Why Pastorius Elementary
Francis D. Pastorius Elementary is considered a "turnaround school" located in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. What's a turnaround school you ask? It means the school has been targeted to improve student achievement due to severe low-performance in standard studies.
A stunning performance gap (approx. 30 percentage points) exists between low-income minority students and the State average on standardized tests. As a turnaround school, it's committed to eliminating this gap. Their goal is for at least 80% of students to achieve proficiency in writing, math, and reading.
We want to help them fulfill their mission that all students learn the academic and personal skills they need to succeed in higher education, compete in the global economy, and pursue their dreams. And they can't just do that with writing, math, and reading. So we wanted to give the students a "fighting chance" to compete today!
Chapter 1: Books on Creativity
In starting our project with Pastorius, you could feel the commitment this school has to their students achieving excellence. So imagine how depressing it was to walk into the school library and see no books on the shelves. When the School District of Philadelphia closed Pastorius, all the library books were moved to another site which left this turnaround school with a beautiful library and no books.
So the first step of our partnership had to be helping replenish their empty library with books. Our goal was to target books that focused on creativity. These would be books that presented the students information on art, creative thinking, music, problem solving and amazingly creative stories.
On May 8th, 2014 we delivered $500 worth of books to the school and filled a section of their library with them. It was a small gesture to demonstrate our commitment to the success of these students. But seeing their faces light up with excitement to read was a joy we will hold dear to our hearts.
Chapter 2: Odyssey of the Mind
The next chapter of our project with Pastorius Elementary is to help them participate in Odyssey of the Mind, an international program that encourages students to apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics.
Our plan is to send 10 teams from Pastorius Elementary. The cost to sponsor one team consisting of five students is approximately $1,000. This will cover the cost to participate at the local and national levels.
We believe that Odyssey of the Mind is an experience like none other. It teaches students about teamwork, examining the problem and identifying the real challenge (without limiting the possible solutions), and nurturing the creative-thinking process as a problem-solving tool.
Pastorius Students in Action
To get acclimated to the Odyssey of the Mind way, the students work on a critical thinking project after school. The team is working on creating a 3D marshmallow toothpick sculpture. The sculpture is to include the shapes of tetrahedrons and octahedrons.
We can't help make this happen for these kids without your help. We have to reach a goal of $10,000 - so every little bit helps. If you can't donate money, it would be a huge help if you tell a friend, share a post, tweet about the cause or however you would like to help us spread the word.