Spruce Hill / K to 5

untitled-39Principal Stephanie Hook calls our Spruce Hill campus a “college-preparatory elementary school.” Beginning with our youngest children, students are taught to love their lifelong pursuit of learning. Elementary students are creative, curious and inquisitive: we embrace their natural love for knowledge and help them understand learning in the context of a well-rounded Christian education. Our strong academic program is complemented by an innovative emphasis on the arts, and every subject is seen as an opportunity to explore how God works in our world. Small class sizes and nurturing teachers ensure each child is given the one-on-one attention they need to discover their academic potential.

Our elementary campus is located in the idyllic Spruce Hill neighborhood. This provides a safe, nurturing environment for our youngest students to flourish. We take advantage of many neighborhood opportunities, such as field trips to the Penn Police Department and treks to the beautiful Clark Park, just one block from campus.

The City School at Spruce Hill serves children age kindergarten through grade 5.

Faculty

Stephanie Hook

Stephanie Hook

Spruce Hill Principal

“My passion comes from the confidence I have in knowing that this is where God has placed me. I am also passionate about my work because of the impact and reach it has on each student in our school.  I am fueled by the return—the academic and spiritual growth of each life invested in. What we do in the elementary school sets the foundation for the joy lifelong learning.”

Stephanie joined The City School family as a parent in 1990, choosing to send her sons here to receive a rigorous education rooted in the glory of God. She quickly fell in love with our mission, began volunteering regularly, and was hired as our fifth grade teacher in 1998. Four years later she was promoted to elementary and middle school principal, where she has been faithfully serving ever since. Stephanie is very active in her church and community, and in her spare time she enjoys reading classics such as The Pilgrim’s Progress.

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Jean Marie Staico

Jean Marie Staico

Office Manager

“The Lord has blessed me to serve the students and parents of the City School by keeping the day-to-day operations at Spruce Hill flowing efficiently. Aside from the administrative paperwork, I look forward to meeting prospective students and their parents for the first time during their pre-admission interviews. My Office Manager position also doubles as a caretaker. I make sure each child is safely placed on the school bus, fix the occasional boo-boo from the playground, and even listen and pray with students who are having a bad day. It is a joy to witness the Lord transforming the hearts of children. Each heart is a little light that forms our school and allows it to shine bright in this big city.”

Jean Marie lives in Delaware County with her husband, two children, and a tabby cat named Sunny J. As our students will tell you, she enjoys baseball and loves the Phillies!

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Rebekah Williams

Rebekah Williams

Office Assistant

“I am truly blessed and thankful to God that he has placed me in such a wonderful place. I have the great privilege of working side by side with such loving and caring people. It is a blessing to know The City School students and their parents. Working here is incredibly satisfying, rich, and rewarding.”

Rebekah grew up in Dallas and Wichita, Texas, and she currently lives in Delaware County. She loves creating beautiful weddings and other special events. Rebekah enjoys spending time with her family and looks forward to church service on Sundays.

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Ashley Fornwalt

Ashley Fornwalt

Kindergarten Teacher

“I am passionate about children and our work at the city school because it is what I believe God has called me to. Seeing the impact I can have on the development of the whole child—spiritually, physically, emotionally, academically—gives me goose bumps.  As I grow, I am always getting a clearer picture of how God views us and invests in our growth and development. I view my job as an extension of God’s love and care for each child.”

Ashley lives with her husband and one-year-old son. She enjoys camping, gardening, and “attempting craft projects.”

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Donna Cammarata

Donna Cammarata

First Grade and Lead Teacher

“As a first grade teacher, my primary job is to teach the foundations that will become the building blocks for future learning. I also love to teach children who God is and to help them discover his glory through all subject areas. What students learn as first graders shapes the way they see the world throughout their lives, so I am honored to invest in these formative years.”

Donna is a proud native Philadelphian. She has a husband, three grown children, and two grandchildren. She enjoys reading, camping, and the Phillies.

