Philly’s James Logan School: A community school that makes a difference in students’ lives

‘Logan is a good school,’ fifth-grader Eshan Solomon said. ‘They help the community through the different events and programs we have’

By: - April 19, 2023 6:30 am

The exterior of the James Logan School in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Tribune photo).

By Chanel Hill

PHILADELPHIA — In 2016, the James Logan School at 1700 Lindley Ave., was a part of the first cohort of schools to be designated a community school through the Mayor’s Office of Education.

Several years later, the Pre-K-5 school with nearly 235 students continues to make a difference in the lives of its students, families and community.

Students walking the halls of James Logan School (Philadelphia Tribune photo).

“Logan is a good school,” fifth-grader Eshan Solomon said. “They help the community through the different events and programs we have. The teachers and staff really care about the students. This school also makes sure that we have everything we need in the classroom and out.”

Solomon, who participates in football, basketball and Education Works, a program that focuses on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), entrepreneurship and social and emotional wellness, said he enjoys the activities that Logan offers.

“In Education Works, we do a lot of different things,” Solomon said. “We do arts and crafts, play games and go to the gym. We have older students who help us with our homework. They also mentor us. It’s a good program and I really like being a part of it.”

As a community school, Logan collaborates with the City of Philadelphia, the School District of Philadelphia and community-based organizations.

A full-time community coordinator works with the school and its surrounding neighborhood to address specific needs of students and their families. There are currently 20 city-designated community schools that serve 13,000 students.

Eli Prosper is the current community schools coordinator at Logan. He is the third community school coordinator the school has had.

“The school had Ms. Butler and Mr. Washington, who is currently our climate manager at the school,” Prosper said. “Mr. Washington knows everyone’s family and everyone in the community. He has a program called Bringing Everybody Together (BET) that is a safety blanket for this community, but also this school as it provides extra resources.

“Every summer he has BET basketball events where everybody in the community is involved,” he said. “It gives kids a safe place to play and teaches them the fundamentals of basketball. He also has a chess club and works at the local library.

“He’s been in the community for 25 years. A lot of the success we have had at Logan wouldn’t be possible without him, the staff, teachers, the school’s former principal [Chuanika Sanders-Thomas], our current principal Matthew Grill and assistant principal Kia Brady. It’s an honor to work alongside all of them and continue to move this school forward with the work that we have been doing,” he added.

Logan starts every day with an inclusive welcome. The staff embraces the students with a high five and a smile to ensure students start their day feeling loved. Students also recite the creed and the Logan pledge every morning to connect with one another.

“At the end of each day, our secretary ends our time with this phrase, ‘If no one hasn’t told you today, we love you here at Logan Elementary School,’” Prosper said.

Working on a project at James Logan School (Philadelphia Tribune photo).

“There are multiple teams and safety nets in place for students to feel included each and every day,” he said. “There are monthly town halls, and access to our paraprofessionals, counselors and STEP team. The Logan Life team provides monthly incentives for students who exhibit positive behavior traits to practice CPRK.

“At several points throughout the year, the school shares a survey with students to see how safe and loved they feel. The entire staff at Logan pitches in to ensure all students have a champion beside them to support their academic and social-emotional learning,” he added.

Throughout the year, Logan hosts a plethora of events and activities for its students and families throughout the year. Last month, the school hosted a family night.

Logan recently worked with community partners Philadelphia High School for Girls and LaSalle University soccer team to paint the counselor’s room and put together the school’s game room.

By the end of the school year, Logan will have hosted over 30 workshops, meetings, and events for their students and families.

“Logan has amazing parents who participate in parent engagement,” Prosper said. “We have parents who participate in SAC Meetings. These are meetings where we share the progress of the school and look for feedback. We also have chat and chews and Logan Family Nights, where we had over 85 attendees at both events.

“We’re community partners with Stenton Museum and it’s a program that they do called History Hunters,” he said. “They work with our fourth graders and our students get accurate depictions of stories of what this community looked like about 200-300 years ago.

“We have activities like Donuts with Dudes where students engage with a positive male [role model],” he added. “We recently had an Eagles football camp. We partnered with Central High School and their students for a Black History show performance at the Widener Memorial School. We’re doing a lot of great things at Logan.”

Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared

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