Dornsife School of Public Health faculty and students will play an instrumental role in implementing a large new grant aimed at improving the education and developmental outcomes of children and youth living and attending school in the West Philadelphia Promise Zone.
Late in December, Drexel, the City of Philadelphia, The School District of Philadelphia and several other area groups and non-profit partners were awarded a U.S. Department of Education Promise Neighborhoods grant providing up to $30 million over five years. Seventy-six million dollars in matching funds have also been secured from the City and area non-profits to support the Promise Neighborhood grant, named ProsPER (Promise of Strong Partnership for Education Reform. The group will target lifelong literacy, behavioral health, and trauma-informed family and community supports to improve the “cradles to careers” trajectory in the HUD-designated Promise Zone that surrounds Drexel’s University City campus.
Much of Drexel’s current commitment of resources in the Promise Zone is focused on children, families and schools in an attempt to address the pervasive social, economic, and health inequities experienced by these predominantly African American communities. This new grant will support students in an educational environment that enhances physical, mental, and behavioral health by providing training to existing school staff and hiring in-building clinicians and additional support staff. It will also coordinate with Philadelphia Mayor Kenney’s new Community Schools model, funded by the soda tax passed in 2016.
Leveraging the school’s strong community-based partnerships and proven research methods, experts within the Dornsife School of Public Health’s Urban Health Collaborative will manage research and data systems to inform the Promise Neighborhood grant project and evaluate its impact over time.