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Adriana Melendez

Adriana Melendez

Spanish and First Grade Asst

“I love sharing my language and culture with the students and families of The City School. I see myself as a guide and my students as explorers. Language and culture comes from our Father in heaven who created everything into being with His words. I think so much healing can be done when we see and respect the beauty and differences in cultures foreign to our own. Jesus asked questions and challenged those around him—He is my model for a great teacher.”

Adriana and her husband Josué have 3 children, two of whom currently attend The City School. They love walking their dog Javi around University City. Adriana is an avid reader who loves science fiction, traveling, and experiencing world culture.

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Iola Broaddus

Iola Broaddus

Computers and First Grade Asst

“I love the way students smile when they see me. When I’m teaching and a student discovers something new for the first time, their smile lights up my heart. I love making my students happy and I get so much joy from helping them learn more about themselves, their world, and God.”

Iola has lived in Philadelphia her whole life and says she still has so much to learn about the City of Brotherly Love. She loves arts & crafts, including handmade cards, origami, and rainbow looming. Iola also coaches our championship basketball team and amazes everyone with her full-court, behind-the-back shots.

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Alice Park

Alice Park

Second Grade Teacher

“I believe that as an educator, it is my responsibility to mold young children into successful and active individuals who are fully equipped for society by providing them with the skills, knowledge, and tools they need to thrive. The core of my teaching is based on my desire to make a positive impact on the whole child, and I hope that my influence does not remain stagnant in the classroom, but transcends far beyond the classroom and into their lives out in the real world. The only way this can occur is if students are placed in an environment where they feel safe enough to take risks, are constantly engaged in new and rich experiences where they take control of their learning.”

Alice loves running—she’s run in the Broad Street Run and is training for more races in the future. She also enjoys hiking in the woods and making s’mores over a campfire.

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Michelle Porcella

Michelle Porcella

Third Grade Teacher

“I see my work as partnering with parents to build a strong foundation that will equip and motivate children to become lifelong learners and to use their special abilities and interests in serving others. I am also a learner; preparing lessons and interacting with students revels more of God’s creation and challenges me to respond as His workman.”

Michelle lives in the Northwest part of the city with her husband, where she cares for an old house and tends a garden. When not pulling weeds or reading a good book, she explores the city and beyond with her two young grandsons.

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Vanessa Sigmans

Vanessa Sigmans

Fourth Grade Teacher

“I love encouraging students to discover a love for learning. I love that I work in my own neighborhood and get to teach such amazing students. The City School is bringing God’s grace to our city, and I love being a part of that.

Vanessa and her husband Dan live in West Philly, where she enjoys going to all the awesome events the neighborhood has to offer. When she’s not at school, Vanessa can be found reading a good book at Clark park, spending time with her family, and traveling the country.

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Elaine Hannan

Elaine Hannan

Fifth Grade Teacher

“I am passionate about creativity in teaching. God has fearfully and wonderfully created each student. I love to use the individual gifts that He has given my students to engage them as I teach. Learning improves as I include music, art, hands-on projects, and kinesthetic activities into my classroom.”

Elaine lives in Vineland, NJ. She enjoys spending time with family and friends. She loves to travel, and she desires to spend as much time as possible at the beach… any beach… any season.

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Caroline Santa

Caroline Santa

Art and S.T.E.A.M. Teacher

“I love teaching because I get to share in my students’ sense of wonder at the complexity of the visual world. I am interested the unselfconscious decision-making of children’s art work, and the way art can be a tool to encourage risk-taking and a platform for new ideas in another context. I am excited to be developing our S.T.E.A.M. curriculum and encouraging multi-disciplinary investigation.”

Caroline lives in West Philly with her husband and two children, and she loves the diversity of her neighborhood. She’s co-founder of the artist-run gallery Tiger Strike Asteroid and previously taught at the Tyler School of Art. You can view her work at carolinesanta.com.

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Jamie Rose

Jamie Rose

Counseling Coordinator

“I am a Biblical Counselor, which means I have the privilege to come alongside our students and listen to what’s on their minds and hearts.  I get to spend time helping them see ways that their stories intersect and interact with God’s greater redemptive story for those he loves.”

