A Vision for Education – The MaST Model
Dear Parents, Guardians, Students, Staff, and Board of Trustees,
Welcome to MaST Community Charter School, a K-12 school that “creates innovative pathways for students pursuing knowledge focused on Mathematics, Science, and Technology.” Our school believes in looking toward the future, now! We focus on how students learn and reduce achievement gaps by creatively combining core subjects with STREAM initiatives.
As a STREAM school, we focus on embedding Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Arts, and Math into our K-12 curriculum and utilize technology to enhance the learning experience. We decided that by extending STEM into areas of arts and robotics, we were preparing students for new challenges that would enhance their thinking.
Technology is a key part of our learning environment because it is the way 21st Century students interact and learn, but is also key for the 21st century job market. Therefore, we are challenging our students by updating our technology programs and collaborative elective options yearly. From K-12, our pathway is continuous in keeping with our Board of Trustees’ initial vision, which is to educate every student with a focus on math, science, and technology.
As the world changes, MaST will look to the future for the best resources and latest technology to help students excel. Students will also have an opportunity to enjoy a variety of extra-curricular activities and athletic teams to make their experience well-rounded. I hope that you will embrace the opportunity to be involved at MaST in every way possible. It is the strong support from within the school, especially our families, that make MaST a special place to learn.
Seeing students learn in new ways and enjoy learning is something that I am passionate about and in today’s society, that begins and ends with hands-on learning, technology integration, and thinking futuristically about how learning happens in the classroom.
As the CEO of MaST , I want to continue to push the limits of education and encourage each of our students to “dream big.” Imagination is limitless when you have teachers and administrators to support that vision. We firmly believe, at MaST, that parents and students are a key part of the team. Personally, I believe the key is to think differently about how education can look. I have been with MaST since 2004 in 7 different positions including CIO, COO, and CEO for the past 6 years. I come from a unique background as an MBA and technology expert, but have converted my thinking to be an educational leader in Philadelphia by looking at our model as one of growth and preparing students to be the leaders in the future.
Our K-12 approach to learning allows students to grow with each other and experience collaborative instruction and development at several levels. Our success has been noted by Philadelphia Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Northeast Times, and The Notebook. We are currently ranged in the Top 30 high schools in PA out of over 600 schools by US News and World Report magazine.
The most recent article on MaST is featured here in The Philadelphia Daily News:
MaST has been named the Top Charter School in PA the past three years by Niche.com – https://www.niche.com/k12/mast-community-charter-school-philadelphia-pa/
MaST is a community school. We believe that families are part of the process because many people influence children throughout their lives, but their families are vital to their success inside and outside the classroom. Thus, we have both an Association of MaST Parents (AMP) and a Parent Liaison Committee. AMP is a collaborative fundraising group that works hand-in-hand with the school and myself for resources for student learning and activities. Last year, MaST raised over $100,000 between AMP and our new school store. All of the money went into new programs or replacement cycles for our sports teams and clubs. The Parent Liaison Committee (PLC) is a group that meets with me each month and also has parent forums to provide parents with a voice for new ideas and solving problems.
Branding and Expansion of MaST:
MaST has focused on branding the school. We have updated our website, kept our social media active, and gone completely digital with our communications.
This year, we have over 9,200 applications for 99 seats which means we will have a wait-list of over 8,800 students. With that said, we are encouraging parents, friends, and politicians to help get the message out that we want to continue to expand. We have applied for 2,600 more seats over the next 5 years and are looking at evolving our campus.
Last year, we were granted a new school, MaST Community Charter School II which just opened this past year as a K-3 charter school growing to K-12 over the next 7 years. MaST and MaST II currently have students from over 41 zip codes in the Philadelphia area.
Please feel free to help us by contacting your local officials to support the growth of our model. In the meantime, we have also looked to Bucks County for expansion in addition to our Philadelphia presence. We were just granted MaST-Neshaminy by the Supreme Court after battling for a charter in Neshaminy School District for 4 years. We did this because of a strong parent community wanting school choice. Our mission is to provide high quality educational opportunities for more students expanding our STREAM model.
Some of the highlighted spaces that are changing the landscape at MaST are:
- The Library Media Center
- The Lego BUILD IT Center
- The High School Makerspace
- The Middle School Makerspace
- The Wii Fit Center
- The STREAM Playground
- Our Dual Enrollment CCP Partnership
- A focus on 21st Century careers
- Growth across our facilities to create a better landscape for our children
This year, there have been many new initiatives within MaST to help make the K-12 continuum stronger and create a connection to outside organizations that can help diversify and strengthen the knowledge base of our students. MaST will continue to build on the STREAM model in the curriculum as we look to encourage students to grow independently within our school community and develop core values to compete at the next level of their life.
If you are passionate about education and believe that every child learns and thinks differently which is fostered by innovation and imagination then you are in the right place!
John F. Swoyer III
“Innovation is Awesome”