Inquiry Schools Partners for New Middle School

Inquiry Schools is pleased to announce the founding of a new learning environment: Science Leadership Academy Middle School (SLAMS).

The school is being founded in partnership with Drexel University and the School District of Philadelphia and will serve as a feeder middle school for Samuel Powel Elementary, serving the Powelton Village, West Powelton, and Mantua neighborhoods.

SLA Principal Lehmann is excited about the ongoing work with a university partner.

“Drexel has a deep commitment to its neighborhood, and believes in being a good neighbor,” he explained. “Bringing the resources and expertise to of Drexel for public schools will be a win for everyone — the students in this school, and the teachers and students at Drexel who will be able to bring their own knowledge and skills to the table.”

The first employee of the school will be the principal, who will spend a year in an “incubation phase” before the school opens.

According to Lehmann, during that year, the founding principal will “go through a deep dive learning process of the inquiry model, spend time both at SLA and the other inquiry schools in Philadelphia, spend time at Powel elementary to understand the community that will be feeding into SLAMS.”

SLAMS will then open in the Fall of 2016 in a temporary space to be announced. A new, permanent home for the school is currently being built at 38th and Lancaster, where Powel Elementary and SLAMS will co-locate.

Inquiry Schools already has the full K-through-12 continuum of education covered in the portfolio that they work with. Their consultants work with several middle schools based in Henry County, Georgia, and are also assisting Chester Arthur Elementary School in South Philadelphia as they participate in the School Redesign Initiative.

Because it is an entirely new program, Inquiry Schools will play a vital role in both the planning and implementation of SLAMS. The founding principal will work with the Inquiry Schools consulting team to flesh out the plan that has been written, from a planning document into a real curriculum.

The team will also coordinate with the principal to create a hiring plan, a curricular map, and a schedule that will enable the student learning in a project-based school to thrive.

This careful, comprehensive process is designed to ensure the sustainability of a new and growing school.

“SLAMS has been in the planning phase for the last two years,” explained Lehmann. “We look forward to the incubation phase in the next year, and we look forward to a long and productive relationship with Drexel and SDP so that the new school can flourish.”