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Chris Lehmann

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Preseason Practices

Here's all the information for pre-season practices for Fall Sports teams! 

Cross Country
 practices begin on Monday, August 15. Please meet at SLA at 8am ready to run and work out. Bring water and wear sunscreen! Email for more information or questions.

Boys Soccer has begun practice! For the remainder of the week, practices will be on Wednesday 8/17 and Friday 8/19. The location of our practices is at 44th and Haverford and people can email Jorin Gervini at if they have any questions about forms, schedules and practices. 

Girls Soccer
 has already begin practice/tryouts! We will be practicing TuesdayWednesday and Thursday, August 23rd-25th at 1pm. Please meet under the train tracks at 31st and Chestnut. Contact Ms. Siswick ( or Hanna Dunakin ( for more information. 

Boys and Girls Ultimate Frisbee will be practicing at Penn Park on 8/23, 8/24, 8/25 after Summer Institute at 1pm! Bring cleats and a lot of water! Email Eli Block ( or Mr. Lehmann ( for more information! 

Girls Volleyball tryouts will take place on August 26th from 9:30-2:30 pm at SLA Beeber (5925 Malvern Ave). Make sure to bring a PIAA physical, knee pads, lunch, and plenty of water. Conditioning will continue the entire week of August 29th. Contact Karina Hirschfield ( for more information.

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SLA Poetry Team Wins East Division!

By Otter Jung-Allen

​Congratulations to SLA's Slam League poetry team for winning the East Division this past Friday! After five weeks of competition, SLA has beaten teams such as Strawberry Mansion, Mastery Lenfest, and Cristo Rey. SLA has earned the right to skip semifinals and the first round of Championships! We are on our way to another citywide championship! Props to all of the poets who touched stage this season and have worked hard to create a safe space for all Philadelphia's youth writers.

Make sure to save the date for March 27, our final showcase before Slam League Championships. More details to come! 

And remember: you can't spell SLAY without S-L-A!
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SLA Boys Varsity Ultimate Wins Tourney!

The Science Leadership Academy won Division II of the Hip Hop on Pop Tourney in Oaks, PA on Sunday with four straight wins to take the day! The boys started their day with a 13-5 win over Barrack Hebrew Academy. The first game saw the team start slowly, winning half 7-4 before going on 6-1 run to win the game. SLA started slowly in their second game, going down 2-0 to Cardinal O'Hara before raising their level of play. Sophomore Saamir Baker led the team with some of his most inspired offensive play as a Rocket. SLA took half 7-4 in that game, and won 13-6. SLA played their most complete game in their third game, beating Strath Haven 13-2 to set up a finals match up against the host school - Perkiomen Valley.

The finals saw SLA get tested like no other game that day, with the teams trading early points. SLA struggled late in the first half against Perkiomen Valley's zone defense, and PV took half 7-5. But the Rockets saved their best for last, as the seniors stepped up to bring the Rockets back. Tri-captains Jonas Bromley, Miles Cruice-Barnett and Andrew Roberts played smart, disciplined ultimate against the tough Perkiomen Valley defense to put the Rockets on top 9-8. But PV was not done, tying the game at the time cap 9-9 to set up "Universe Point" to decide the game. 

On game point, the SLA offense clicked perfectly, and the game ended on a sophomore connection - Eli Block to Nate Little to Jori Gerveni for the win and the trophy! It was a great day of Ultimate for the Rockets, with all 11 players making key contributions toward the tournament victory. Go Rockets! 
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Boys Ultimate Beats Masterman to Start Season

The Science Leadership Academy Boys Varsity Ultimate team kicked off their season with a 15-13 win over Masterman in cold, rainy conditions on Tuesday. The game was a windy affair with upwind goals at a premium. SLA jumped out to a 4-1 lead before a series of turnovers allowed Masterman to come back into the game, eventually taking the half with an 8-7 lead. 

The second half saw stellar play from the senior tri-captains, Jonas Bromley, Miles Cruice-Barnett and Andrew Roberts, as the senior leaders made play after play in the windy conditions. Sophomore Jorin Gerveni turned in one of his best games as a Rocket, making key defensive plays and consistently gaining big yards on offense. 

The game went right down to the wire, with SLA losing late in the game 13-12. But the Rockets rallied and scored the final three goals to clinch a 15-13 win to start the season with a bang! 
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Debate Returns to the National Championships!

Congratulations to Nashay Day, Anna Sugrue, Kia DaSilva, and Eva Karlen on qualifying for the NCFL Grand National Tournament in Public Forum Debate. Last year, SLA became the first Philly school to send a debate team to the national tournament. This year, we are sending two teams in only our second year as part of the league! They will compete for the national championship in Sacramento, California over Memorial Day weekend. Wish them luck!
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SLA in the News

​Two recent articles about all the good work at SLA:

How Engineering Class in 9th Grade Can Excite Diverse Learners - a write-up of the incredible work of the Engineering programs at SLA-Center City and SLA@Beeber. 

When Black Teens Get Real About America’s Love of Light Skin - A article about an incredible project by SLA senior Joie Nearn in Mr. Block's English class. 

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State Farm Grants SLA a New Maker Space!

The State Farm Youth Advisory Board has granted Science Leadership Academy - Center City $99,007 to build a new MakerSpace in support of the inquiry-driven, project-based curriculum of the school. The MakerSpace will support both the Engineering program at SLA and the overall academic program, enabling students to create artifacts of their learning in new and powerful ways! 

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Support SLA by Shopping!

Families - 

If you use for your holiday shopping, you can raise money for our school just by shopping! 

If you go to and identify Science Leadership Academy HSA as your charity, a percentage of your purchases will go to SLA every time you shop! All you have to do is go to every time, rather than, and it will always happen at no extra cost to you! 

