3698 North Randolph Street
Philadelphia, PA 19140
The Educational Challenge:
The current educational disparity among schools is a growing challenge. In the suburbs we have well equipped schools with impressive programs and adequate supplies. By comparison, many Philadelphia Schools suffer from understaffing, lack of supplies for daily teaching and poor maintenance of aging buildings. Every child in our five-county region should have the same opportunity for a quality education. This is a social justice issue. Contained herein, you will find current information on this issue followed by the story of one school in need of economic and larger community support. Our hope is that you will become an advocate for the students and teachers of this particular school by making a gift—from time to time—of much needed supplies. It is also our hope that these endeavors will lead to the formation of true relationships between our suburban faith communities and our urban schools. Through investment and commitment, change will happen.
“But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’
Show me your faith without works, and I by my works will show you my faith.”
- James 2:18
The Suburban Advocacy Program, in collaboration with David Laver, the principal of the Bayard Taylor Elementary School, has identified needed items for the school that can be reasonably provided by the faith communities of the suburbs. It is hoped that these efforts will lead to continuing, mutually encouraging and supportive relationships. The goal is to build bridges that will lead to change for our urban schools and transformational ministry in our suburban faith communities. Furthermore, financial gifts to the schools not only help the students, but also encourage the teachers in the knowledge that people in the larger community appreciate, and want to support, their good work.
What People Are Saying:
“Education will not improve until our citizens recognize the fundamental need for quality education for every child and demand that our governments at the local, state and federal levels all participate in the creation of a fully funded educational program”
— Wendell Pritchett, J.D., Ph.D.
Interim Dean & Presidential Professor
University of Pennsylvania Law School
Former Member, Philadelphia School Reform Commission
“I have been a school nurse for 14 years and, prior to the nursing layoffs, always had one very busy school of approximately 600 students in my care. I now have two schools (Bayard Taylor and Ethan Allen Elementary School) that I serve with a total of 1400 students. I no longer am able to screen every child for vision, hearing and nutritional problems being at Bayard Taylor only two days a week”
— Maryann Schickling, RN.
School Nurse, Bayard Taylor Elementary School
“My students weren’t able to make progress this year.”
— Maria Ciancetta
Teacher, Bayard Taylor Elementary School
Like many district teachers, Ms. Ciancetta uses her own money to purchase basic supplies for her students because of district budget cuts.
“If we want our democracy to flourish, then we must have educated citizens. Unless the plight of underfunded schools across our nation is rectified our democratic system will never fully represent all our citizens. All students in our communities deserve access to an education that affords them the opporturnity to develop their talents and became thoughtful, well-informed citizens”
— Alice Reyes
Former Principal, Bayard Taylor Elementary School
About Bayard Taylor Elementary School:
The Bayard Taylor Elementary School is located in the Hunting Park section of North Philadelphia on Randolph Street between West Erie Ave. and West Venango St. It has approximately 600 students in grades K-5. The students are 76% Hispanic and 19% African-American. Ninety-five percent of the school’s families are economically disadvantaged. Seventy-five percent of the students are considered English Language Learners and 9% are in need of special education services.
Here are a few comparisons between this particular school’s community and the suburbs of Montgomery County:
Median Household Income
Hunting Park: $21,889
Montgomery County: $78,984
Median Value of Owner Occupied Home
Hunting Park: $48,893
Montgomery County: $296,000
Primarily English Speaking Households
Hunting Park: 48% (50% speak Spanish)
Throughout Pennsylvania: 94%
In and of itself, speaking another language at home is a gift; however, when schools are not equipped to serve this type of need, the chances for success in learning to speak, read and write English are diminished—and so are a child’s chances to make academic progress.
How Can You Help?
By giving money…
On any given day, the faculty and staff of Bayard Taylor Elementary School need basic supplies in order to help the children learn. The cost of these supplies often come out of the pockets of the teachers themselves. Just to give an idea of these expenses:
Pencils — $3.79 per dozen
Construction Paper — $1.49 per 50 sheets
Crayons — $79.99 per classroom set (800)
Glue Sticks — $5.69 per dozen
Organizing Bins –- $14.47 each
Dry Erase Black Markers — $13.99 per dozen
Dry Erase Board Erasers — $2.69 each
Your financial contributions will help meet this need.
We are not able to process nor deliver actual contributions
of classroom supplies in a cost effective manner.
Therefore, we are only able to accept and forward monetary gifts.
Checks can be sent to:
Boehm’s United Church of Christ
571 Penllyn-Blue Bell Pike
Blue Bell, PA 19422
Please make checks payable to:
“Bayard Taylor Elementary”
in the memo line.
The commitment of the Suburban Advocacy Program is that 100% of the money contributed will go directly to Bayard Taylor Elementary. By giving your financial donations directly to Boehm’s Church, overhead costs can be eliminated.
By staying connected…
And let us know who you are by joining our email distribution list. In turn, we will provide you with periodic updates about what is happening at Bayard Taylor Elementary and how your contributions are making a difference.
By speaking up…
Bringing equity to our urban schools, whether in Philadelphia, Reading or elsewhere, requires a faith-filled commitment to speak up! Let your voice be heard by those at all levels of government that quality, well-funded schools are a priority for everyone.
By sharing the idea...
There are hundreds of underfunded schools in Southeastern Pennsylvania. If they are not already doing so, please consider asking your church, synagogue or other faith community to advocate for a specific school in need. Should they need help in identifying and reaching out to a particular school, the Suburban Advocacy Program would be glad to help.