Framing the Future

Dear Families,

A major focus of The Philadelphia School’s new strategic plan, Framing the Future, is to double down on defining who we are as a progressive school and articulating clearly what makes TPS distinctive, important, and forward thinking. We have taken on that charge across the school; the work has included programming for students, focused professional development for teachers, and strategic thinking for the administration and board.

TPS hums with vibrancy and connectiveness to the world around us. Student inquiry in and outside the classroom is leading to new insights and fostering a sense of agency. From the gardening program at the Early Childhood Education Center to the geology study in the Primary Unit to the exploration of Lenni-Lenape culture and history in the third grade to the lobbying and medical research intensives in the Middle School – students are engaging in innovative, relevant, and meaningful experiences that allow them to dig deep into government, social justice, STEAM, and community partnerships. Students have worked with experts from different fields, including geologists, Native American educators, medical researchers, and governmental policymakers.

We continuously reflect on what good teaching and learning should look like in today’s complex world. We have a robust learning community of teachers who have been supported to be the best in their field. Children deserve that level  of professional commitment. Curriculum review is intrinsic to our program. This year we are evaluating our science curriculum by looking at current content areas and skills across all grade levels; included in this review will be a close look at how to maximize educational support from our partners at The Schuylkill Center.

The school administration and the Board of Trustees are currently

  • developing partnerships with Smith Playground, Drexel’s Graphic Design Program, Girard College, CHOP’s Institute for Research, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • planning the transition to a new head of school (HOS), Lisa Sun, after a  community-driven search process for an HOS whose strengths align with the strategic vision
  • implementing a new coaching and evaluation process co-created by faculty and the program team
  • creating a HOS evaluation and support plan modeled after the faculty/staff process 
  • planning the transition to a new Middle School Division Director, Tanya Salewski
  • developing renovation plans for the Junior Unit space, which will be built this summer
  • revising and updating our master building plan
  • reviewing our benefits package to better support faculty and staff  
  • developing a tuition model that invests in improving faculty salaries
  • conducting a pre-feasibility study for our 50th anniversary (2022) and endowment campaign
  • implementing new investment policies to strengthen and grow our funds
  • establishing a Gender and Sexuality policy supporting our work toward equity and inclusion
  • formalizing a Board Advisory Council, a group of outside experts in a variety of fields
  • creating a new logo and style guide to complement our new mission and tagline

The outcome of all this purposeful work is a school that uses its mission as a guide to be reflective and forward-thinking. We will continue to build our capacity to evolve and to enhance how we teach and how students learn.  Through exciting partnerships we will bring cutting-edge and relevant initiatives to our students and faculty. We will continue to build systems that enhance our commitment to sustainability, equity, and access and to guide children to be deep thinkers and empathetic human beings. Learn Here. Go Anywhere.


Carlye Nelson-Major
Interim Head of School

Jennifer Rice
President, Board of Trustees