There’s a quote we like at Phoenix from French author Antoine de Saint Exupery: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” At Phoenix schools, our teachers, fellows, student support staff, and administrators are driven each day not only to deliver a college-preparatory education to all students who enter our doors, but also to help reverse the dropout crisis that plagues our communities. Through every wake-up text message and phone call, every late night or Sunday spent lesson planning, and every celebratory announcement in Community Meeting, our staff demonstrate their unceasing commitment to the success of our scholars, the Phoenix mission, and to creating change for high-risk students who lack options that will put them on the path to success.
For the past few years and into the coming years, the Phoenix Network will bring this relentless passion for a new model of alternative education to communities across Massachusetts. Some notable milestones for Phoenix include the opening of our second and third schools: Phoenix Lawrence, in August 2012 and Phoenix Springfield, in fall of 2014. Phoenix continues to ramp up its model to expand elsewhere.
In addition to opening schools in Gateway cities throughout Massachusetts, we will seek opportunities to work with local schools and school districts to disseminate key pieces of our model. Phoenix has a history of success with these types of partnerships: in Chelsea, our Fellowship has partnered with the REACH program at Chelsea High School and the Seacoast School in Revere, bringing high-dosage tutoring to students in these schools. In Lawrence, we have partnered with the Lawrence Public School district to open Massachusetts’ first-ever in-district high school run by a charter school network. As we share our work and results with a wider community, we will continue to improve and refine our model, consequently better serving students not only in our own schools, but also in district schools using the Phoenix model.
As Phoenix moves toward the future, we will always remain faithful to the tenets of our mission, holding the belief that all students, regardless of their history, can succeed academically in high school and in college. While our mission is bold, we believe that we can convince others that we’re right. We believe that our students’ success has shown that alternative schools not only need to challenge their students to reach a high academic bar, but that they must also be held accountable for delivering results on par with public school systems. By placing our schools’ achievements at the forefront of conversations about alternative education, we hope to foster large-scale change in the ways leaders and teachers design, manage, and evaluate alternative schools.