Support SLA while shopping, who could ask for more?

Happy shopping!

-- Mr. Lehmann
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Girls Volleyball Practice to Start 8/27

Tryouts for both SLA Center City and SLA Beeber students will take place on August 25th & 26th from 1:30 pm - 4pm at SLA Beeber, located at 59th and Malvern Streets. PIAA sports physicals are mandatory. Bring knee pads and a bottle of water.

*For incoming 9th graders at SLA Center City, students will meet immediately after the Summer Institute and travel to SLA Beeber with the volleyball manager. 

Updated Pre-season practice schedule
8/27: SLA Beeber, 1-4pm
8/28: SLA Beeber, 1-4pm
9/2: Lloyd Hall, 1-4 pm
9/3: Lloyd Hall, 1-4 pm
9/4: Lloyd Hall, 1-3 pm

* 9/8: First game of the season against Saul HS

For any questions contact coach Karina Hirschfield at
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Ultimate Frisbee Captains' Practice

There is an optional practice for all Ultimate Frisbee players - girls and boys - directly after Summer Institute on Tuesday through Thursday, 8/25-27. The teams will be leaving from Science Leadership Academy at 12:10 and will play through 2:30. Contact boys co-captain Jonas Bromley at jbromley [at] for more information. 
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Cheerleading Mini-Clinic

There will be a competitive cheerleading interest "mini-clinic" on Friday, August 28, 2015 at SLA @ Beeber from 10AM-12PM with Coach Peggy Gilligan in the gym.  Please come dressed ready to work out.  Try-outs for the team will take place during the first week of school.  Please make sure that if you are planning on trying out that you have a CURRENT PIAA physical.  Coach Peggy will have extra copies if you need them to take to your doctor. 
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Girls Soccer Practices During Summer Institute

Girls Soccer practice/tryouts will be held on the following dates:
Tuesday-Thursday, August 25-27 time TBD
Tuesday-Thursday, September 1-3 time TBD

We will meet at SLA 20 minutes before practice begins to walk to the field together. Players must have shinguards and water to practice and may not compete without a PIAA physical. 

Contact Ms. Siswick for more information at
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Cross-Country Practices to Start 8/25

All students are welcome to join the 2015 Cross Country Team! All runners at every level are welcome.

Practice begins on August 25th, rain or shine. Please bring a water bottle and a piece of fruit. Here's the pre-season and beginning of school schedule:

8/25, 26, 27 : Practice from 7-8:45
9/1, 2, 3 : Practice from 7-8:45

9/7, 8 : No practice

9/9, 11, 14, 15, 16: practice from 7-8 am

On 9/18, we will resume our regular after-school practice schedule.

The first meet is scheduled for 9/10 at the Belmont Plateau.

Please email Coach Owens with any questions: 
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SLA Ultimate Rocks the State Championship!

Congratulations to the Girls and Boys Ultimate Frisbee teams for their performance at the State Championships this weekend! The teams headed to Slippery Rock University on a midnight bus after the Senior Prom to compete at States. The Girls team placed third in the state behind seniors Nikki Adeli, Amani Bey, Amy Chen and Imani Holness. The boys finished 11th with 13 seniors on the roster -  KaBoni Bailey, Brian Birkmire, True Black, Kenyatta Bundy, Marcus Burrell, Teion Ensley-Ellerbe, Traevon Gray, Timmy Ingram, Alhaji Koita, Pierce Luck, Julian Makarechi, Chris Tran, and Richard Yoeun. 

Congratulations to both teams and to all the graduating seniors on an amazing SLA career! 
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SLA Debaters Qualify for Nationals!

SLA senior debaters Nikki Adeli and Ruby Jane Anderson have qualified for the Debate National Championships in Fort Lauderdale, FL over Memorial Day weekend! Ruby and Nikki debated whether or not, In the United States, students should be guaranteed two years of free tuition to a community or technical college, and the senior duo went undefeated in Qualifiers to become the first Philadelphia public school team to qualify for Nationals. 

Congratulations and good luck, Nikki and Ruby!

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Congratulations to 2015 FIBOT Winners!

Seniors Alaina Silverman, Amani Bey, Darya Nemati, Edgar Pacio, Maggie Hohenstein and Reggie Simmons were awarded the prestigious Franklin Institute Board of Trustees Scholarship! Each year, the FIBOT committee awards five SLA seniors with intention to major in STEM fields a two-year, $5000 / yr scholarship. This year's applications were some of the most competitive the committee has ever seen, and as a result, the Board of Trustees added a sixth winner!

​Congratulations to this year's Franklin Institute Board of Trustees Scholarship Winners! 

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Girls Basketball Advances in Playoffs!

by Antoinette Hiller & Imani Holness

The SLA Rockets launched their way to the 2nd round in the Girls' Basketball playoffs. The team had an amazing win yesterday against Delaware Valley Charter, beating the Warriors 64- 18. Sophomore Dejah Williams scored 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and secured 5 blocks. Sophomore Devia Terry had an incredible game with 10 points and 17 rebounds. Lastly, Imani Holness, co- captain, had 10 rebounds. Everyone on the team was able to score due to non- stop teamwork and unbreakable determination. The Rockets are scheduled to play the Academy @ Palumbo Wednesday at 11th St, and Catharine at 3:15.  Good luck to the Rockets! 
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The 4th Floor Publishes Chapbooks

Science Leadership Academy's Literary Magazine, The 4th Floor, has partnered with The Head and the Hand Press to install a chapbook vending machine in our 3rd floor ballroom. The vending machine is filled with chapbooks from local authors, including SLA's own Ruby Anderson and Alex Marothy. Be sure check out the vending machine next time you are in the mood for a tasty short story!

