Mother Bethel Hopes Other Congregations Will Follow Model & Host Summer School
June 25, 2012
-- NEARLY 30 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ATTEND Summer School thanks to Mother Bethel’s partnership with Nebinger Elementary School and the Queen Village Neighbors Association. Classes will be held at Mother Bethel AME church, located at 419 South 6th Street, for a period of four weeks starting July 9, 2012. Summer school at Mother Bethel is at capacity and is for students from nearby McCall, Meredith and Nebinger Elementary Schools; however, Mother Bethel hopes other houses of worship in Philadelphia will follow the model so more students in the city can advance in academics. “If a child is held back a grade in elementary school, he or she is much more likely to drop out before high school graduation,”
says Rev. Dr. Mark Tyler, Mother Bethel’s pastor who also holds a PhD in Education Leadership. “Using the language of the church: we reap what we sow. If we plant good seeds today by investing in their education, we will have a harvest tomorrow that will be a blessing for our community and our city.” The idea of the church hosting the summer school came from Mrs. Leslie Tyler, the First Lady of Mother Bethel. Mrs. Tyler holds several leadership roles with the neighborhood schools and is responsible for formulating the collaboration to bring summer school to the church. “Every child should have the opportunity to be successful,”
says Mrs. Tyler. “Repeating a grade can be very demeaning especially at such a young age. I am thankful for the generosity of Mother Bethel’s membership and the Queen Village Neighbors who reacted swiftly to the urgent call to help make a difference for our most vulnerable students.”
The Summer School program curriculum is being developed by Dr. Ralph Burnley, Principal of Nebinger Elementary School and former area Superintendent for the South District. Dr. Burnley, who recently was named Principal of the Year and received the prestigious Lindback Award, is also hiring certified public school teachers and teacher’s assistants who will operate the summer school inside the church. Nebinger was “adopted” last August by Mother Bethel and partnered with the church during the school year in a Saturday pvjjq Mentoring Program. Mother Bethel’s staff will handle building operations and serve the free meals provided by the Archdiocese “Summer Meals” program. In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, the students will also be enriched by special “assemblies”
where prominent figures in the community and the congregation will talk to the children about staying in school and getting an education.
The School District of Philadelphia is unable to hold summer school classes for students in elementary school. This means dozens of children will have to repeat a grade next year. That’s why Mother Bethel reached out to the principals of Nebinger, McCall, and Meredith Elementary Schools to help children living in their community. The cost to operate summer school at the church is about $6,000. Most of the money was raised by Mother Bethel AME Church. The Queen Village Neighbors Association (QVNA) donated $2500. “When Leslie came to the QVNA Board with her vision for 'filling the gap,' we jumped at the opportunity to partner with Mother Bethel,” says Jeff Hornstein, President of the Board of Directors For the Queen Village Neighbors Association. “As Leslie has said, 'It truly does take a (Queen) village.” The Queen Village Neighbors Association new Schools & Youth Activities Committee supports Nebinger and Meredith Elementary Schools year round.
For more information on the summer school program at Mother Bethel call (215) 925-0616. All media inquiries should be directed to Leslie Patterson-Tyler at Leslie@TylerMadePR.com or (609) 247-2632.