Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Workshop School takeover of West Philly High auto building an ‘undercover deal,’ critics say

As part of its expansion, The Sustainability Workshop, The Navy Yard's alternative senior year program, will take over West Philadelphia High School's automotive building. But some community members contend that the handover was "an undercover deal already made,"

The car the West Philly Hybrid X team built. Photo from Facebook.

As part of its expansion, The Sustainability Workshop, The Navy Yard’s alternative senior year program, will take over West Philadelphia High School‘s automotive building. But some community members contend that the handover was “an undercover deal already made,” the City Paper reported.

According to the City Paper report, critics, including the chairman of the West Philly High School Advisory Council and the director of the Philadelphia Student Union, say that the School District did not consult community members on the move and that Superintendent William Hite approved the move without approval from the School Reform Commission, the board that oversees the School District.

Sustainability Workshop cofounder Simon Hauger agrees that there “wasn’t good communication” between the School District and West Philly High but also said that the Sustainability Workshop, which has plans to become a school, will bring “resources and a track record of success to West Philadelphia.”

It’s not clear what will happen to West Philly High’s automotive program, which Hauger used to lead. Hauger’s students made national news when they built an energy efficient car for the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize. He prefers that the auto program gets phased out of the school, the City Paper reported, but he is “open to all proposals.” Hauger did not immediately respond to a request for comment as to why he feels this way.

Read the whole City Paper story here.

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