Be sure to read CBS Philly's story about the kick-off event!
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Ms. Martin Wins the Be Well Philly Award!

Congratulations to SLA's incredible Health and Physical Education teacher, Pia Martin! She has been named the 2014 Be Well Philly Health Hero! Thank you to all the SLA families who voted for her - Ms. Martin designated the SLA Home and School as her charity, and because of her amazing work, the SLA Home and School will be receiving $3000! 

And thank you to Ms. Martin for all the incredible work you do for SLA students and faculty! 

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SLA Featured on PBS NewsHouse

Esteemed education reporter ​John Merrow visited Science Leadership Academy recently to look at how what our school is doing is part of the larger School District of Philadelphia discussion of innovation. Part One of Mr. Merrow's report aired last night on the PBS News Hour. Part two will air tonight, December 2nd, at 6pm. 

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SLA Boys Season Review

The SLA Boys Soccer team finished their season with a strong 8-3 record. With great leadership from Max Amar-Olkus and William Derry, the team came together to establish themselves as a strong soccer program that improved throughout the season. The team finished second in the Public League C-Division, posting an 8-1 record in league play. 

A special thank you to all players and parents who showed their hard work and dedication all season with their commitment to practice and support at our games!
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Future of SLA Meeting

Wednesday, Sept. 17
SLA Cafe

Come join members of the SLA community as we talk to representatives from the School District of Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute to discuss where SLA will live after our lease is up in June 2016.

Come make your voice heard! 
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Back To School Nights

9th and 12th Grade Back to School Night
Tuesday, September 16th - 6pm
9th Grade: Welcome to SLA - Meet your teachers and advisors.
12th Grade: College and Senior Life Meeting

10th and 11th Grade Back to School Night
Thursday, September 18th - 6pm
Meet with Advisory Families and meet your teachers

We look forward to seeing all SLA families at Back to School Night!
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Parents: Get Your Tickets to the SLA Silent Auction!

​Save Friday, March 7 for SLA's Silent Auction

5th Annual Rocket to the Stars Silent Auction

When: March 7, 2014 at 6:30

Where: Girard College

Included: Delicious appetizers from Catering by Miles,
buffet dinner, Moore Brothers Wine, Yards Beer,
coffee and pastries from La Finca Café & Caterers,
AND music by SLA’s own Retro Rockets

Bonus: Free Parking!

You can purchase your "tickets" or sponsorships by sending in a check to SLA Home and School at 55 N. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103 or by using the online button to make your payment using your Paypal account or credit card.

For More Information: Go to the SLA Home and School blog! 
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Girls Volleyball in Semi-Finals!

[written by Jasmin Hussain]​

Congratulations to SLA's girls volleyball team for making it to the district semifinals! The team is having a terrific year in the Gold Division. They won three back to back games last Thursday and Monday-- first, winning 3-2 sets against Bodine, then 3-0 against Lincoln which concluded the season. The girls went on to play against CAPA and got their first playoff win ever with 3-1 sets. The Rockets have made it to the finals and will play Masterman this Friday, October 25th.

At the CAPA playoff game, sophomore Malwina Dymek once again scored multiple consecutive points putting SLA in the lead. Co-captian Leah Petty joined forces with SLA-Beeber freshmen Alisa Foster by setting the balls and hitting them over to the other side flawlessly.  All in all, the girls were quite impressive on the court!

This season has been one of the most challenging seasons the Rockets have faced, yet the team is playing tough, showing great teamwork, and working hand in hand with Coach Hirschfield to make it this far. Go Rockets!

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Girls Volleyball Beats Fels

Congratulations to SLA's Girls volley ball team for winning 3-0 games against Samuel Fels High School last Thursday! This is the first year the girls are playing in the gold division and they are holding their own! Junior Klarissa Hudson started off the game tough by scoring 11 points in a row before receiving a serve from Fels. Junior and co-captain Leah Petty lead the team through the second game by scoring six consecutive points, and maneuvering some amazing blocks. The girls played tough and showed great teamwork, just as sophomore Malwina Dymek scored the game point in the last game giving SLA its third win this season. Coach Hirschfield and the team have been practicing hard this season and their efforts are paying off.

The Rockets have three more games left in the season, taking on George Washington HS on Tuesday, Bodine on Thursday, before playing their last game of the season against Lincoln High next Monday. Go Rockets!

by Jasmin Hussain
photo (2)
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Boys Ultimate Wins Back to Back Games!

The SLA Boys Ultimate team won back to back games on Thursday and Friday, beating Cheltenham 15-8 on Thursday and taking down Masterman 15-4 on Friday. The Rockets were led by Junior Julian Makarechi who threw for ten goals across the two games and senior Roger Bracy who caught eleven goals. 

The two games represented the highest caliber Ultimate the Rockets have played yet, with all players contributing to the wins. Junior True Black played a strong game, both offensively and defensively against Cheltenham, and junior Marcus Burrell anchored the SLA defense in both games. Senior co-captains Robert Jenkins and Matt Marshall played their usual brand of strong offensive Ultimate, and junior Pierce Luck scored and threw multiple goals in each game.

The Rockets have two home games next week, taking on Archbishop Carroll on Thursday and rematching Masterman on Friday. Both games are at the 31st and Chestnut St field. Go Rockets!
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Boys Soccer Opens With Victory Over E&S!

