Southwark Schoolyard Design Wins Community Design Award

From: cdesignc.org

Dragon Green Park—an imaginative design for a South Philadelphia green schoolyard inspired by the school’s mascot, a bright yellow dragon—is the winner of the Collaborative’s 2016 Community Design Award.

Jeff Goldstein, principal of DIGSAU and a member of the Collaborative Board of Directors, presented the award at the AIA Philadelphia Design Awards on October 19th. Over the past decade, he explained, “The Collaborative has provided 33 design grants for the design of schoolyards or school-related open space. Among the collection of inspiring schoolyard projects, Dragon Green Park was a standout for its design excellence.The intimate collection of elements – play structures, multi-use surfaces, rain gardens – that have come to define this project type, have been reinterpreted in a engaging and identifiable way that works at the civic scale. Everyone was blown away by the design. This project also exemplifies a true partnership between community and school.”

Since the Collaborative wrapped up Dragon Green Park, Southwark’s schoolyard has been chosen for implementation as part of Parks for People Philadelphia, a joint schoolyard greening initiative of The School District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Water Department, and the Trust for Public Land. Danielle Denk of the Trust for Public Land notes, “The work by the Collaborative showcased a commitment to schoolyard greening and elevated the selection of Southwark School as one of our next sites.”

Southwark Elementary School was also selected as one of nine community schools. These schools will receive extra resources to serve as hubs for social, health, and other services in their neighborhoods. The school’s new community liaison, Beth Dougherty of East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association, was instrumental in the Collaborative’s design and community engagement process for Dragon Green Park.

Please join EPX Civic – Friends of Southwark for our Paper Happy Hour! Paper is always in short supply at our Philly neighborhood schools, so bring a ream (or more) of paper for our wonderful teachers and staff. The first 30 people to bring a ream will get half-off their first drink thanks to Adobe’s generous owner. There will also be a chance to mix and mingle with Southwark teachers and staff.

Kids are welcome, and EPX Civic – FOS will provide kid-friendly drinks!

Paper Happy Hour

EPX Civic – Friends of Southwark (the new Ed Committee subcommittee) is hosting a happy hour on Tuesday, June 2nd from 5 to 7 at Watkins Drinkery. We will be on the second floor, kids are welcome (EPX-FOS will provide the juice boxes!), and all draft beers are half price.

Principal Lukov will be there, as well as some awesome Southwark teachers and staff. Come on out and learn more about all of the amazing things going on at your neighborhood school! Email education@epcrossing.org with any questions.

From Beth, EPX Eductation Committee Chair:

Southwark had a terrific visit from Mayor Nutter and Dr. Hite yesterday. They met with parents, teachers, and community partners, and toured several classrooms. They visited the kindergarten two-way immersion classroom, a sixth-grade classroom which was having a career day, and one of Southwark’s English Language Learner (ELL) classrooms. We discussed Principal Lukov’s innovative and ongoing use of community partners and the success of the TWI program, and heard from parents and teachers about Southwark’s successes and challenges.

It was quite an honor to be there and speak on behalf of the work the Education Committee is doing, and to hear from all of the other participants. The kids were so excited to have the Mayor there, and he was completely charmed by them. Our school is really something special, and if you haven’t had a chance to visit, stay on the lookout for an open house or two before the end of the year.

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In the holiday spirit, our wonderful new community partner Valley Green Bank is holding its 7th annual “Give the Gift of Reading” holiday book drive for kids from November 28 thru December 31, 2014. Southwark Elementary and Mastery Charter Thomas Elementary are the recipients of this year’s collection. The book drive encourages families to donate new or gently used children’s books, preschool through 8th grade. Please donate and spread the word!

Drop off boxes are at Valley Green Bank on the corner of Broad and Tasker, Satucci’s Pizza on the corner of 10th and Christian, and Vincenzo’s Deli at 1626 S. 9th St.

book-drive

Board Member and Education Committee Chair, Beth Dougherty, was just named one of only 25 “Difference Makers” in the South Philly Review! Congratulation Beth!

Click here to see it online.

Beth

Building booster

By Bill Chenevert

Beth Dougherty is another community member who’s putting a lot of time in a school building where she doesn’t even have a child. And, in a time of career transition, she just may have found her new passion. “This has become the most important social issue to me. I’ve always been a big supporter of public schools,” Dougherty, the Chair of the East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association’s Education Committee, said. She’s frustrated about the way public discourse slanders public school buildings and teachers and Southwark School, where her efforts tend to focus, is an example of the opposite of this unfounded notion.

“The public schools have this rotten reputation and that the teachers don’t care and that everyone’s apathetic,” she said, regrettably.

And she’s been in the building quite a bit lately and is more than willing to show neighborhood families that this is simply not the case.

“[Southwark] is really just an amazing place. The kids are amazing and it’s really kind of beautiful. Public schools really are places where kids want to learn and teachers want to teach them and the feeling is just really positive – you get a positive feeling when you walk into Southwark, and I will take anyone on a tour of the building at any time,” she said.

One of the things she’s most excited about is an incoming playground at Southwark for which the Community Design Collaborative has already whipped up plans. They’ve created “gorgeous renderings and then we’ll go out and start hustling to raise the money to fund the build,” she said, “it’s probably $1 million.” “There’s not really a park space in our neighborhood so we’re hoping that it’s going to be this amazing space – an outdoor learning space, gardens, a playground. We’re really hoping that the park can be open to the community,” she said, and noted that some neighbors have requested a walking track around the perimeter of the school.

The resident of the 1700 block of South 10th Street is a Temple Law grad who moved to Philly from New York City about 22 years ago.

“The reason I got involved at Southwark is this huge influx of younger couples in the neighborhood,” she said, and seemed excited to report that although the EPX educational efforts have focused on Southwark, “we’re now also starting to work with St. Anthony of Padua – we’re going to be holding a fundraiser later in the year to support their athletic program,” she said. But about Southwark, she’s inspired by its building leader, too: “We’re so lucky to have Andrew [Lukov] as a principal and he’s been so inclusive and amazing.”