Support Green Woods Expansion to Chestnut Hill

May 16, 2011


In a unanimous vote late last week, the Chestnut Hill Historical Society’s Easement Committee denied proposed amendments to historic preservation easements on the Greylock Manor mansion that would have allowed the Green Woods Charter School to move into the empty property.

Read more at NewsWorks…….

March 29, 2011

Last weekend we began to gather signatures on petitions to generate written support for our move to Greylock Manor in Chestnut Hill.  We are asking for your help to gather signatures from Chestnut Hill residents and neighbors of Greylock Manor.  We need to prove that we have the support of the Chestnut Hill community that we know is out there.  Our goal is 300 signatures from the 19118 zip code by Monday, April 4th.

  1. Join us on Saturday, April 2nd to canvass Chestnut Hill for signatures in support of Green Woods relocation.  We will meet at 10am at Cosimos Restaurant in Chestnut Hill. We will map out our strategy and provide you with clipboards, petitions, and talking points.
  1. Any additional petitions with signatures should be handed in on Monday, April 4th to Kim Birkmire at GWCS.

Come one out.  If you know anyone in the 19118 (or 19119) zip code and can generate signatures, please do so.

Potential talking points with the Chestnut Hill community include:

  • We believe that Green Woods Charter School’s mission—to create active young stewards of the natural world—meshes with the community, Chestnut Hill Historical Society and Friends of the Wissahickon—we strive to care for native wildlife and their habitats, safeguard water quality, preserve important historic buildings and structures, and keep open space in an ever-crowding region.
  • Greylock Holdings LLC, the current property owner, is seeking to sell Greylock to the Green Woods Charter School because it supports the spirit of conservation and preservation covenants, and Green Woods Charter School’s proposed modifications to the current easements are in keeping with this goal.
  • Young families in Chestnut Hill are looking for more tuition-free public school options so that they do not have to consider moving out of this wonderful community.
  • Green Woods Charter School is recognized statewide and nationally as an award-winning Charter School. We have an extensive waiting list, and relocating to Greylock would help to better serve our current students and open opportunities to more students in the area.
    • Jean Wallace, CEO of Green Woods Charter School, has an open door to Greylock neighbors and is ready to share our plans and discuss any concerns with them, including the results of an extensive traffic survey to meet the needs of the community and the school.

March 21, 2011

I submitted the following letter to the Chestnut Hill Local today.  Here is the text of the letter with links to the sources of data and quotes.

Dear Neighbors,

I live on Rex Avenue and attended the community meeting to consider the application of Green Woods Charter School to move to Greylock Manor.  I urge everyone to give serious consideration to the proposal.  I realize that there are issues that need to be resolved.  Before we dismiss them as insurmountable, I implore you to give their application every chance to succeed.

My family resides just two blocks from the Chestnut Hill Avenue entrance to Greylock Manor.  I am searching for a school for my older child who is scheduled to start kindergarten this Fall.  I am on the Green Woods Charter wait list.  In my capacity as author and editor for, I have been documenting my school choice process, and talking to school officials and parents all across the Delaware Valley along the way.

The huge volume of traffic to is evidence of the struggle parents face to educate their children; I am not alone in my struggle.  The Pew Charitable Trusts released a study last June (reference 1 | reference 2), “Philadelphia’s Changing Schools and what Parents Want From Them” that found that parents increasingly want more options. For some parents, the struggle will force them to leave the city or make what they feel are compromises in their children’s education.

Green Woods is one of the most highly regarded elementary schools in Greater Philadelphia.  They are consistently one of the top performing charter schools in the city, winning top ratings and awards.  To be clear: this is not a good school that is asking to make Chestnut Hill its home, it is an exceptional school.

Like many of you, I have been dismayed by the open storefronts and stagnant housing values in our neighborhood.  A top-notch school can only improve property values and attract more commercial vitality to the avenue.

Green Woods, in particular, and it’s conservationist ideals will benefit not only the immediate neighbors, but the environmental efforts throughout the immediate region.  It is ironic that easements are at issue, because they are, in the words of the Chestnut Hill Historical Society,  for “caring for native wildlife and their habitats, safeguarding water quality, preserving important historic buildings and structures, and keeping open space in an ever-crowding region.” (reference) These values precisely match Green Woods’ conservationist mission.  With this common ground, surely some solution can be found that brings Green Woods Charter here and still reflects the spirit of the easements.

I too, am concerned about the traffic and other issues that people are raising.  But let’s let Green Woods representatives do their due diligence and try to solve these problems.  In my opinion, we should not be erecting barriers to Green Woods Charter, we should be wooing them.

Len Lipkin



March 7, 2011

Get the word out!  Please share this page on Facebook or Twitter using the links below or download this article as a flyer to distribute to your friends and neighbors.  You can also RSVP for this event on Facebook–tune in there to get updates.

Chestnut Hill/Green Woods Charter Community Meeting



When: March 15, 7:30 PM
Where: Chestnut Hill Hospital 1st floor Conference

Green Woods Charter School is meeting on March 15th at 7:30PM at Chestnut Hill Hospital’s first floor conference room to present our updated building designs to the CHCA-Development Review Committee. For those parents hoping to secure a seat at Green Woods for September 2011 (and beyond), or adults interested in bringing high-quality, public school options to the community, this meeting is an important one to attend. It is our hope that this first official meeting with the greater community will encourage a positive dialogue as we outline both the need for a high-quality charter school in Chestnut Hill and our desire to restore Greylock Manor to become our new home. This meeting is open to the public. Please join us.

Warmest Regards,
Jean Wallace, CEO, Green Woods Charter

Why Should You Care?

  • Green Woods Charter is one of the most highly regarded charter elementary schools in the city
  • Better schools will improve educational options for parents and increase surrounding property values
  • Greylock Manor is a historic site which has been vacant and deteriorating since 2008.  Green Woods will take great care to restore this building and property.
  • A school zone speed limit on Chestnut Hill Avenue would contribute to making the neighborhood more walkable and child-friendly
  • Green Woods Charter Leadership has commissioned studies on traffic and is prepared to work alongside local residents to remediate any impact.

Greylock manor, Proposed Site for Green Woods Expansion

About Charter Schools in General and Green Woods
Charter Schools are independently operated tuition-free PUBLIC schools that are funded with federal, state and local tax dollars.  These schools are established to provide families with more educational alternatives for their children. Charters are non-profit, non sectarian, organizations that are approved by the local Board of Education   (the “authorizer”) or the State Appeal Board. Each charter has its own Board of Trustees and administrative staff and operates as a separate, independent  local educational agency (LEA) within Intermediate Unit 26 (IU 26).  The Pennsylvania Charter School Law – Act 22 of 1997 – set up charters to operate free of many of the local and state requirements that apply to traditional public schools.

The mission of Green Woods Charter School is to provide children in grades K through 8 with the opportunity to be active, knowledgeable and conscientious young investigators by fostering a keen understanding of the interrelatedness and interdependence of our local and global existence…creating active young stewards of the natural world.

Children at Green Woods Charter School will understand that learning is an ongoing process requiring a strong foundation.  They will use their special talents and knowledge to constantly improve themselves, their learning, their school, and the environment.

Green Woods Charter School is an educational institution highly sought-after by parents, having earned numerous honors, including the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence, Exemplary Status School award from the Department of Education, Best Practices Award from the School District of Philadelphia, and the Program of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Council of Social Studies in 2009, in addition to achieving AYP each year since the school’s inception.

Read Green Woods Charter news page regarding the move and read more about this issue here.

Get the word out!  Please share this page on Facebook or Twitter using the links below or download this page as a flyer and distribute to your friends and neighbors.