Congratulations to the boys soccer team, who played very well in their first game of the season beating E&S 6-1. With Captain Jeff Schwartz scoring 2 goals, and Tomy Fleurine adding another in the first 5 minutes of the game, the team decided to play the rest of the game focusing on defense. Jhonas Dunakin did an amazing job at keeper, stopping 4 shots that looked to surely be goals, and 19 in total. Max Amar-Olkus scored his first goal for SLA as did Freshmen Jason Greene and Matt Willson. Owen Grzywinski, James Prell, Ethan Reese, Willy Willson, and Estefan Carrillo anchored a stout defense, although it looked like Willy wanted to be out on the ice again at times; as did Jacob Lotkowski, who in a great hustle play earned a very questionable yellow card. Ilker Erkut had 2 assists with William Derry, Alejandro Garcia, and Quinn Grzyzinski adding one each. Congratulations again to the boys soccer team.
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SLA Families Go To Harrisburg

[Post Written by SLA Parent Sarah Stuart]

The SLA kids were awesome yesterday.  Leo Levy, Jordan McLaughlin, Mia Weathers-Fowler, Amy Chen, Goldie Robins and Taylor Thomas were articulate, powerful and magnificent.  They worked so hard and did SLA proud.

SLA parents were also amazing.  Anne Bigler, Arden Kass, Liz Hersh, Laura Schwingel, and Denise Larabee came through in each and every way.  Anne and Arden especially did a heavy lift in pulling together the letters excerpts, designing the posters and producing the "program" of our press event.  The event would NOT have happened without them.

It's an honor to be associated with such dedicated students and parents!  

Thank you to everyone at SLA who made yesterday possible!

Media Footage: Metro Philly

KYW News

Philly Magazine


Patriot News (Mia Weathers is quoted towards the end of this story)



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Boys Ultimate Beats Abington Friends

In their final warm-up game before the State Qualifying tournament this weekend, the SLA Boys Ultimate team had one of their most convincing wins of the season, beating Abington Friends 15-4. SLA was led sophomores Brian Birkmire with four goals thrown and two goals scored, Julian Makarechi with two goals scored and three goals thrown, and junior Nuri Bracey with seven defensive blocks. 

The team plays in the Division 1 Philadelphia Area Championships at Archbishop Carroll on Saturday, go Rockets!
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SLA To Open Second Campus at Beeber Middle School Site

Due to the overwhelming demand from the students and families of Philadelphia, the Science Leadership Academy and The Franklin Institute are proud to announce the opening of the Science Leadership Academy - Beeber Campus. Science Leadership Academy – Beeber (SLA-B) will open with 125 9th graders at the Beeber Middle School complex in the fall. SLA-B is being generously supported by a $1.9 million grant from Philadelphia School Partnership. 

The students of the inaugural class of SLA-B will be chosen from the students who interviewed for SLA in the fall. Students who are still on the waiting list for SLA can email their interest to; teachers interested in working at SLA-B should send copies of their resume and a cover letter to  

For the full story, check Jenn Wright's story at
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Boys Ultimate Beats Masterman

On Thursday, the Boys Ultimate team beat Masterman HS 15-9, marking the first time SLA Ultimate has beaten Masterman. SLA was led by the defensive heroics of junior Roberto Abazoski and sophmore Pierce Luck. Junior captain Rob Jenkins threw four of SLA's 15 goals, and sophomore True Black scored the game winner. The team put together its most complete game of the year, playing precision Ultimate on both offense and defense. 

SLA continues its season on Saturday morning at Edgely Fields for a tournament that will see them face off against Lower Merion, Methacton and Archbishop Carroll. Go Rockets!
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Help SLA Win $50K from Clorox!

Clorox wants to support healthy schools with the Power a Bright Future grant! SLA has qualified for the final round of context with a $50K ask to continue our innovative laptop program. The winning school is the one with the most votes between now and December 19th! You can vote for SLA once a day! 

Register your vote here:

Vote early! Vote often!
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Girls Soccer Wins Public League Championship!

The SLA Girls Soccer teamed defeated Philadelphia Academy Charter School (PACHS) 4-2 on Wednesday Oct. 31st to capture the Single “A” Public League Championship. 

Sophomore Alyssa Winner scored two goals and Aateeyah Sherrieff and Korah Lovelace each added one a piece for the victory.

SLA never trailed in the game, but it took a penalty kick by Lovelace 25 minutes into the second half to break a tense 2-2 tie. Winner iced the game with a rocket into the side netting with 10 minutes left to play.

SLA opened the scoring early with Winner hitting a direct kick from 25 yards out into the upper-right corner above the goalkeeper at the five-minute mark of the first half. PACHS equalized off a scramble following free kick in the SLA end of the field 18 minutes later and the teams entered the half tied at 1-1.

Sharrieff opened the scoring in the second half on a scramble in the goal mouth following a bobble by the PACHS keeper at the seven-minute mark of the second half. PACHS soon equalized, however, and the game entered a tense period with neither team producing scoring opportunities.

The 2-2 tie was broken when Michelle Torelli streaked down the left wing to chase down a loose ball in the PACHS defensive end. Her hustle earned a penalty as she was brought down in the box by a defender. Lovelace coolly converted the penalty kick in the lower right corner of the net to give the rockets the winning goal.

The playoff win by the Rockets avenges a 2-1 loss to PACHS during regular season and brings their record up to 10 wins and five losses.

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Ultimate Beats Central!

The SLA Ultimate team picked up a big win with a 15-7 win over Central High School on Tuesday. The team was led by captains Rob Jenkins and Matt Marshall, with strong games by senior Jakobi Martin-Howard and sophomores Brian Birkmire, True Black and Julian Makarechi. The game was a co-ed game, and SLA girls Ultimate players Imani Holness, Nikki Adeli and Alyssa Winner all had very strong games as well. Both the boys and girls teams end their season on Saturday at the Kit Kat Tournament at Edgely Fields in Fairmount Park.  
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Boys Soccer Keeps Winning!

