Why we’re disappointed Green Woods won’t move to Chestnut Hill

    Officials with the Green Woods Charter School in Roxborough recently received some unwelcome news from the Chestnut Hill Historical Society. The group recently rejected the school’s request to amend two preservation easements on a historic manor where school officials hoped to move and expand. The decision effectively ends the hopes of a move to Greylock Manor.

    CHHS’ decision, however, follows an approval from the School Reform Commission to gradually increase the school’s student body. Below is a letter drafted by a group of Green Woods’ parents that discusses where the school’s plans now stand.                     

     

    You may have heard that this past week the Chestnut Hill Historical Society’s Easement Committee voted unanimously to reject the opportunity for Green Woods Charter School to establish our school at the Greylock Manor.

    As members of the Chestnut Hill community and parents of children who attend Green Woods Charter School, we are deeply disappointed with the Chestnut Hill Historical Society and the Friends of the Wissahickon’s decision to reject our proposal to modify and, in our opinion, enhance the easements on Greylock Manor.

    Initial conversations with this same Committee, in January, implied the potential for a good partnership with both of these organizations as well as the community as a whole. We appreciate that Green Woods willingly reached out to near neighbors in an attempt to gain a better understanding of their possible objections and to explore options for mutual benefit. It is a true shame that this dialogue was closed so abruptly by a small but influential minority in our community.

    We respect that Green Woods Charter School is a public charter school that must be diligent, accountable, and financially astute. Therefore, we remain excited as the school moves forward to explore other, more promising locations. We are proud of the school’s leadership and professionalism in remaining loyal to its vision as a premier public school in northwest Philadelphia, providing a unique, nationally recognized environmental education for the children of our community.

    As previously announced, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission has granted Green Woods’ long-awaited request for expanded enrollment over the next several years to 675 students, recognizing the school’s high levels of academic achievement and resounding community support. This milestone would not have been achieved without the extraordinary efforts of Green Woods’ committed faculty, staff, students, and families.

    We look forward to seeing many of our neighbors from the northwest at our open house this Thursday, May 19th, at 5pm. At the open house, Green Woods will be providing information and lottery applications to families interested in grades 1 and 2 for September as we expand our enrollment.

    Our community outreach over the past few months has had many unexpected benefits. Many of our neighbors here in the northwest and in the city at large, who might not have heard of Green Woods before, surely now know about this great academic institution.

    Over the last several weeks and months, the Green Woods community has developed community relationships in northwest Philadelphia and has come together in ways that we know will serve the school well during this time of growth and change. Over 600 residents in Chestnut Hill signed petitions supporting Green Woods and our desire to relocate to Greylock. Hundreds more from all around the northwest expressed support for our school as well.

    While we remain saddened that Green Woods’ move to Greylock Manor, which would have complemented our Chestnut Hill neighborhood and provided a unique and much-needed opportunity, now appears unlikely, we are comforted by the fact that we have gained many friends during this process and that Green Woods will remain an asset to northwest Philadelphia and a legacy to its children, families, staff, and community and especially to its fundamental and ever-expanding environmental mission.

    Meg Flores, Esq.

    Karen Aves, M. Ed., and Peter Aves, PhD

    Samantha Erickson and Ken Flaxman

    Amy Norwitz and Ben Swartz

    Rev. Dr. Martin Lohrmann and Carrie Lohrmann, P.E.

    Dr. Ben Phillips and Tracy Phillips

    Craig Hosay, Esq.

    Sarah James

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