School Talk: EPX Civic forms Friends of Southwark, hosts Parent/Teacher Happy Hour at Watkins Drinkery on Tuesday, June 2.

Editor’s Note: School Talk is an occasional feature that will look at education and parenting issues in South Philly. If you have concerns, ideas, suggested topics or other thoughts about the state of schools and ways to keep improving them, email us at
Weighing in this time is Mollie Michel, Editor of A Child Grows in Philly, South Philly resident and a public school parent. A recovering nonprofit professional, Mollie is also an experienced birth doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, and the mom of two girls and a sweet pit bull named Princess Cleopatra.
East Passyunk Crossing Civic Association’s Education Committee, which has been working with Southwark Elementary School at 9th and Mifflin streets for several years, has created a new subcommittee, Friends of Southwark. 
front door with new sign and logo

The new group will follow the model of a number of other friends groups that have rallied around South Philly’s resource-starved public schools, including the active Friends of Andrew Jackson Elementary.

 “With Principal Andrew Lukov’s leadership as well as new and innovative programs like the popular two-way immersion classroom, Southwark is becoming a real asset to the neighborhood. We decided that by establishing Friends of Southwark, we would better be able to highlight and articulate our alliance with the school, recruit new members, and raise funds and awareness for this neighborhood gem,” says Beth Dougherty, chairman of the EPX Education Committee.

Southwark’s renaissance as an anchor in the community, covered extensively in the Passyunk Post, has been quietly building for the past couple of years. Under Principal Lukov’s leadership, community partnerships at the school are thriving, the two-way Spanish immersion program is moving into its second year and a new design for the schoolyard is complete. The School District has also shown investment in the school with extensive capital improvements being completed this spring and summer, including a new roof and repointing and power washing of the 105-year-old building.

Southwark is poised to be a high value destination for bilingual learning, middle school STEM programming and innovative learning opportunities for all students. Mayor Nutter has also recognized Southwark as a thriving school and recently visited as part of his “Innovative & Effective Schools” Tour.

To learn more about the school and the efforts of Friends of Southwark, come to Watkins Drinkery on Tuesday, June 2 from 5pm-7pm to meet the principal, teachers, and current and future Southwark parents. Kids are welcome, of course.

EPX Civic – Friends of Southwark, meets with the EPX Education Committee on the third Wednesday of every month. If you are interested in becoming involved or making a donation to support their efforts, please email education@epcrossing for more information.