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.

My Grandfather Isn’t a Killer

Hope everyone read Madison Smith’s article in the Feb 2 Philadelphia Inquirer. As was noted, the article was written for Delaware Valley Fairness Project’s student essay program! Very proud of Madison!


Mitchell Principal Stephanie Andrewlevich
Overbrook Educational Center
Principal Meredith Foote

Mitchell Elementary  and Overbrook Educational Center (OEC) are two of the K-8 schools in the Philadelphia School District.  They are very different schools.  Mitchell is a 100+ year old building in the city’s southwest Kingsessing neighborhood.  OEC is a newer building in the city’s Overbrook neighborhood.  Mitchell has some 700 students; OEC about 275.  Mitchell is one of the district’s turn-around schools. OEC has the district’s largest population of blind and visually impaired students.Stephanie Andrewlevich and Meredith Foote are the principals. Ms. A, as is she is known, is at Mitchell; Ms. Foote is at OEC.  In a certain sense, they have more in common than their schools.

Obviously both are women. In addition, each is in her second full year at her school.  Both were raised in the Philadelphia area: one in the city, one in the suburbs.

Each is 100% committed to her students.  Each demands compassionate high-level performance of the teachers and support staff in their schools.  Each is loved and respected by the students and each has a habit of telling every student she meets that she loves him or her.

DVFP has supported a number of projects in each of Mitchell and OEC.  We are comfortable doing so because we know that the energy and enthusiasm Ms. A and Ms Foote bring to their buildings multiplies the impact of our investment in their programs.

Leadership matters.  Good principals attract good teachers, create positive learning environments, and make for good schools.  Thanks to all the Ms. As and Ms. Footes out there.

Elizabeth Adeyi Joins Board of Directors

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The Delaware Valley Fairness Project is proud to announce that Elizabeth Y. Adeyi has been elected to the Board of Directors.  Elizabeth is the Executive Director of Child Care Information Services of Montgomery County, PA, and the former Eligibility Director of Child Care Information Services of South Philadelphia/Caring People Alliance.  She comes to our Board with over 20 years of professional management experience in social services in the Delaware Valley.

Elizabeth brings not only her extensive experience in management, but also her passion for helping the less fortunate in our communities.   As a visionary and collaborator, she has revamped a program to benefit families experiencing homelessness and launched a new program in Montgomery County to assist foster families with child care.  A leader and advocate in the early learning community, she has shown an uncanny understanding of needs and an ability to use data in program creation to bridge gaps in services.

Delaware Valley Fairness Project is very fortunate to have Elizabeth as the newest member of our team.  She can be reached at


Delaware Valley Fairness Project has agreed to fulfill a request from Keith Arrington, Principal of Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in North Philadelphia, for support of a Young Gentlemen (YGs) mentoring program.  The program uses music and the performing arts together with a 12-week curriculum to motivate at-risk students and improve their academic performance in areas such as reading comprehension and fluency, vocabulary knowledge, and presentation and staging skills.

The Young Gentlemen project was established by Loni Gamble, a music producer, songwriter and performer who has directed such programs in Williamsport for some 15 years.  His partner in curriculum development is Rafika Soaries.   The program at Thurgood Marshall was started last spring, but did not have the funding to continue this fall.

DVFP will assess the impact of the YG program on the attitudes and values of the participants through observations and before and after program questionnaires.


Roland Ananiglo is a coach and Grade 6 TA at Overbrook Education Center (OEC).  OEC is a Philadelphia public school that serves a student population of sighted and visually-impaired students.   With almost one-third of the students unable to read print without magnification, technology aides, enlarged text, or braille, OEC has the largest population of blind and visually impaired students in the Philadelphia School District.

Mr. Ananiglo applied to Delaware Valley Fairness Project for supplies to bring together sighted and visually-impaired students to play on the first OEC school soccer team.  As he noted in his application,  OEC was authorized to have a team but had no supplies and serves a population that cannot afford the uniforms and equipment that the children need to participate in sports.

On September 28, DVFP presented OEC and Mr. Ananiglo the funds he needed to launch his unique program. And just in time.  That afternoon the team had its first practice and five days later played its first game.

To learn more about OEC, follow oecjags on Instagram.


Delaware Valley Fairness Project (DVFP) and Mitchell Elementary School in Southwest Philadelphia are undertaking an initiative to build a coalition of Mitchell Partners to strengthen support for the school and the community.  Mitchell Principal, Stephanie Andrewlevich, convened a meeting of current partners on September 21 at which she stated her vision for Mitchell as an educational institution and as an engine for change within the community.  She also made clear her need for support from Mitchell’s partners to make the vision a reality.

DVFP president, Ed Riehl, then explained that DVFP approached Mitchell this summer with an offer to take on the role of forming a coalition of Mitchell partners. DVFP will coordinate the coalition’s effort to deliver the resources identified by Mitchell’s staff.

The more than twenty people who attended, including Deputy Mayor Nina Ahmad as well as representatives from the University of the Sciences, Wayne Presbyterian Church Devereux Behavioral Health and several local community organizations, expressed support and a willingness to do what is necessary to make this effort successful.  Others in attendance and supporting the undertaking were Spark Philadelphia, New Hope Philly, ASAP, Citylights and City Year.   Any organization with an interest in joining the coalition should contact DVFP at

To keep abreast of events at Mitchell, check out the Mighty Mitchell Heroes page on facebook!