Ways You Can Get Involved

ANNUAL SCHOOL SUPPLY DRIVE
Bring in new or very gently used school supplies and deposit them in the collection barrel near the name-tag board each year in August and September. Supplies benefit both the Lingelbach Elementary School and Cradles to Crayons.

BROWSE YOUR OWN BOOKSHELVES
Look through your bookshelves for gently used books, ages infancy to teens. Books will be collected in September at USG in conjunction with the school supply drive.

TUTORING AT LINGELBACH
Over the years, USGers have tutored dozens of students in math, reading and English at the nearby Lingelbach School at Wayne and Johnson. Tutoring is sometimes the difference between passing and failing a subject. Contact Jeff Smith, germantownsmith@gmail.com, for more information.

HENRY SCHOOL
USG is exploring collaborations with the C.W.Henry School (601 Carpenter Lane). Contact Jessica Stanforth, jcstanforth@gmail.com, for more information.

INN DWELLING
This coming February, our Share the Plate recipient will be Inn Dwelling, a non-profit corporation dedicated to assisting poor families in the Germantown and Northeast sections of Philadelphia. Inn Dwelling addresses housing and job needs, and an educational program providing after-school tutoring, educational opportunities, and grant and scholarship possibilities to middle- and high-school students.

If you are interested in tutoring these students, please contact Sister Rosemarie Jefferson at (267) 324-9065. The after-school program is on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from 4 to 6 p.m. and is only 10 minutes away from USG, at 109 E. Price Street right off Germantown Ave. There is also a program for Grades 9-12 in Northeast Philadelphia, located at 3501 Solly Avenue, Philadelphia 19136. You may also go to www.inndwelling.org.


WISSAHICKON BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB
Opportunities for contributions of time, talent and treasure exist at the Wissahickon Boys and Girls Club in Germantown (328 W. Coulter Street 19144) where a substantial number of Lingelbach students attend after-school programs. Contact Daniel C. Kelchner, Unit Director. 215-438-7394 ext. 252 or kelchnerd@bgcphila.org


PARTNERING

The Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS): an organization of parents, community members, and school staff dedicated to the preservation of public schools. APPS meets at USG two evenings each month from 5 to 7 p.m. Dates on church calendar, or contact Barbara Dowdall at bmcdowdall@gmail.com. To sign up for the APPS list serve, go tophilaapps@gmail.com. APPS website is appsphilly.net.

Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS):  conducts research on school funding, organizes direct advocacy actions and plans legislative visits and testimony. Updates available at pcaps201@gmail.com or wearepcaps.org.

Opt Out Philly: advocates for reductions in standardized testing, restoration of art and music, counselors, nurses and librarians. Provides resources for parents who wish to have their children excused from standardized tests contact optoutphilly@gmail.com or visit workingeducators.org/optout.
Advocacy for Philadelphia Public Schools

The Philadelphia public school crisis continues! Many are looking for opportunities to be informed, offer help and advocate for change. See below!

  • Testimony of members of the Alliance of Philadelphia Public Schools at the September 17th meeting of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission. http://goo.gl/Itg0oB
  • Philadelphia parent and activist Shakeda Gaines Finletter on The Rick Smith Show talking about Opting Out. https://goo.gl/VBx8wx
  • The Philadelphia Tribune reports on the launch of the Caucus of Working Educators slate in the upcoming teachers’ union election. http://goo.gl/kvtzg7
  • On July 20th, 2015 the Philadelphia Student Union printed this research into some of the appointments of Philadelphia Superintendent Hite to advance the privatization of Philadelphia public schools. http://goo.gl/6vBm3e
  • Patrick Kerkstra of Philadelphia City Paper names three huge problems with the charter school movement. http://goo.gl/CEmtzA
  • Tamara Anderson in conversation with Dr. Susan Goodwin about “What Black Parents Ought to Know about Schools where they send their Children: Educating our children in a Racist Society.” http://goo.gl/ft2efs
  • Peter Greene comments on an interview with Arne Duncan where he shows he is still oblivious to the public education disaster he has overseen. http://goo.gl/mtzxyc
  • Duncan is on a Big Bus Tour to cheer falling test scores. http://goo.gl/B16F2F
  • Mercedes Schneider comments on Arne Duncan’s Big Bus Tour and his selling of low Common Core test scores. https://goo.gl/QWeHo3

Public Education Initiative

PEI was chosen as one of two major social justice initiatives for USG. Public education is facing severe economic and ideological crises. State funds have been dramatically cut and the City of Philadelphia has not been able to make up the difference. The school district, administered by the School Reform Commission since 2001, is in debt and many programs and resources (like nurses, counselors and libraries) are being curtailed or eliminated.

For 20 years, USG members have tutored USG students at the Anna Lingelbach Elementary School at Johnson and Wayne, primarily in English, reading and math. In addition, USG hosts Lingelbach’s annual awards program for the most improved students with a dinner prepared by members of the congregation.

The primary focus of the Public Education Initiative (PEI) is to build on our existing relationship with Lingelbach and carry that success to other schools in Northwest Philadelphia and beyond. Specifically:

  • Math and reading tutors during school hours and possibly before and after school hours.
  • Tutoring on computers for older students for 45 minutes from 1 to 3 pm.
  • Providing mentoring for new kids often disoriented in a new school and neighborhood.
  • Assisting teachers in classrooms.
  • Guiding students home after school under the Safe Corridors program.
  • Assisting teachers in monitoring students during outside recess.

PEI will also work to advocate for additional public school funding and for other legislative and administrative actions that will benefit public school students and teachers.

Whether you are a new member or old, a visitor or contributing friend, join us in this most important and rewarding effort that is not only vital to society but in keeping with our UU principles.

Contact Barbara Dowdall at gtnbassoon@aol.com