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Thousands awarded for Philly school turnarounds

The Philadelphia School Partnership has awarded $375,000 to four city schools - two public, one charter and parochial - to spur turnarounds, pay for training, and create supports.

Saints John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School is getting $150,000 for its turnaround planning, PSP said on Wednesday. Roxborough High will get $145,000 for a turnaround, Wissahickon Charter will receive $56,625 for leadership and teaching coaching, and the Workshop School, a project-based public school in West Philadelphia, is to get $23,200 for technology improvements and an academic intervention program.

To date, PSP has given out $35.8 million to city public, parochial, charter and independent schools. It says it has helped move 16,000 students into better educational opportunities.

The well-funded group has drawn criticism from some who say it does not support all traditional public schools, but its boosters say PSP has done much to spur innovation and reward excellent, improving schools.

"Opportunities to create great educational outcomes for low-income students exist in schools of all types across the city," Jessica Pena, director of the Great Schools Fund at PSP, said in a statement. "These investments in public and private schools will enable leadership teams to develop comprehensive plans to ensure that every student in their schools can learn and succeed. We are particularly excited to support innovative approaches to improving student outcomes at the high school level that are grounded in a strong academic program."