Penn GSE in Philadelphia

Penn GSE in


View the map

How To Use the Map

We created original the Penn GSE in Philadelphia map in 2015 to illustrate the work we do in schools in Philadelphia. In 2018 we launched a second layer of the map that documents our ongoing activities in community organizations across the city.

In the upper left corner of the map, you can toggle between activities in Philadelphia schools and our community.

Hover your cursor over the map to see the efforts underway in catchments throughout the District. Catchments (school attendance areas) are color-coded based on the number of projects ongoing in the schools within that area, and individual school icons are color-coded as well. Click on a catchment to view schools with active projects; for project descriptions, click on a school. You can also search for an individual school by name. To see a list of activities that have an impact across the entire District, click the link in the lower left corner of the map.

The community map is organized by zip codes, but works on the same principle as the school map: zip code areas are color-coded based on the number of projects going on in that neighborhood, and individual project sites are color-coded as well. Many of the activities are similar to those described in the Schools map. To see a list of activities that have an impact city-wide, click the link in the lower left corner of the map.

The map is updated on an annual basis.

You can filter activities by group (referring to Penn GSE programs and divisions) or by the following categories:


The expertise of Penn GSE faculty and staff is connected to individual schools, networks of schools, and the District as a whole through consultative relationships. Consultation aims to build capacity in such areas as leadership development, program design, innovation and reform efforts, curriculum and instruction, research design, and data-informed decision making.


Penn GSE prepares students for leadership roles in education through a variety of programs. Aspiring school leaders may choose a one-year master’s program in School Leadership or a doctoral program in Educational Leadership. The Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership provides a three-year program designed in an executive model for working professionals. This category represents alums of these programs as well as current students who are serving in leadership roles in schools around the city.

Parent/Family/Community Engagement

Research shows schools with strong involvement from parents/families that leverage community resources have higher levels of academic achievement and positive climate. Penn GSE faculty study how those relationships work in specific contexts, as well as how to build effective structures and processes to improve engagement toward overall school improvement. In community sites, faculty members create participatory action projects that provide voice to immigrant youth and adults, for example.

Professional Development

In addition to preparing future practitioners for Philadelphia schools, Penn GSE supports the ongoing and enhanced professional development of current practitioners. The Philadelphia Writing Project (PhilWP) offers an extensive cadre of Teacher Consultants who work in schools across the District to enhance the teaching of literacy and writing. Their renowned work impacts children by developing high quality knowledge and skills in classroom professionals.


As a graduate school in a major research university, Penn GSE supports research as a primary means to answer the critical questions in urban education. We study issues of equity and access from early childhood education through higher education, and have contributed both to policy and practice supporting high quality teaching and learning for all students. Outside of school settings, exciting community-based participatory action research projects help illuminate the lives of residents in the broader community and the immigration and acculturation experience.

Service Learning

Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) courses at Penn occur across departments, schools, and disciplines. These courses integrate service with research, teaching, and learning, offering Penn students opportunities for hands-on, real-world problem solving within the context of an academic class. Apart from the ABCS model, many GSE students are engaged in service learning activities in local schools and communities, either independent of or in conjunction with a GSE course or project.

Student Programs/Direct Services

Penn GSE faculty and students provide direct services to Philadelphia school students in the areas of academic support and enrichment in literacy, mathematics, science, and computer science; mentoring; counseling and social-emotional development; and second language acquisition. Such services may also be provided in mental health centers, hospitals, and community agencies like Children’s Crisis Treatment Center or The Consortium. These services may be offered as the sole focus of the program or in conjunction with a training or research initiative.


A large proportion of master’s students at Penn GSE are enrolled in programs to prepare them to be elementary and secondary teachers, school and mental health counselors, teachers of English as a second language, and literacy specialists. These programs have extensive partnership networks with Philadelphia schools for pre-service training, where Penn GSE students are prepared for their future roles under the supervision of mentor teachers and supervising counselors. Students from these programs may also work in our networks of community mental health centers, hospitals, libraries, and community centers, providing services to children, adolescents, or adults.