Isaac A. Sheppard Elementary School, now 114 years old, could be living out its final days.
A tiny K-4 elementary school at Howard and Cambria in the heart of one Philadelphia's toughest neighborhoods, Sheppard is one of nine schools slated for closure as part of the School District's facilities master plan. At a Tuesday community meeting, District officials will make made their case for closing the ancient building and reassigning its students, prompting a huge outpouring of emotion from Sheppard supporters.
The people who are closest to the school argue that Sheppard is exactly what a neighborhood school should be. Its intimate family atmosphere harkens back to a style of education that is quickly fading away, says Principal James Otto. And Sheppard is one of the few remaining institutions left helping to hold together an otherwise struggling community, says parent Stephanie Rivera.
To get a better feel for what might be lost if Sheppard is shuttered, Philadelphia Public School Notebook reporter Benjamin Herold and photographer Jessica Kourkounis spent a day inside the school.
Their multimedia slideshow, produced in partnership with WHYY's NewsWorks, is above. A written version of this audio is also available here.