The Science Leadership Academy's Boys Soccer team brought home another victory against Douglas High School with a final score of 7 to 0. This was made possible because of the dedication and strength each player devoted to the game. It's important to acknowledge Tomy Fleurine, Daniel Wirt, Jeffrey Schwartz, Owen Grzywinski, Ilker Erkut for all scoring goals during this match. Jhonas Dunakin continues to shine as goalie by making unbelievable saves and leading his team to success. Keep up the good work!

Story by Cyndi Lynn Sheridan

Science Teacher Gamal Sherif Recognized By Temple U.

SLA science teacher was recognized by Temple University in their most recent issue of Educator Magazine. In the feature story, "The Science of Teaching Science... and Everything Else," Mr. Sherif's innovative, progressive teaching style is highlighted as a model for educators everywhere. Read the entire article and see cameo photos and quotes from many SLA students from the Class of 2015!

Congrats, Mr. Sherif!
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Boys Soccer Wins a Thriller Over Lamberton

Another amazing win for Science Leadership's boys soccer team against Lamberton High School! Each player played beyond their potential and gave this team a fight to the finish. Jhonas Dunakin kept his team in the game by making unbelievable saves. A tremendous performance by Winston Wright in not only the defensive zone, but for also having a goal that was perfectly assisted by Owen Powers. In addition, a shout out to Daniel Wirt for his outstanding effort throughout the entire game. He made sure to encourage each of his teammates, as well as assist Jeffrey Schwartz with an unstoppable goal. This team has so much strength and dedication on and off the field. Way to go boys!

story by CyndiLynn Sheridan
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Boys Soccer Continues Winning Ways

Congratulations to Science Leadership Academy's boys soccer team with an outstanding win over Roxborough High School with a final score of 8 - 0. A remarkable performance by Jeffrey Schwartz with four goals as well as goals made by Rabbi Awsan, Ruben Burenstein, William Johnson, and Jacob Lotkowski. It is also important to recognize Owen Powers, Ethan Reese, and Daniel Wirt for assisting their teammates with these goals. The goalie, Jhonas Dunakin, made incredible saves. William Derry filled in for goalie in the second half having a great save on a penalty kick. Overall, the offense did a great job at passing the ball, and the defense did an excellent job at protecting their side of the field.

by CyndiLynn Sheridan
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Girls Volleyball Starts Summer Conditioning

SLA's Girls Volleyball Conditioning begins the week of August 27th from 10:00 am- 2:00 pm!

All interested girls MUST bring current physicals and knee pads.  We will meet at SLA and then walk to the field on Chestnut and 31 St.

Practices will take place on Tuesdays from 3:00-5:00 pm and Thursdays from 4:00 -5:00 pm at the field (on Chestnut and 31st) or Freire Charter School.  Questions should be addressed to Coach Hirschfield at or 917-797-9807.

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9th Grade Summer Reading Info

Dear Incoming Ninth Grader, 

Welcome to SLA! Before coming to school in September we'd like you to read one of three books:The House of the Scorpion (Nancy Farmer), The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), or Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card). 

While you may get the book from the library, we strongly suggest that you purchase your choice text, as we will be using it in English classes in September.  Of course, feel free to read more than one title!  They are all so great!

Below are some questions to help you navigate your novel and help you prepare to discuss it with your classmates and teachers. As you may already know, SLA utilizes guiding questions that help focus our studies and make learning more meaningful for us all.

As you read, think about the following larger questions as they apply to the characters,action, conflicts, and resolutions in your choice text and also as they apply to your life. Part of active reading includes some writing. Prepare to hand in a journal consisting of at least eight entries, each one longer than a half page.  Before you write, consider the following questions to explore in your journal. Include your own personal responses to these questions, and how these questions might apply to your choice text. This will be collected in September.

  • What is family?
  • What is the power of friendship?
  • What does it mean to be a caregiver/mother/father?
  • What is education and where can it exist?
  • What is love?
  • How does a person become evil?
  • In what ways can the line between good and evil be blurred?
  • How do you justify the idea that a person can be both good and evil at the same time?
  • Who is a survivor? Why?
  • What does it mean to be human?
  • How can children create their own paths in a world run by the adults?

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President Barack Obama Speaks To The Class of 2012

President Barack Obama addressed the Science Leadership Academy Class of 2012 at The Franklin Institute today. In his remarks, President Obama challenged the graduates to change the world, stating, "There is somebody in this room who’s going to help make sure that we are defeating diseases like Alzheimer’s or cancer.  There is somebody in this room who is going to help revolutionize our agricultural sector, or our transportation sectors, or will invent some entire new industry that we don’t even know about yet." The faculty of SLA could not agree more! 

Thank you to President Barack Obama for an incredible gift that the graduates will take with them for the rest of their lives, and congratulations to the Class of 2012! 
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Early Dismissal - Monday, June 11th

In anticipation of the extreme heat, the School District of Philadelphia has notified us that schools will be closing at 12:00 noon tomorrow June 11th, and all extra-curricular activities are cancelled. However, this does not in any way affect tomorrow's graduation. Graduation rehearsal will still be at 8:00 am and graduation ceremonies will begin at 6:00 pm with all seniors to report to TFI by 4:00 pm. 


Thank you,

Mr. Lehmann

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Senior Laptop Turn In Day

Dear Seniors,

Laptop turn in is Thursday, June 7th starting promptly at 10:30. Please come with your laptop and charger, if you no longer have a charger there is a $25.00 fee.  

During this time you will be cleaning out your locker and turning in all materials issued from the school. If you are missing any issued materials please check in with your teacher about the cost of those items. 

Seniors should report to the following rooms:

D band Global report to 506 Latimer

B band Econ report to 313 Rami

B band Global report to 303 Dunn

D band Econ report to 308 Best 

Thank you,

Mr. Lehmann and Ms. Hull

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Congratulations to the 2012 FIBOT Winners!

