Mitchell Retains Top Teachers – and Students Benefit

Globe Times - Mitchell Retains Top Teachers

Despite the venerable surroundings of 100-year old Mitchell Elementary, the school is experiencing a rebirth of its traditional productive learning environment. According to a recent article in Philly.com, the growth in academic achievement under dynamic principal Stephanie Andrewlevich has been outstanding.

Typical of the positive response of students are those of fourth graders who come under the tutelage of Robert Wharton. Wharton has spent 18 years at Mitchell which is located a few blocks from the Southwest house where he grew up.

As recounted in the Philly.com piece, Wharton could leave for a suburban district, but as an African-American man, he finds it important that his students see a role model who grew up in the same circumstances they are in.

One of the critical areas which improved under Andrewlevich has been the reduction of turnover among the teaching staff. Once undergoing annual teacher departures as high as 50 percent, the level of teachers returning for 2018-19 was an outstanding 85 percent – one of the top levels in the city!
Wharton was quoted as observing that teacher retention and academic achievement growth are strongly related, saying that a stable teaching force “means everything in the world, because kids need consistency.” The response is reflected both academically and behavior-wise. “The kids and teachers are getting what they need.”

The original article in Phila.com updated April 29. 2019 was written by Jessica Calefati, Dylan Purcell and Kristen A. Graham. (jcalefati@philly.com)

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