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Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School
Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School (PPACS) is the only elementary performing arts school with in the School District of Philadelphia. Located in South Philadelphia, PPACS enrolls students in Kindergarten through eighth grade from diverse backgrounds and many Philadelphia neighborhoods. Currently 1,200 students attend the elementary school, including approximately 71% Caucasian, 16% African American, 5% Asian/Pacific Islander, 4% Hispanic, and 5% other ethnicities. There are six different languages spoken at the school. Approximately 49% of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch. The elementary school is housed in two buildings, an East and West campus, both on South Broad Street, two blocks apart. Students in Kindergarten through second grade attend classes at the East campus and range in age from five to eight years old. Students in third grade through eighth grade attend classes at the West campus and range in age from eight to thirteen years old. Although the school is split between two buildings due high enrollment, it functions as one entity, sharing administration and several arts specialty teachers. There is continuous collaboration on performances and projects between grades and the two buildings as well as a shared concern for the environment.
PPACS' environmental goal is to start recycling in every room in both school buildings. Our proposed Green Project is to purchase recycling containers for each classroom, studio, office, and cafeteria. Wheeled collection bins would also be purchased for each floor, three in the West building and two in the East, for daily consolidation of recyclables. Student volunteers will be responsible for daily collection of classroom/office containers and consolidation of the recyclables in the larger bins. PPACS staff will transport the wheeled bins curbside and coordinate with the Philadelphia Streets Department for collection of the recyclables. Our Green Project also includes an allotment for recycling education which will include qualified parent, teacher, and student volunteer presentations, collaboration with community or organizations like Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, and classroom and take home informational material. The recycling program will provide teachers with opportunities for hands on reinforcement of grade level curriculum and additional projects to bring science and civic topics to life. The success of the program will be quantified by estimating the weekly volume of material recycled by both buildings. The progress and success will be conveyed to the student body and their families in the weekly communication memo and to the community with press releases to local news outlets. The Project would also include an Earth Day event for students and their families which would showcase the recycling program as well as recycling projects/experiments and “reuse” art. Installations and activities would occur concurrently in both buildings and involve all grades. Our Green Project was student initiated and its success will empower not only the students with the vision to get it started, but also all those enabled to participate in making our school and greater environment better. Classroom collection of recyclables will also allow for students to show caring and leadership by encouraging each other to recycle. Students will gain knowledge that they can share with family and friends outside of school, not only benefiting the environment, but developing confidence and self worth.