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Staff Shoutouts


Stephanie Costello
Academic Dean of Technology & Innovation
Philadelphia Performing Arts

PPA, Vine Street Campus

Digital Citizenship Series

Screen time is a big buzz word in the educational technology world right now. But how much is too much? The research is mixed, so there is no clear answer for parents. Click the picture below to watch a video from Common Sense Media and PBS to learn more and make the best decision for your family. 

This month's tip: Try creating a screen-free area in your home! Places such as the dinner table or living room can be great spots to power down devices and engage in some literal "face time" as a family.

Spring Performances and Events

Throughout the months of May and June, our schools held performances and events that showcased our students' hard work and talents in the performing arts, visual arts, creative arts, and sciences. Celebrations of student achievement and milestones from Kindergarten Move Up Day to High School Graduation finished out another successful year of learning and academic and artistic growth. This issue of the newsletter will highlight some of these great moments as we wrapped up the 2022-2023 school year. 

We wish all of our students, families, faculty, and staff a safe and wonderful summer break!

Performing Arts

String Theory Players


The spring String Theory Players performance featured a medley of Broadways biggest hits. The variety in the show gave students the perfect platform to demonstrate the range vocal and acting abilities.

Want to learn more about String Theory Players? Click here to visit our String Theory Players page and read more about the in-house, nonprofit student theatre company open to all students.

Contemporary Dance


PPA's Contemporary Dance performance was equal parts creative and athletic, and included an emotional tribute to a former dance student. Held at the Vine Street Theatre, the show sold out all scheduled nights and an additional show had to be added to accommodate the demand for tickets!

Classical Ballet


The Ballet Department's performance at PPA included students from the West and Vine Street campuses. This year's theme was "All American" and took place at the Miller Theatre on Broad Street. Click the image below to watch a video of the full performance!


Instrumental and Vocal Music


PPA Vine Street returned to the Kimmel Center this year for their Spring Music Concert. Crowd favorites included an incredible rendition of Carmina Burana, by Carl Orff, and a compilation of songs from the musical, Hamilton, where lead singers dressed in costume.

The Annual Spring Concert


Arts and Sciences also returned to the Kimmel Center this year for their annual, school-wide Spring Concert. All majors and grades were involved in the show that evening giving everyone the opportunity to celebrate their talents. The theme of this year's show was "Broadway's Greatest Hits", and proved the array of creative talents held by our arts faculty and their students. Performance highlights include a tap number made up of 40 kindergarten-fourth graders, an instrumental Hamilton medley, a moving ballet inspired by social change, and the presentation of science awards to three Innovations in Science majors. 

Visual Arts

Spring Art Show: A Masterpiece Garden

PPA, East Campus & West Campus

PPA Visual Arts teachers Ms. Allegra George and Ms. Jaclyn Stepnowski produced this year's East and West nature themed Spring Art Show, A Masterpiece Garden. The event took place at PPA's East Campus, and featured student art by all kindergarten through fourth graders and Design Majors. Thank you to our art teachers for their hard work and artistic vision in creating this event!

Design Day

PPA, vine street Campus

Design Day, also known as dDay, is the capstone event for the School of Design students at the Vine Street Campus. Student work from all design majors is displayed throughout the building during this highly anticipated event. dDay kicked off with a student critique by design professors and professionals in the café and ended with an evening student art exhibition for students and their families that included a student fashion show.


Science Fair


This year the Innovation in Science Majors presented their research projects to faculty, families, friends, and special guest judges from the University of Pennsylvania! Project topics ranged from engineering to the natural world. The majors were excited to share their findings with the crowd at this wonderful annual event.

Science Fair

PPA, Vine street campus

Middle and High School students in the School of Science and Technology presented their science fair projects to fellow students during the school day and their families in the evening. One popular tool used by many students was 3D printing. Several students utilized the school's 3D printer to design and fabricate materials for their projects. 

Science Comes Alive

PPA, East Campus & West Campus

Our young Performing Arts East and West scholars did a great job presenting their science projects at the school's "Science Comes Alive" event. For this interesting and creative assignment, students had to research a famous scientist and present their findings...dressed up!

Move-Up Days and Graduations

Kindergarten Move-Up Day


Kindergarten is a big deal for our smallest students. There are so many firsts, and Kindergarten Move Up Day is a moment where families can come together to celebrate how much their children have grown over the course of one school year. The balloons say it all! We are so proud of you!

High School Graduation

PPA, vine street campus

Philadelphia Performing Arts seniors commemorated their momentous milestone at the Kimmel Center. The 180 seniors in the graduating class of 2023 filled out 2,808 college applications and were awarded over $25 million in college scholarships! Graduates are now on their way to colleges, universities, and careers from here at home in Philadelphia all the way to the University of North Texas and the University of Miami. We wish them all the very best!

