It’s a Philadelphia School District school, with union teachers and staff, but run by an outside education company. The Philadelphia Housing Authority — which bought the Vaux building at 23rd and Master from the school system — gives the district an extra $500 per student annually. Health services, workforce development, and community organizations are embedded into the school.
“You’re pretty much guaranteed that it’s going to be successful,” then-U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson said on the school’s first day, as a foyer full of students, teachers, and dignitaries looked on.
How did Carson’s bold prediction for a school in one of the most poverty-stricken corners of America’s poorest big city hold up?
This month, 90 young men and women graduated — out of 102 seniors and 126 students who began the program. Forty-two percent of the graduating class is headed to college, a trade school, or an internship, and 84% had internships during their time at the school. Others are headed to the military, union jobs, or other full-time work.
But more significant to new graduate Enya Sultan, Vaux helped her find her voice and a sense of community.
She loved learning through projects, having abundant out-of-school opportunities and a single advisory all four years. Advisory is