St. Malachy Mission School, Once Visited by Pope Francis, Opens in North Philadelphia

A transformed North Philadelphia school that pledges to offer kids a better shot at a quality education opened its doors Monday.

St. Malachy School, an Independence Mission School, boasts a mural completed with a stroke and a signature from Pope Francis during his visit to Philadelphia in 2015. The school, located on Thompson Street near 10th in what used to be a Philadelphia public school, is the newest of 15 Independence Mission Schools throughout the city.

The mission of the schools, according to their website, is "to provide a sustainable, affordable, high-quality education to children of all faiths in under-served urban neighborhoods, through a model of new governance, funding, and accountability for the member schools."

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The building that houses the new St. Malachy was previously the William H. Harrison School. After that school shut down, Independence Mission purchased the building and land from the School District of Philadelphia for $1.4 million.

Independence Mission fully renovated the school before its Monday opening. The face lift included an expansive mural on the side of the school that Pope Francis himself added a final stroke to, and signed.

Two hundred students are currently enrolled at St. Malachy. The Independence Mission hopes increase enrollment by 350 students.

The new school offers advanced and remedial math and reading programs, configurable classrooms tailored for kids' unique needs, technology to support learning and a new Pre-K program for 3- and 4 year-olds.

Mayor Jim Kenney, Auxiliary Bishop Michael Fitzgerald and Independence Mission Schools President Anne McGoldrick were in attendance at the ribbon cutting at the school's grand opening.

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