forthcoming school year remains uncertain, one thing in Mt. Airy is always certain: its pride in, and connection to, its public schools. The Mt. Airy Schools Coalition, a collaborative effort between Mt. Airy CDC, East Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN), West Mt. Airy Neighbors (WMAN), and the principals of six Northwest Philadelphia public schools, has put that connection and community pride on display in a new series of short films highlighting each school. 

The videos each run about 10 minutes and feature not only interviews with principals, but also teachers, students, parents, and staff to provide a thorough picture about how each school works. Beginning July 27th and leading up to the first day of school on August 31st, one video will premiere every Monday on the Go Mt. Airy Facebook page, running in alphabetical order:

High fives at Emlen

Funded by a grant from the EMAN Community Fund, the videos were produced by Mt. Airy-based Green District Media, whose founder and president Cobbina Frempong also has a daughter enrolled at one of the schools. 

“Putting this series of videos together not only pulls the curtain back on the collaborative work of the Mt. Airy Schools Coalition, but it gives a moment in the spotlight to each of our six public schools and the people who make them work,” said Brad Copeland, Executive Director of Mt. Airy CDC, the lead partner of the Coalition. 

Gary King, Mt. Airy CDC’s Schools & Literacy Coordinator — and father of two children attending one of the schools — elaborates: “There’s this negative narrative about Philly public schools that leads a lot of parents and families to reflexively seek out private, parochial, or charter options for their children’s education,” he said. “This video series was designed to combat mistaken and lingering assumptions people have about their local public schools, and instead highlight the best of what they offer.” 

EMAN Grants Committee Chair Margaret Salamon agrees: “These videos are an important effort to promote our local public schools as a good choice for ALL of our children,” she said. “Quality integrated schools are necessary and need to be an essential part of our community’s commitment to anti-racism and equity.”

EMAN President Tonyelle Cook-Artis sees the schools’ work as a rock during this uncertain time. “We don’t know what the upcoming school year will look like during this pandemic, but our schools’ principals and teachers are showing us the outstanding work that continues to take place in spite of the challenges facing them,” she said.

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