What does the Lea-Penn Partnership do in school?

As part of it’s community school strategy, Lea has developed a diverse network of partnerships with community-based organizations and local institutions. As of the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year, Lea is in active partnership with 37 partner organizations that are responsible for facilitating 54 distinct partner programs with our school, making Lea one of the most unique schools in Philadelphia when it comes to school-community partnerships.


What is a School Partner?

In its School Partner Onboarding Guide, the School District of Philadelphia defines “school partners” as organizations that:

  • Are fully funded
  • Exist as formal entities, which include nonprofit organizations, private corporations, and government agencies
  • Are capable of providing high-quality and ready-to-implement programs or services within District school communities
  • Can offer their programs or services at no cost to the District or its schools

By contrast, school partners DO NOT include:

  • Individual volunteers
  • Organizations seeking funding from the District or wishing to charge schools or students for their programs or services
  • Researchers not associated with School Partner programs or services

Henry C. Lea Elementary School defines “school partners” as organizations, programs, or individuals that provide coordinated supports or services to the school for the benefit of those who participate in the supports or services.

Our approach to partnership is grounded in our belief that every partnership must place the development, goals, and well-being of Lea students at the forefront of every element of partner programming as well as the underlying relationship between the school and its partner.

Partner Organizations

The types of organizations, institutions, and/or initiatives that comprise Lea’s partner organizations vary across the following categories:

  • Community-based organizations
  • Faith-based institutions
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Local universities, including various schools, departments, centers, organizations, programs, and courses affiliated with the
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Organizations affiliated with the School District of Philadelphia


Partner Programs

The categories of programming that comprise Lea’s partner programs vary far more considerably, as demonstrated in the following list:

  • Academic programming: Academic tutoring, instructional coaching (literacy and math), project-based learning, science lab lesson support
  • Academically-based community service (ABCS) courses: Music in Urban Spaces (MUSC/URBS 018-402), Nursing in the Community (NURS 380), Tutoring in Urban Public Elementary Schools (URBS 326), Air Pollution: Sources & Effects in Urban Environments (ENVS-411-301); Urban Environments: Speaking about Lead in West Philadelphia (ENVS/HSOC-404-401)
  • Arts programming: Creative writing, dance, drama/theatre, film-making, instrumental music, visual arts, vocal music
  • Athletics and play programming: Basketball, facilitated recess programming, junior coaches programming, lacrosse, physical education class support, soccer, track
  • Career exploration and career readiness programming: Career apprenticeships, career exposure activities and field trips, career mentoring
  • Educator and social service provider interns: Nursing interns, reading specialist interns, school counselor interns, social worker interns, teacher apprentices (student teachers)
  • Episodic programming: Partner programming that operates on an intermittent basis
  • Extended learning opportunities (i.e., extracurricular activities, enrichment programming, etc.): Creative writing, computer programming, dance, drama, first aid, media-/film-making, foreign language tutoring (French, Spanish), instrumental music, social entrepreneurship, STEM lessons
  • Family and community engagement: Cooperative committees (Home and School Association, School Advisory Council, Student Council), family events and programs (Academic Parent Teacher Teams, Back to School Night, English learner family meetings, FamiLEA Fun Night, FamiLEA Parent Café, Kindergarten Open House), family surveys, mutual aid programs (donations, scholarships), report card conferences, school events (Black History Month Showcase, Career Day, concerts, Field Day, mock interviews, talent shows, theatre productions, World Heritage Day), social services case management, volunteer opportunities (Lea Volunteer Corps), and various workshops and learning opportunities (adult ESOL classes, FamiLEA Cooking Club, parent information sessions).
  • Field trip programming: Academics-focused field trips, arts-focused field trips, career exposure field trips, Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS) field trips
  • Health and nutrition programming: Dental care, family culinary programming, fruit stand programming, nutrition education lessons and activities, personal and public health lessons, sexual health lessons
  • Instructional coaching and support: Art instructional support (teaching artists), literacy instructional consultants, math instructional consultant, social studies instructional support
  • Library programming: Author & illustrator visits, library programming, library volunteers, library database and technology, library maintenance, physical & digital book access, volunteer librarian(s)
  • Mentoring and/or tutoring programming: Early literacy tutoring, ELL student mentoring, math tutoring
  • Ongoing programming: Partner programming that operates on a consistent basis
  • Out-of-school-time programming: After-school programming, summer programming, weekend programming
  • Partnerships development and coordination: Community Partnerships Coordinator/Lea-Penn Liaison
  • Professional learning and development: School stakeholder training consultation
  • School climate support: Climate Support Liaison/Restorative Practices Specialist
  • School events: Back to School Night, Black History Month Showcase, Career Day, concerts, Field Day, Kindergarten Open House, mock interviews, talent shows, theatre productions, World Heritage Day
  • Undergraduate and/or graduate student organizations: After-school program aides, athletics coaches, EL support, foreign language support, mentoring programs, science lesson support

Partner Focus Areas

Lea’s network of partner programming addresses a variety of school-defined focus areas. For the purposes of strategically aligning partner programming and resources, the focus areas reflect the following school goals and priorities:

  • Reading, writing, and literacy
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
  • Project-based learning (PBL)
  • Human development: social, emotional, physical, and civic development
  • Family and community engagement (FACE)
  • Out-of-school-time (OST) and extended learning opportunities
  • Educator support: programming that supports the growth and development of Lea stakeholders, with a focus on their ability to facilitate and support learning