At the Festival de Sueños on June 12, Pan American Academy Charter School, Philadelphia’s first international baccalaureate elementary school, acknowledged its collaboration with Arcadia University.
The “Festival of Dreams” served as a fundraiser for the academy’s recently-completed school library, an unveiling of the school’s new artwork installations and tiled mural, and a recognition ceremony for the local businesses and organizations that have contributed to the school’s success.
Arcadia’s partnership with Pan American Academy began three years ago, when Dr. Adriana Gonzalez-Lopez, director of the Building Behavioral & Educational Support Teams (BBEST) program in the School of Continuing Studies, received a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) to work with Philadelphia-area schools.
With the DCED’s grant, Gonzalez-Lopez implemented Pennsylvania’s Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) initiative, a disciplinary system that supports the emotional and social growth of students.
Gonzalez-Lopez not only achieved the goals set forth by the grant, but helped the academy to earn state recognition.
Additionally, Dr. Ellen Skilton-Sylvester, professor of education and The Rosemary and Walter Blankley Endowed Chair in Education, has been working closely with the academy for two years, bringing her Costa Rica Preview students to meet and discuss global issues with the school’s eighth graders and prepare them to travel to Puerto Rico.
“The goal is to help our students and their students see the ways that the world is interconnected, interdependent and unequal—three key goals of the Global Connections part of the curriculum,” said Skilton-Sylvester, who has welcomed the Pan American eighth graders to Arcadia’s Global Expo for the past two years.
Though Gonzalez-Lopez completed her grant work, Arcadia’s collaboration with Pan American Academy is expected to continue. The Pan American staff includes four Arcadia University graduates: CEO Wanda Novales earned a Letter of Eligibility Superintendent, special education teacher Hazel Cespedes earned a Master of Education, bilingual second grade teacher Jennifer Lopez earned a bachelor’s degree, and art instructor Karen Rufino is working toward a master’s in education.