Congratulations to the 2012 Franklin Institute Board of Trustee Scholarship Winners! 

Luna Frank-Fischer
Dia Johnson
Jeff Kessler
Natalie Sanchez
Marina Stuart
Whitney Washington

Thank you to The Franklin Institute Board of Trustees for their generous support of SLA students and thank you to all the SLA students who applied. Congratulations!
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Parents Leading SLA's Fuel the Rocket Campaign

SLA's Home and School is running a "Fuel the Rocket Campaign" to raise $40,000 to help close next year's budget gap.  These funds will pay for keeping the building open until 6pm, school supplies and after school programs.

We are almost half way toward our goal!  No amount is too small.  Monthly donations are welcome.  

Please online donate today or send a check to SLA Fuel the Rocket, c/o Home & School, 55 N. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Rocket to the Stars a HUGE Success!

Congratulations to the Home and School Association for an INCREDIBLE event on Friday night! Over 200 folks showed up to support Science Leadership Academy. The night featured the SLA Parent Band (and rumors of a Van Morrison imitation by Mr. Lehmann are completely unfounded... unfounded, I tell you!), some chocolate-covered Oreos, and more items to bid on than we can name. While the final numbers are not yet in, it looks we raised more money than last year!

Thank you to Randi Kessler and all the members of the Auction committee and the entire Home and School Board for their tireless work for our school!

Fuel the Rocket!
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Reed Timmer of Storm Chasers and Mayor Nutter Visit SLA!

SLA welcomed Mayor Nutter and Storm Chaser Reed Timer for a visit on Friday, March 23rd. Mr. Timmer spoke to the entire 11th grade at The Franklin Institute in the morning and then met with a smaller, multi-grade group in the library. Mr. Timmer was duly impressed with the thoughtful and complex questions SLA students, and Mayor Nutter told us that he would return!
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PSSA Schedule

​March 1, 2012

Dear Parents/Guardians of SLA Juniors:

The PSSA Tests are coming up.  The dates, section(s) tested, and start times are:

Date  Section Start Time in testing room
3/20:  Math/reading sections 1 and 2  8:15 am
3/21:  Math/reading sections 3 and 4 9:00 am
3/22:  Math/reading sections 5 and 6 8:15 am
4/17:  Writing sections 1 and 2 8:15 am
4/18:  Writing sections 3 and 4 9:00 am
4/25:  Science Sections 1 and 2 9:00 am
4/26:  Science Section 3 8:15 am

Please make sure that all students are ON TIME. 

On Wednesdays, juniors should be in their testing room by 9 am. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, juniors should be in their testing room by 8:15 am. Breakfast will be provided in the testing rooms on all days.

Testing standards call for all phones/PDAs/computers/anything electronic to be restricted in the testing area. During testing, you will not be able to contact your son or daughter on the phone, or via text message. In the event of an emergency, call the school. 

The only thing that students can do if they finish testing early is to remain in the testing room and read.  Please make sure they bring a book!

Packing a snack for the testing block is encouraged.

Please do not schedule any outside appointments on testing days.

Please make sure your student has plenty of rest.

Stephanie Dunda and Sunil Reddy, Testing Coordinators

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Parent Conference Schedule: Feb. 15 - 17

​Next week, February 15th - 17th, we will be having Winter Parent Conferences. These conferences will be different than our Narrative Report Card conferences as they will be using our Standards Based Report Cards, not our Narrative Report Cards as the complimentary data to the report cards. As a result, parents and students will be able to speak to specific teachers after checking in with their advisors. 

The schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, Feb. 15th: Grade 12
  • Parent Conferences on February 15th from 1:00 pm-3:30 pm
  • Meet in advisories from 1:00-1:30pm to have a bite to eat and get the SDP report card and the Standards Based Report Cards
  • 1:30-3:30 - 12th grade teachers will be in their classrooms to meet with parents regarding student progress and development.
  • All seniors should report to their Advisory at 1:00.
  • All 10th and 11th graders have their ILPs
  • All 9th graders go to The Franklin Institute

Thursday, February 16th: Grades 10/11
  • Parent Conferences on February 16th from 1:00pm-3:30pm
  • Meet in advisories from 1:00-1:30pm to have a bite to eat and get the SDP report card and the Standards Based Report Cards
  • 1:30-3:30 - 10th/11th grade teachers will be in their classrooms to meet with parents regarding student progress and development.
  • Classes end at 12:50.
  • All sophomores and juniors should report to their Advisory at 1:00.

Friday, February 17th: Grade 9
  • Parent Conferences on February 17th from 1:00pm-3:30pm
  • Meet in advisories from 1:00-1:30pm to have a bite to eat and get the SDP report card and the Standards Based Report Cards
  • 1:30-3:30 - 9th grade teachers will be in their classrooms to meet with parents regarding student progress and development.
  • Classes end at 12:20
  • All 9th graders should report to their Advisory at 1:00.

We look forward to see all SLA parents next week!

Mr. Lehmann

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EduCon 2.4 a Huge Success!

To the parents and students and teachers of SLA:

This weekend, Science Leadership Academy hosted EduCon 2.4 - a national education conference exploring the intersection of progressive educational philosophy and 21st Century tools. Over 500 educators from more than 40 states and six different countries came to SLA to learn with us. By all accounts the conference was an incredible success, both from a philosophical standpoint and a financial one - as the conference raised over $50,000 to kick off this year's laptop fundraising. The conference was run completely by student, parent, teacher and administrator volunteers, and we could not have done it without them. Thank you to all the students and parents and teachers who gave freely of their time and energy. We heard over and over again from hundreds of conference participants how incredible this community is and how amazing our students and parents are. Thank you all for the work you do and for being an incredible example to the world of what a school can achieve together.

