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Mastery Charter ramps up plans to deal with coronavirus

The Notebook
by Dale Mezzacappa

Each family will be mailed printed academic packets to make sure everyone is reached. The most vulnerable students are getting daily calls.  With 11,500 students in 16 schools across Philadelphia, Mastery Charter operates almost like a district-within-a-district – particularly when dealing with an unprecedented situation like the coronavirus.

The charter organization is distributing meals twice a week in its schools. On Thursday, said Mastery CEO Scott Gordon, it gave out 14,466 meals to nearly 5,000 families. It also has a plan for staff to regularly check in with students, and those who have been identified as the most vulnerable are getting extra attention. (See an updated list of school meal distribution sites for next week here.  School District sites and Mastery will distribute on Mondays and Thursdays; days may vary for other sites.)

Most of Mastery’s sites are former District schools in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, which were turned over to the charter organization in hopes of improving academic outcomes. About a quarter of its students are in special education.

Although it is also ramping up a robust academic program for students and parents to tap into, “our first priority is to attend to the well-being of our community,” Gordon said. “We are really pained by the depth of need this crisis is revealing.”