Penn Treaty Middle School to expand in fall

Fishtown can ex­pect some changes when hun­dreds more stu­dents en­roll at the former middle school, which will now in­clude grades 9-12. 

Penn Treaty Middle School, 600 E. Thompson St. GREAT­PHILLY­SCHOOLS.ORG.

Penn Treaty Middle School, 600 E. Thompson St., will add grades 9 through 12 in the fall, con­firmed prin­cip­al Sam How­ell at the Ju­ly 18 meet­ing of the Fishtown Neigh­bors As­so­ci­ation. Penn Treaty up un­til this point served stu­dents in grades 5 through 8.

Neigh­bors at the FNA meet­ing were con­cerned about the mix­ing of middle and high school stu­dents, the source schools from which the ad­di­tion­al stu­dents will come, school dis­missal times, se­cur­ity and park­ing. 

Penn Treaty will take in all the rising 7th grade stu­dents from the shuttered Sherid­an West School, which was loc­ated at 3701 Frank­ford Ave., How­ell said in a phone in­ter­view with Star last week. Stu­dents from the closed schools Charles Car­roll High School, 2845 Ed­ge­mont St., and Douglas High School, 2700 E. Hunt­ing­don St., have the op­tion of at­tend­ing Penn Treaty as well. 

The Phil­adelphia School Dis­trict es­tim­ates, How­ell said, that the school will now hold 400 middle school stu­dents and 400 high school stu­dents once the new stu­dents be­gin in the fall. Last school year, he said, the school held ap­prox­im­ately 300 stu­dents.

“We won’t hit that [a total of 800 stu­dents],” he said, adding that he thought the school would only end up hold­ing a total of 700 stu­dents. 

“What needs to be stressed is that we are go­ing to take in a lot of kids this year, but that won’t con­tin­ue to be the case,” he said. 

As far as the middle and high school stu­dents shar­ing a build­ing, How­ell said shared spaces like the cafet­er­ia and mu­sic and arts rooms would hold middle and high school stu­dents at dif­fer­ent times. Already, he said, the sixth graders don’t share space at the same time with the eighth graders. 

The school will also take in about 17 new teach­ers, he said. Park­ing, he ad­ded, is totally out of his con­trol.

Penn Treaty’s school day, he said, will go from 7:40 a.m. to 2:44 p.m., and for middle school stu­dents, the first day of school is Sept. 9. High school stu­dents be­gin on Sept. 10. 

The nearby St. Lauren­ti­us School, 1612 E. Berks St., op­er­ates on a sim­il­ar bell sched­ule, which had some neigh­bors at the meet­ing ask­ing ques­tions about the safety of so many stu­dents spill­ing in­to the neigh­bor­hood at once at the end of the school day. 

How­ell said that he re­ques­ted that 26th Po­lice Dis­trict of­ficers be pos­ted around the neigh­bor­hood at dis­missal time to that end, only to en­sure stu­dents don’t con­greg­ate in pub­lic areas and cause trouble. The stu­dents from out­side Fishtown who can’t walk to school, he said, will have trans­port­a­tion passes. The school won’t use yel­low busses. 

“I re­spect the Fishtown neigh­bors,” How­ell said. “I have a lot of re­spect for the people who take care of the neigh­bor­hood, and I want to make sure they know they are sup­por­ted.” ••

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