-- Mr. Lehmann
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Tickets Available for the 2012 Rocket to the Stars Silent Auction

Please save March 23, 2012 for an adult-only evening of food and fun at the THIRD ANNUAL ROCKET TO THE STARS Silent Auction.  This year's event will be at the Chemical Heritage Foundation at 315 Chestnut Street in the Old City neighborhood of Philadelphia.

This fundraising event is Home & School's biggest of the year. Funds raised go toward school trips, sports equipment, fees for science fairs, field trips, SAT prep classes, and SAT applications, music programs, clubs, painting & repair of the school interiors, and supplies.

Buy your ticket(s) online today through the Home and School's Paypal Account!

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Back to School Nights!

SLA Families: 

Back to School Nights are coming!

10th and 11th grade Back to School Night is on Tuesday, September 20th from 6:00pm - 8:30pm.

9th and 12th grade Back to School Night is on Thursday, September 22th from 6:00pm - 8:30pm.

We hope to see all SLA families there!

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Support SLA Athletics - Shop at Modells

If you are planning a trip to Modells, be sure to print out the attached coupon and get 15% off your purchase while supporting SLA! For the next four weeks, Modells will donate 5% of all purchases made with the coupon back to SLA Athletics!

Planning on buying some Phillies playoff gear or just a new pair of sneakers? Be sure to support SLA when you do!
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SLA to Dismiss at 3:30 on Sept. 8th

Science Leadership Academy will have a shortened advisory and dismiss at 3:30 pm today so that students can get an earlier start on SEPTA. The only students who will be allowed in the building after 3:30 will be those who are waiting for parents to pick them up. We are urging all students to go straight home today given the traffic issues affecting the city.
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First Two Days of School Schedule

All classes on Tuesday and Wednesday are 1's - X1, Y1, A1, B1, etc

Tuesday, Sept. 6th: 

8:15-10:15am - 2 hour advisory

10:20-11:35 - X band

11:40-12:45 - Y band

12:50-1:55 - A Band

2:00-3:05 - B Band

Wednesday, Sept. 7th:

8:15-9:15am - 1 hour advisory

9:20-10:25 - C Band

10:30-11:35 - D Band

11:40-12:45 - E Band

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Summer Institute

Reminder to all incoming Science Leadership Academy families:

SLA's Summer Institute will be held Monday, August 22nd to Thursday, August 25th, from 9:00 am - 12:30 pm. Students should bring a pen and paper for the first day, and lunch will not be provided. 

We look forward to seeing everyone!
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The Franklin Institute Board of Trustees Honors SLA Seniors

As part of the on-going and vital partnership between the Science Leadership Academy and The Franklin Institute, The Franklin Institute Board of Trustees have announced winners of The Franklin Institute Board of Trustees scholarship. The students will receive a $5,000 scholarship for their first year of college renewable for the second year. The competition for the scholarship was very strong this year, and we at SLA are proud of all who applied.

The winners are:
  • David Buckholz
  • Aidan Jamison-Frank
  • Sky Kalfus
  • Taylor Valentine
  • Maya Wright
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SLA Students Honored at World Language Convocation

Congratulations to the following students who have been recognized for their high achievement and performance in the study of Spanish! They will be awarded certificates for this honor on May 11 at the School District's World Languages Honors Convocation at Masterman.

Spanish 1: Bach Tong, Morgan Taylor

Spanish 2: Khalil Clark

Spanish 3: Gina Dukes

Spanish 4: Taylor Valentine

Spanish 5: Martha Robles

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Davonte Martin Wins Gates Millenium Scholarship

Congratulations to Davonte Shahir Martin for being the 2nd recipient of the Bill Gates Millennium Scholarship at Science Leadership Academy. Gates Millennium Scholarship is granted to only 1,000 students across the country to further their education to the university of their choice.

The award is renewable for up to five years for an undergraduate degree in any discipline. Scholars who go on to pursue graduate degrees in computer science, education, engineering, library sciences, mathematics, public health, or science are eligible to receive continued funding.

Davonte will be attending Pennsylvania State University, main campus, and is interested in pursuing computer science and broadcasting majors. His interests are in film and media and he wishes to be part of executive media industry. 

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Financial Aid 101 Night

The SLA College Counseling Office invites students and parents to attend:


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SLA Cafe

Speaker: Chad A. Spencer, Senior Assistant Dean, Davidson College 

Topics covered: Financial aid basics, college costs, determination of aid eligibility, finding money for college.

If you have any questions, please contact Karina Hirschfield, SLA College Counselor at

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Franklin Institute Board of Trustrees Scholarship Open!

The Board of Trustees of The Franklin Institute is offering a $5,000.00 Franklin Institute Board of Trustee (FIBOT) Scholarship, renewable once, (to total $10,000.00) for outstanding Science Leadership Academy Class of 2011 students matriculating college and pursuing a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM).

The Board of Trustees anticipates awarding multiple scholarships each year. The requirements for the scholarship are:

  • Minimum 3.0 High School GPA

  • SAT Score

  • Two Letters of Recommendation

    • Primary Letter of Recommentation from a Teacher/Senior SLA Administrator

    • Secondary Letter of Recommendation from a Non-SLA individual

  • Declared STEM major for application

  • Personal statement addressing the question:
    "What is your career in the STEM field going to look like in the future?".

The deadline to apply is May 1, 2011.

