One of NewComm's final proposals to Tree House Books was to "divorce privilege from reading." My students argued that all of the new wonderful possibilities of a modern library is often not available to families who live in certain zip codes. Their program Passport--which they brainstormed, tested, edited, and executed--was designed to expose Tree House students to these possibilities at our very own library at Germantown Academy. Students did yoga, played scavenger hunt games, and designed their own stamps for their "passports."  (They got to keep the hand-carved wooden blocks as well.) There was an even snacks, pizza, and storytime. It was an awesome day! Thank you Lauren Popp for allowing us to work with your students this morning. So proud of NewComm. Can't wait for Year 3...

Our first Saturday workshop was a huge success.

On Saturday, November 15th, over 40 students and 10 faculty members gathered to engage with the NewCom model (using literature and design thinking to address non-profit challenges in Philadelphia)

Participants read Derek Walcott's "A Lesson for this Sunday", analyzed themes, connected these themes to literacy issues in Philadelphia, heard keynote addresses from literacy program TreeHouse Books, and brainstormed/presented a product to address their needs.

It was incredibly successful! Judging from the feedback, students really enjoyed doing this kind of deep dive into the social issues outside of the GA bubble.

Below are videos of the final presentations. STAY TUNED FOR OUR TWO-DAY WORKSHOP IN THE SPRING!

our first visit to TreeHouse Books

For a month, students have been investigating the issues and concerns over literacy in Philadelphia through the lens of both literature and TreeHouse Books. Today, we finally got a chance to sit and talk with Lauren Popp, program director and Mike Reid, executive director. We even pitched them a few of our ideas for their growth. It was an incredible time! We look forward to strengthening our partnership! 

Check out some pictures from our visit.

Lovely letters and a plea to GA faculty

Here is an email sent by the Director of Innovation and Special Programs Gaby Russomango to faculty members today. I REALLY want faculty to get involved, but I am posting it here, because I love how this email sounds. Is that weird? I dunno. Anyway, here it is:

Dear Faculty

Below is a letter from US teacher Chidi Asoluka to students in the upper school, announcing an exciting opportunity to work with The New Community Project in a full day workshop on Nov 15.  Many of you have asked about opportunities to understand unique ways to use design thinking in your curriculum.  The New Community Project combines literature, design thinking, and social responsibility into one inspired learning opportunity for students.  


Please take a moment to read Chidi's email below and follow the link to the new Community Project website.  All faculty are invited to participate in this program. This is an excellent professional development opportunity.  If you are interested in participating, simply follow the directions below to register.  The event on Nov 15 begins at 9 and ends at 4.  Lunch and snacks are provided!

Looking forward to seeing you there.


Gaby and Chidi

Hi GA!:


Thank you so much for your attention during my presentation on The New Community Project today. Again, we are a student think tank that combines design thinking and literature to help improve the city of Philadelphia. On November 15th, we will be hosting a one-day workshop where students will get the unprecedented opportunity to form companies and pitch ideas back to TreeHouse Books, a literacy non-profit located in North Central Philadelphia. Food and drink will provided. 

To RSVP, please click here——  and fill out the quick form. We already have 20 RSVPs at this point, so don’t wait!

Also, if you would like to learn more about the project, feel free to peruse the rest of the site. 

Thank you, and I look forward to working with you!

Mr. Asoluka