Featured PPA Alum, Kevin Pham

Alum Kevin Pham was part of the first high school graduating class of Philadelphia Performing Arts back in 2017. He started at PPA in ninth grade, and had perfect attendance throughout all four years of high school. As a child, he spent time in California pursing a career as an actor, so initially the Theatre Major seemed the perfect fit for him. When he started to learn more about the TV&Broadcasting Major, Kevin felt even more at home. His majors teacher was passionate and knowledgable about film and his lessons were engaging. As a major, Kevin enjoyed creating skits, filming and editing projects like school event “trailers”, and learning about lighting and sound techniques. Reflecting on the experience, he says, "it was very real world and sophisticated because of the new felt very professional. You would go to school, do your regular classes, and have a total change of scenery and feel like you were in the art world. There was a lot of group collaboration, creating a great bonding experience."

What does Kevin do now? Well first off, it's (soon to be) Doctor Kevin Pham. Kevin is in his final year of pharmacy school at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy.

So why didn't Kevin join a major in the School of Science and Technology while at PPA? "I knew I was going to study science in college and grad school, so I wanted to “branch off” and become well rounded and try something different," he says.  Kevin worked with high school counselor, Mrs. Susan Thomas, filling out college applications, applying for scholarships, and taking additional courses as a member of the Young Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania. “So many colleges came to our school and I saw what the future could be," says Kevin, adding, "I didn't even know that my future college existed!" 

At his high school graduation, Kevin gave the graduation speech for his major. This year he came full circle, and addressed the graduating class of 2023 as a keynote speaker at graduation.


Top of the Class

A&S Volleyball Team Wins Championship


Congratulations to the Arts and Sciences Co-Ed Volleyball Team, who won the SEPCAL Championship this year!! The team won 3 games straight games to defeat the other team 3 - 0! So proud of these remarkable student athletes and their coaches

Muffins with Mom

PPA, EAST campus

campus tradition that celebrates moms and mother figures, this years "Muffins with Mom" at the PPA, East Campus was full of love, gratitude, and tasty treats!

Students Excel in Math Competition

PPA, West Campus

We know this section is titled "Top of the Class" but two students from the PPA, West Campus are top in the State and Nation! Congratulations to students Jayden and Jaymie on their incredible performances in the Math Kangaroo competition this year. Jayden was ranked 2nd in the state and nation (out of 5,969 3rd grade entrants nationwide) and Jaymie's score was the highest in the state and 3rd in the nation (out of 5,183 2nd grade entrants nationwide). More than 6 million students worldwide participated in the competition. On May 28th, they will attend the award ceremony to receive their medals and other prizes. WOW!

Field Day

PPA, EAST campus & West Campus

Another Field Day in the books for the students at the East and West Campuses! It was a beautiful day for games and a picnic lunch. 

Celebrating Teachers, Staff, and Administrators

PPA & arts and Sciences

In the month of May we celebrated our fantastic administrators, teachers, and staff who dedicate their school days to educating and supporting their students. This group of individuals is the backbone of the String Theory Schools community, and positively impacts the future of every child that attends our schools. Each building organized a variety of special meals and events to show their appreciation for the professional educators and staffers who make a difference in the lives of students and their families.

Video montage of Arts and Sciences staff celebrations created by Ms. Erica Mack, Dean of Culture at Arts and Sciences.

Lifeguard Certifications

PPA, vine street campus

Fourteen Performing Arts high school students were recognized becoming certified lifeguards. With a lifeguard shortage in the city of Philadelphia, we are thrilled that these students stepped up and completed training to work over the summer as paid lifeguards. You can watch the news coverage of the students receiving recognition certificates and hear about why they decided to become lifeguards HERE.

Sprit Week

PPA, Vine street campus

Spirit Week for PPA, Vine Street Campus, is a chance for middle and high school students and staff to have some fun as the school year comes to a close. This year there were ice cream and pretzel snacks, themed dress down days (including high school "Twin Day" that you can see pictures of below), a teacher appreciation luncheon, and school trivia games. The week of celebrations ended with the annual student verses staff kickball game! (Pictures of the game also included below!)

Career Day


Career Day is all about exploring interests, options, and opportunities for our students. Awareness and information regarding available career pathways are some of the most important resources! Parents, guardians, and friends volunteered to zoom with classrooms and give career presentations. These presentations were inspiring to our students, and we are so thankful to those individuals who shared their time and expertise. In addition to presentations, the week was filled with fun career-inspired activities, including a day where students were invited to dress in the career outfit of their choice!

In the News

Café Vine Opens to the Public

PPA, vine street campus

Café Vine is the student run coffee shop located on the first floor of the Vine Street Campus. A favorite of students and staff alike, Café Vine not only serves as a fun, hands-on internship for high school students, it also supplies fantastic pastries and coffee to faculty, staff, and students throughout the school day. After years of success, and the addition of a New Pastry and Baking Program that adds an exciting new dimension of student involvement, Café Vine is now opened to the public. The café is operated by students over the summer who work as paid interns. The public can purchase beverages and pastries through a take out window and outdoor seating is available. Stop by on a weekday morning for a coffee and croissant!