Hi Philly-area Tigers,
My name is Laura Boyce, and I'm a high school teacher who's been working in Philadelphia schools since I graduated from Princeton in 2007. I currently work in North Philly at Simon Gratz Mastery Charter, a large, inner-city high school that was converted from a traditional neighborhood public school into a charter school just over a year ago. Our students are almost all low-income and African American, and the neighborhood around the school is one of the poorest and most violent in the city. However, the school is making great gains; in just one school year, our state test scores doubled, we were taken off the state's persistently dangerous schools list, and our percentage of students gaining college acceptance tripled.
This year I have helped start a freshman honors program in our 360-student 9th grade academy. Our honors program, which is application-only and serves about 65 freshmen, offers more rigorous courses, leadership development, monthly field trips (this weekend we're visiting Princeton for a lecture, campus tour, and Princeton vs. Penn football game - go Tigers!), and additional privileges and projects. We hope to take students on a multi-day overnight college tour over spring break of this year to tour liberal arts colleges and public research universities across the Northeast. It is our hope that the additional supports, challenges, and opportunities our honors students are offered will prepare them to attend some of the nation's top colleges and universities (including Princeton!) in four years.
To help fund our ambitious spring break trip, we are holding a fundraising dinner and benefit for the honors program on Thursday, November 15th. Our goal is to have more than 100 people attend and raise more than $5,000. All of the details can be found at gratz9.eventbrite.com. I am the point person on this project and am working hard to make it a success.
It would mean a lot to me to have some Philly-area Tigers in attendance at the dinner; we want to really involve the wider Philadelphia community in this project and give people a glimpse of what our kids are capable of. Please consider attending the event on November 15th if you're available. Even if you can't attend, you can donate to support our spring break college trip by clicking here to make a donation; please designate "Gratz 9th Grade Academy" as the recipient on the "Designation" drop-down menu.
Your support would be greatly appreciated by me and my students. Please consider giving - no gift is too small! For $100, you can become a platinum sponsor; your contribution will cover the cost of the spring break college tour for one student. You will receive personalized updates on your sponsored student and postcards and photos from the college tour.
Please let me know if you have any questions. Again, the link to RSVP and get more information is gratz9.eventbrite.com. PLEASE feel free to share this with your networks that might be interested.
Laura Boyce '07