The Workshop School
The Workshop School is a project-based, public high school in West Philadelphia. Our goal is to equip students with the skills and experience they need to succeed in college, career and community. We design learning experiences that develop and demand those skills. The Workshop School is operated by the School District of Philadelphia, in partnership with our nonprofit organization, Project Based Learning, Inc.
Literacy, numeracy, and other content knowledge are but one ingredient in the recipe for success. Equally important elements include the ability to think creatively and solve problems, work with others, plan (and follow through), network, and work independently and responsibly. If students can get good at these skills, they have a much greater likelihood of succeeding in college or the workplace. Most schools spend very little time cultivating these capabilities. At the Workshop, they are central to our work as educators.
Our school is built on three design principles:
- Community first. Our life together begins with the community we build. We trust each other, we believe in each other, we seek and expect the best in each other.
- The work is the work. Real-world questions and problems are our curriculum. Just like in real life, there are no “make-up packets.”
- Persist and improve. A first draft is never a final draft and a prototype is never a finished product. To improve our work, we have to want to make it the best it can be, seek, give and use feedback, and learn from failure.
We aren’t the only school out there built around these ideas. But we are one of the few schools committed to this approach that serves disadvantaged students and communities. We are a non-selective school and many of our students have experienced real challenges in their lives. We deeply believe that all children deserve a school experience that is rich and meaningful, and that all young people are capable of doing high-level, authentic work.