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.

Why Fairness Matters

9y. Yorkship - Ms. Rojas Math Cards

Is there anyone who hasn’t heard a child, or an adult acting like a child, say, “It’s not fair”? Or how about the retort, “Well, sometimes life’s just not fair”? Sometimes there IS more ice cream in one bowl than another, or you DO have to work on a holiday, or someone else DOES get more credit than for something. It isn’t fair, but it also isn’t fatal. It’s more like a bump you have to endure along your journey. It really doesn’t matter.

That’s not the “fairness” for which we took our name, Delaware Valley Fairness Project. Ours is more the fairness that’s lacking for a child born into poverty, or for a wounded family without enough money for food and shelter. It’s what’s missing for the medically addicted, the mentally ill, the victims of discrimination and the countless unwanted in our communities. These are the people whose voices are silent but whose eyes tell us that it’s not fair, if we just look into them.

The unfairness these people suffer isn’t the bump in the road. It doesn’t go away after a day, week, or year. It’s life-defining, multi-generational, and what some would call systemic, And it’s harmful – to those who live it and to all the rest of us, too.

When unfairness flourishes, everyone is its victim. Consider drug addiction, violence, pan-handlers, the decrepit condition of streets and houses in economically distressed neighborhoods. Consider the taxes used to address these social conditions. Consider the fear engendered by the anger of the oppressed. These are the fruits of unfairness.

Delaware Valley Fairness Project’s mission is to lessen these effects by attacking their common root cause: poverty. Poverty limits human potential. Poverty limits human life span. It robs children of childhood. It crushes self-confidence. Poverty strips people of dignity. It gives rise to alternative means to survival, anti-social pathways to self-respect.

Poverty is unfair, and it is that unfairness we work against. Fairness matters because fairness would mean the end of poverty. Fairness means well-resourced schools for everyone, fair-paying jobs, and training to qualify for jobs. It means dignity for individuals, hope for families, childhood for children.

Fairness matters because everyone’s life becomes better. Dignity, hope, opportunity: better than drugs, violence, and slums. Think about it.