Support the MaST III Application - 2,600 New Seats for Philadelphia Students

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MaST III Application - Petition to support MaST III - 2600 new, high quality seats for the children in Philadelphia with a priority focus on under-served zip codes in Philadelphia. (Watch the Video)

Considering the push for change in the educational landscape of Philadelphia, the MaST III application and MaST’s current schools echo Mayor Kenney’s visions for educational options that serve all Philadelphia children. While speaking at MaST’s Blue Ribbon Ceremony, Mayor Kenney stated, “When I talk about ensuring that there are great schools in every neighborhood so that all child can learn, MaST is one of the schools I think about.” He went on to say “I know MaST offers a great example of what we stand to gain from continuing to invest in Philadelphia students and their schools.” The Mayor continued, “While we look to the future, I am glad to know that MaST will continue to provide an innovative and excellent education and expand to new neighborhoods and new buildings. I am encouraged that we can replicate this in every neighborhood in our city.” (Mayor Kenney’s speech at MaST’s Blue Ribbon Ceremony (

MaST III is a replication charter of the flagship model (MaST on Byberry Road), a school that has diverse experience in running charter schools in two parts of the city. MaST Community Charter School is a school that has been operating for eighteen years with experienced management. MaST was highlighted as one of two Philadelphia 2017 National Blue Ribbon Schools, was names a Title I Distinguished School for High Achievement for multiple years, is the only P21 Exemplar School recognized out of public and charters in Philadelphia, and is a school model with over 10,000 student applications for children all over Philadelphia. The MaST team has already been approved to replicate this same model in the form of MaST II, which was approved in 2015. The SRC has also recently approved an amendment for an application with the same focus on student growth for Byberry for one hundred-fifty students. While MaST is grateful for the growth opportunities, there are still thousands of families who do not get to experience a MaST education. With its current wait list, MaST could easily have asked for seven additional charter schools and filled those schools. Approving MaST III isn’t going to fix the educational climate in Philadelphia, but it would be a step in the right direction towards creating high performing options and building up neighborhoods.

MaST and MaST II have had strong performance, have been recognized as model schools, and serve over seven hundred and fifty low-income children in Philadelphia, with a special education average of 14%. MaST has also been willing to share best practices like lottery management and innovative educational practices with the charter office and district schools. MaST III is requesting 2,600 new seats which is only roughly twenty-five percent of what applies each year to MaST schools.

MaST II, which was already approved by the SRC with a similar application two years ago, has been recognized in its second year as a “model” school under the SPR district evaluation system. MaST II has students from all over the city traveling to Lawncrest on District buses. It currently serves roughly fifty-nine percent poverty in a diverse environment, has a full-time ELL program, and offers a unique STREAM curriculum model that has been highlighted nationally.

MaST believes that every child no matter the race, socioeconomic status, gender or religious preference deserves access to high quality education. The MaST team for the MaST III application has over eighteen years experience running charter schools. MaST has seen its number of applications increase from 1,800 in 2011 to currently over 10,000 applications this past year. MaST and MaST II serve over forty-one and fifty-nine percent low income; both Title I schools. MaST was named a Title I Distinguished School for High Achievement. MaST was named a Blue Ribbon School and recognized by Secretary DeVos and Secretary Rivera on a National level as schools that should be modeled after by example. MaST II - Will potentially come out in the new SPR as a “model” School. MaST@Crown Way model would be one of the most diversified in the city because it would be an open lottery of more than forty Philadelphia zip codes. We have more applications for our model empty building for a school that doesn’t exist than many charter schools that are open today with waiting lists.

In the past few years, the MaST model has been highlighted by not only the state of Pennsylvania, the Secretary of Education, School District of Philadelphia, but by several outside organizations including: national organizations, STEM organizations, colleges and universities, important vendors and partners , the media, and most importantly, families year in and year out who apply for our lottery. These families come and sit in our multi-purpose room with the cameras rolling with a less than one percent chance to get into our school (Article on Lottery: MaST was named a P21 exemplar school for best practices in 21st Century Learning, an Apple Distinguished Program for its one-to-one program, and a Title I Distinguished School for High Achievement.

Jim Gardner’s tweet said it best, "It is harder to get into MaST Charter School than it is Harvard!" Is that really the message that we want to send to families about education options in Philadelphia? We have some great schools, but the best ones families will never get into. Our collective goal needs to focus on how to keep families in the city of Philadelphia and that starts with educational options. This is an opportunity for the SRC to begin to create those options and work towards a solution to bring together charter and district options.

Finally, MaST is a model for other Philadelphia schools and supports the Mayor’s educational initiatives in Philadelphia. Why wouldn’t you want to expand a school model that has a clear academic track record of success, demand to replicate seven times over, represents over forty zip codes, and has offered to be a partner with the city and District in growing the educational options for all students?

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