Sister-Schools: Mutually Beneficial Relationships That Open Minds

More than two years have passed since the community at Chadds Ford Elementary School in Delaware County read of the challenges facing Mitchell Elementary School in Philadelphia.   Moved by the stark difference between opportunities Chadds Ford students had versus those of their counterparts at Mitchell,  staff and parents of students at the Delaware County school contacted Mitchell to see how they could help.

From that first contact was born a vibrant, on-going relationship between the two schools from which each has benefited.   What started as a mission to supplement resources of the Philadelphia school and of the families served by the school, has become a two-way flow of information about initiatives underway at each and a pathway of communication between the students in the two communities.  The Chadds Ford friendship tree with messages of encouragement on student-made leaves is prominently on display at Mitchell, while the Mitchell friendship banner and a display case are featured at Chadds Ford.  

First-graders at the two schools have been exchanging journals introducing themselves to each other and representatives of Chadds Ford and Mitchell have been to each other’s school to learn from and give thanks to each other.

Delaware Valley Fairness Project has had the good fortune to be in the middle of this sister-school relationship as Mitchell’s partnership coordinator.  This has allowed us to build friendships at both ‘sisters’ and through those friendships to help create a new pairing between John Moffet Elementary School in Philadelphia and Hillendale Elementary in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District.  We are now in discussions with an elementary school in New Jersey that has expressed an interest in having a sister school in Philadelphia, and are looking forward to meeting with staff and parents at other schools that would like to partner with an inner-city school.

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