U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has visited one of Philadelphia Mastery Charter Schools' campuses to praise the nonprofit for successfully turning around once-troubled middle schools.
In July, President Obama gave Mastery a shout-out for dramatically boosting test scores and curbing school violence. What could top that?
Oprah. And $1 million bucks.
Not only is the TV diva scheduled to recognize Mastery for outstanding work educating Philadelphia students during today's show, she will give Mastery the $1 million grant.
Along with five other educational organizations, Mastery was chosen by Oprah's Angel Network as proof that great education is possible for every child.
Today's program focuses on school reform and Davis Guggenheim's new education documentary "Waiting for Superman."
Mastery officials said they would use the $1 million from the Angel Network to increase educational options for Philadelphia children by helping create more Mastery turn-around schools in the city.
The Oprah show, which was taped earlier, will include video clips from Mastery's schools. Scott Gordon, Mastery's founder and chief executive officer, and Kelli Seaton, principal of Mastery's Pickett campus in Germantown, appear on the show.
Mastery, which has operated a charter high school since 2001, has received national recognition for its success in turning around Pickett and two other formerly troubled district middle schools.
As part of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's Imagine 2014 initiative, Mastery is converting three low-performing elementary schools into to Mastery charters this academic year.
Mastery's educational approach aims to prepare students for college with a strict behavior code and a rigorous curriculum that includes taking personal responsibility and developing interpersonal skills.
The model includes a longer school day and a longer school year. Tutoring and Saturday sessions are required for those who struggle. All students must show "mastery" by earning a grade of at least 76 percent before advancing.