Pennsylvania’s traditional cities and towns enjoy two enormous assets that suburbs can’t match: the ability to walk from one place to another, and the sense of place and belonging that comes from having long-established neighborhoods.
Walkable neighborhood schools are an indispensable element of vibrant towns. Having a nearby school is a major reason why families move into a traditional neighborhood in the first place. And as a school serves successive generations, it becomes a cherished landmark that gives the neighborhood its identity and appeal.
Moreover, a wealth of educational literature shows that students – especially those from low- and moderate-income families -- perform much better in the small, family-friendly environment that neighborhood schools foster.
Unfortunately, hundreds of neighborhood schools have been closed in recent decades all across the Pennsylvania, usually to be replaced by generic mega-schools to which students are bused. This is usually done in the name of efficiency, the need for modern facilities, ands the desire for a campus-like setting.
If Pennsylvania wants to preserve and expand its traditional towns, it must save its existing neighborhood schools and create new ones
Renovate or Replace?
The case for retaining older neighborhood schools when exploring the need for new or upgraded facilities.
National Trust/EPA Project
The federal Environmental Protection Agency and the National Trust for Historic Preservation have created a national initiative to preserve America's walkable neighborhood schools and build new ones.
Except in a few big cities, neighborhood schools are usually small schools.