Yes, and… Philadelphia middle and high schoolers are learning improv to better their skills

The Philadelphia School District said it hopes improv workshops will help students better prepare for college.

Philadelphia School District headquarters

Philadelphia School District headquarters on North Broad Street. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

Seventy-four percent of Philadelphia students leave high school feeling unprepared for college and careers, according to a recent survey from the Philadelphia School District.

But one program aims to change that statistic by offering improv education. The Unscripted Project has reached more than 750 students in more than 50 Philadelphia middle and high school classrooms. After offering virtual workshops throughout the pandemic, students are now sharpening their improv skills in-person.

“Seeing the students be kids and play together, now that the pandemic has lessened, is wonderful,” said Unscripted Program Director Karin Potter-Simmons in a statement. “They’re in a space where they can interact and share each other’s energy.”

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According to the program, 82% of the students who participate report that since taking the workshops, their communication skills have improved and that they better understand their emotions. The program also reports that 86% of them feel more confident participating in class.

“We find students speaking more confidently and teachers using the tools that are learned through our program in their own class,” Potter-Simmons said.

The Unscripted Project is prioritized for schools where 90% of the students come from low-income households. The program also offers workshops for teachers and staff.

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Broke in PhillyWHYY is one of over 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push towards economic justice. Follow us at @BrokeInPhilly.

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