District Superintendent, City Council President Cut Ribbon on New Playground at Duckrey Elementary School
PHILADELPHIA — Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia, joined with Council President Darrell L. Clarke on Monday, December 10 to celebrate the ribbon-cutting of the new, upgraded playground at Tanner Duckrey Elementary School in North Philadelphia.
“All students, no matter where they live or attend school, deserve to have safe, spacious playgrounds with proper play equipment for them to enjoy,” said Dr. Hite. “Having a place to exercise and play, even for a few minutes during the school day, can also help cut down on student bullying and behavioral issues inside the school. We are grateful to our partnership with Council President Clarke’s office and are proud of our students who advocated for themselves around the needs of their school community.”
The project stemmed from an idea from some students participating in the Young Heroes Outreach Program in 2016. At the time, several fourth grade students wrote letters to President Clarke, highlighting the need for an updated playground at Duckrey. As a result, President Clarke’s office contributed $300,000 in funds for the project.
“In March of last year I visited Duckrey at the invitation of students, and the presentation they gave on the need for a total playground transformation blew me away,” Council President Clarke said. “They demonstrated that cracked concrete and outdated equipment were hazardous for little limbs, but more importantly they made a persuasive argument for why every child — no matter where they live — deserves colorful, interactive, fun, and safe places to play. I feel privileged to represent such an amazing school and community, and I am pleased to have helped make this wonderful new playground a reality.”
At the ribbon-cutting, Dr. Hite and President Clarke were also joined by Board of Education President Joyce Wilkerson; state Sen. Sharif Street; state Rep.-Elect Malcolm Kenyatta; community members and activists; and several teachers and students, including several students who wrote letters dreaming up the playground in 2016.
“Fourth graders at Duckrey School took matters into their own hands; they saw that change was needed, they worked together and they made change happen,” said Board President Joyce Wilkerson. “I think we can all learn something from that.”
The new playground now features new play equipment, games, benches, picnic tables, trash and recycling receptacles, new gates and signage, trees and shrubbery. A new ADA accessible entry sidewalk into the schoolyard from 15th St. is also included in the improvements.