Jamie and her husband Tom live in West Philly and love the sense of community they’ve found in their neighborhood. Jamie enjoys cooking (and eating!), taking walks with her husband and her dog Maisy, and watching movies. Her favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo, which she calls “crazy clever.”

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Noel Terrell

Noel Terrell

Music, P.E., and Media Teacher

“Music is more than notes and harmony–it’s a way of unleashing your emotions. Music moves people. It brings us together. It glorifies God. My dream is to share the power of music with my students.”

Noel has served as a Musical Director and keyboardist for diverse musical acts like Pharrell Williams, Meek Mill, and Jill Scott. He also toured Europe with British hip-hop/r&b duo Floetry and currently performs with his contemporary Christian band, The Browne Boyz. Noel is happily married and has two sons, Roman and Lincoln.

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Mildred Bazemore

Mildred Bazemore

Aftercare Director

    Degree(s):
  • C.B.S., Palmer Seminary

“I see my work at The City School as an extension of my ministry. I love children. I love working with them–I love doing arts and crafts, helping with homework, and watching students have fun on the playground. I am grateful that God put me in this position to watch our children grow and play a role in helping them become the people he is calling them to be.”

Mildred–Ms. B, as she’s known–is passionate about studying Scripture and has given most of her life to ministry. She is also a longtime block captain in her neighborhood and is concerned with preserving the peace and beauty of our city.

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Cheyanne Drews

Cheyanne Drews

Aftercare Assistant

“I like encouraging kids to be confident in themselves. I want them to embrace who they are understand all the potential living inside them. For me, it’s so fun to help them uncover that and learn to love themselves for who they are.”

Cheyanne is was born and raised on the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe Reservation in Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Her favorite book is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which she describes as, “a story of renewal about a creature who longs to be loved by his creator.” Cheyanne lives in Kensington with a cat named Cat and is an activist for racial reconciliation.

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Academic Support

Every child should find joy in learning. One thing I love about The City School is that we open our doors to such a beautiful diversity of students. Our kids span the spectrums of race and ethnicity, economic background, faith traditions, and academic abilities. We have no desire to be an elite school open only to the extremely gifted. The City School is a place where students are challenged where they excel and given special care where they struggle. The end result of this approach to education is that students at all levels can learn together as peers, friends, and equals.

My job is to partner with students who are struggling to keep pace academically. I am here to help students, as well as their teachers, identify learning challenges and develop plans to overcome them.

Over the past two years I have been working with the administration and other educators to pilot an academic support program to identify the specific needs of our struggling learners. Through this process, we have begun to use more specific data collection methods—benchmarks and screenings—and student tracking systems in order to set academic goals that will help close the achievement gap for our struggling learners.

The City School uses the Wilson programs: Fundations, Just Words, and Wilson Reading System because we have seen struggling learners acquire the skills they need to be successful students.

I am hopeful about the future of our academic support program, and I am committed to helping each student find joy in their lifelong pursuit of learning.

Gratefully,

Amy Evans
,
Academic Support Coordinator

Activities

Spruce-Hill-Activities

Extra-Curricular Activities

Starting in third grade, students at The City School at Spruce Hill can begin participating in extra-curricular activities. Students in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades are welcome to join our Handbell/Chimes Choir which performs at special events throughout the academic year. 5th grade students are eligible to play on the middle school basketball and soccer teams.

Extended Day Program

Working parents can find assistance with child care in our early morning and late afternoon extended day program.

Hours

Morning: 7:30 am until school begins
Afternoon: After school until 6:00 pm

Registration

The Extended Day Program registration form can be downloaded here.

The cost is $4.00 per hour or portion of an hour.

Fitness For Life

Every Wednesday and Friday afternoon volunteers from the University of Pennsylvania’s Fitness For Life program visit our Spruce Hill campus to teach students about the importance of living an active lifestyle. Volunteers engage the students with lessons on healthy living and by playing sports to show how fun exercise can be. Fitness For Life works to promote a culture of healthy living among children, volunteering their time at The City School at Spruce Hill.

"I like that my teachers are funny and that they smile and laugh. They make learning easier because they always want to help me."

Jasin, Grade 3

Spruce Hill Campus
4115 Baltimore Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215-382-7839