AMY Northwest teachers and students work to make new school feel like ‘home’

A group of teachers at AMY Northwest Middle School in Roxborough pitched in Tuesday to spruce up the school’s interior.

With a little more than a week to go before the start of the public school calendar, staffers grabbed scissors and staples to decorate AMY’s bulletin boards.

Meme Cameron, a history teacher who has been with AMY since 2004, was among those on hand to help.

“Anywhere I live is home, so I’m going to do what I can to make it kind of home,” she said.

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Several of the school’s newest additions were also at the Ridge Avenue site on Tuesday. Seven teachers have been added.

Maxfield Arnosky is one of them. As he stapled a border into place on a first-floor bulletin board, the math teacher said he was happy to spend his morning at the school.

He noted that being inside a school helps calm the pre-commencement jitters he routinely experiences.

“It’s a mixture of good excitement and anxiety,” said Arnosky. “Once you get into school and start setting up your classroom and get your lesson plans together it’s like you never left.”

Principal Marco Zanoni has spent nearly every day this summer – save for a few days at the beach – on preparing the school for its inaugural year in Roxborough.

On Tuesday afternoon, the school district veteran said he could finally see the finish line of what he hopes will be the program’s last move.

The seventh and, hopefully, final move 

Citing declining enrollment and a lack of students from the school’s catchment area, the School District of Philadelphia recommended in November that Levering be closed as part of its Facilities Master Plan, an effort aimed in part, at addressing ongoing budget woes.

The city’s five-member School Reform Commission unanimously approved the suggestion in March. The decision meant that AMY would move from its Mt. Airy campus to Levering’s building.

The school has now packed up seven times during its 30-plus year history.

“This is really a beautiful school,” said Zanoni. “It has so much opportunity for academic growth.”

More room to grow 

Incoming eighth grader Christine Mosley came with her mother to check out the progress and pitch in.

Mosley, who will travel more than an hour to AMY Northwest, also stopped by to scope out the building itself.

“I kind of prefer this school because it’s way bigger,” she said of the four-story property.

AMY was formerly housed inside a one-floor, L-shaped building on St. Therese of the Child Jesus’ campus. The district leased the space from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

On Sept. 7, the first day of school, Mosley will be joined by more than 300 students. AMY had about 211 enrolled this past year, but had an influx of applications once the move to Roxborough was finalized.

The school has been selected as the site of the city’s annual bell-ringing ceremony, which audibly announces the start of the academic year for all Philadelphia students.

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