Ringing in the new school year at AMY Northwest

The first official day of school for students in the Philadelphia School District will be Friday, Sept. 7, and it’ll begin with a traditional bell-ringing ceremony in Roxborough’s newest school. 

This year, the bell-ringing honor was given to AMY Northwest Middle School, which will be introducing its new location at 6000 Ridge Avenue, the former site of Levering Elementary.

When Principal Marco Zanoni learned that his school was selected two weeks ago, he was thrilled. 

“I’ve never experienced it,” said Zanoni, who has been with the district for 30-plus years. “We’re very excited, it’s really an honor.”

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This is the first year that AMY Northwest will be in their new location at the former William Levering Elementary building in Roxborough, after moving from the St. Therese building, located at 6611 Ardleigh St. in Mt. Airy. It is also the seventh move for the school in its 30-plus year history.

The city’s School Reform Commission voted to close Levering in mid-March as part of its Facilities Master Plan. Zanoni says that moving AMY Northwest into the Levering building is a way to help the school grow.

“I think we’re here because the district wanted to see us grow,” said Zanoni. “We were limited as to how many students we could admit.”

He says the relocation process has been a huge undertaking.

“There’s been so much work being done here, really, every day. We’re taking an old building and moving it into another old building. We’re moving decades of furniture and memorabilia. It’s been daunting,” said Zanoni.

He says the school is almost ready for the Sept. 7 opening.

“There are still boxes open and furniture that needs to be moved,” admitted Zanoni, “but we’ve received tremendous support from the district and I’m very grateful. This was a labor of love.”

The district’s first day tradition

The School District of Philadelphia invites students, parents, teachers, administrators and local officials to the school kick-off event.

Zanoni noted that Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. will participate in a unique school district tradition that starts off in a student’s home that day. 

“The superintendent will go to the home of one of our students and wake them up around 6:30 a.m. and while they’re getting ready, the superintendent will speak with the child’s parents,” explained Zanoni. “Then they’ll ride the bus with them to school.”

Goals for 2012-2013 school year 

This school year, Zanoni is looking forward to “ramping up” the school’s science program, continuing a writer’s mentoring program with La Salle University called “Writers Matters,” and to again meet their Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) performance target, which the school has accomplished for the last eight years in a row.

He is also excited to have a gym for the students.

“Now we have a real gym,” said Zanoni. “We’re going to be doing a lot of things and we participate in all the major sports.”

He says the school’s art teacher is also a yoga instructor who plans to teach yoga to the students.

The school officially opens to all students on Friday, Sept. 7 at 8:15 a.m. and the ceremony is set to begin at 9 a.m.

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