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SLA Students Launch Phresh Philadelphia

On March 26th, Phresh Philadelphia, led by SLA junior Rashuan Williams, will be partnering with other organizations in the city hosting a ground breaking ceremony in celebration for the future they plan to build together. Phresh and their partner organizations will be rebuilding the Clearfield Street by rehabilitating vacant and broken properties, constructing urban gardening and street cleaning events, and empowering the community with economic education to help them manage the resources they receive. The location is 1324 Clearfield St. and everyone is invited to attend from 12:00am to 3:00pm. Students can sign up to volunteer with Phresh Philadelphia on the scheduled dates for some of these project development dates.
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SLA Slam Team Competes At Home Meet

Come out this Friday March 11th, to see your fellow peers represent SLA in the first slam of the Philly Youth Poetry Movement's Slam League. The event starts at 4:30pm, it is free and will be held in the drama studio at SLA. Schools competing include Germantown High School, Constitution High School, Central High School, Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, Overbrook High School and of course, Science Leadership Academy.


SLA's team is coached by Mr. Kay and Sinnea Douglas after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Anyone who wants to join is more than welcome. It is not too late! 

SLA placed 2nd in the Mock Slam on February 25th. Gina Dukes, Eryn James, and Joshua Melendez all participated and had tremendous performances. Check out the videos on the teams Facebook page:

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SLA Home and School Silent Auction - Rocket to the Stars!

Rocket to the Stars! Silent Auction & Raffle

Friday, March 11, 2011
6-9pm at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut Street

A festive evening of fellowship and fund-raising for our students. Come celebrate the SLA Community with parents, teacher and friends! $45 per person or $80/couple

Please RSVP today!

Use your invitation reply card or pay by credit card using PayPal

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The Auction Committee welcomes donations of tickets, items, or services. Please fill out this form to make an auction donation. Donations must be made by February 28th to get into the Auction Program.

Just want to make a donation? Click below to choose your own amount

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January 28th

To the parents of the Science Leadership Academy: 

As many of you know, school is cancelled tomorrow - the first day of EduCon. EduCon will still be happening, and attendees will begin arriving at school at 10:00 am. We will have activities for the attendees set up at school all day long and the building will be open. In addition, several of tomorrow night's panelists were planning on speaking to SLA kids during the day. Those conversations will still happen for students who wish to attend. 

No students are mandated to come to school, but the building will be open for EduCon. We know that many students are very committed to the conference and have been working very hard for tomorrow and the weekend. We are all committed to making sure that it is an incredible event for all. 

Students who wish to come in should bring in a note from their parents.
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Mr. Sherif Wins National Inquiry-Based Teaching Award

Congratulations to SLA Science and History teacher, Mr. Gamal Sherif, for being chosen by the National Science Teachers Assocation to be awarded the 2011 CPO Award for Excellence in Inquiry-based Science Teaching. Mr. Sherif was one of three teachers in the country and the only high school teacher to be chosen this year.

We at SLA are thrilled to see that NSTA has recognized what we have long known - that Mr. Sherif is a master teacher who helps students to inquire deeply about their world and learn powerfully from the questions they ask and the answers they find.

Congratulations Mr. Sherif, and thank you for all you do for SLA!
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A FAFSA completion workshop will be held here at SLA on January 19 at 6pm.  Sharon Scott and Nichole Moore, Assistant Directors, Student Financial Services, University of Pennsylvania will assist parents in completing the FAFSA application.  Students and parents must bring the following items:

Parent and student social security numbers

Parent and/or student Alien Registration Number (if applicable)

Parent and student 2009 0r 2010 W-2 Forms

Parent and Student 1040 Federal Income Tax Return for 2009 or 2010

Copies of untaxed income for 2010 (i.e. amount of any unemployment, welfare benefits or social benefits received)

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Boys Basketball Beats Rush

The Science Leadership Academy Boys Basketball team registered their first victory of the season on Tuesday with a win over the Arts Academy @ Benjamin Rush, 71-52. SLA was led by junior Sam Kabangai with 16 points and junior Tyler Hankinson with 13 points and 10 assists. SLA was leading at halftime 33-24, and then put the game away, out-scoring Rush 22-12 in the third quarter.

Come out and cheer on SLA on Friday, Dec. 17th as the Rockets take on Douglass. Go SLA!


Photo: Freshman Sterling Perry lays it up against Rush. (Photo credit: Ayanna Robinson)

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Scaer Speaker Series: Jonny Goldstein

As part of the on-going Scaer Library Speaker Series, Jonny Goldstein, founder of Envisualize, will be speaking at Science Leadership Academy during X lunch today, Tuesday, November 23rd. Students interested to learn how they can better visualize powerful ideas should come to the Scaer Library during lunch and meet one of the people re-thinking the way we communicate ideas.

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SLA Featured on Apple Website

The Science Leadership Academy is featured on the Apple Education website! SLA is one of four case studies showcased by Apple on how computing can change education. SLA is featured along with Greene County, NC School District, Ohio State University and Central Elementary School in California. SLA is the only high school and the only urban school to be showcased. Apple is using our case study to demonstrate to schools and universities all over the world how Apple products, along with a clearly defined progressive pedagogy, can transform schools. 

Thank you to Apple for choosing to showcase SLA, and thank you to all the teachers and students who gave their time to the project!

Be sure to check out the Science Leadership Academy case study on Apple's website!

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Donation for Musical Instruments

Faculty, Staff and Friends of SLA,

My Rock and Pop Music class is coming along nicely but we are lacking a few pieces of musical gear.

If anyone has guitars, electric guitars or basses, keyboards, microphones, guitar straps, mic or guitar stands, 1/4" instrument cables or amplifiers that they are not using and would like to donate to our cause, please do so!  We will use the gear!  We will dedicate songs to you and play them for you with your donated gear!  It will be great!!

I can be reached at if you have questions about this.



Josh Newman

Music Teacher/Librarian


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