the power of a beautiful question

For students currently in grades 6 - 10  ●  August 14-26

Summer Institutes offer first-hand field experiences in different settings that help students gain a deeper understanding of complex social and global issues.


The Equity Institute

June 19-June 30th

This year’s Equity Institute, titled Racial Equity through Performance, will challenge students to look within and see themselves as active members of a diverse world, one where race matters.  Students will explore articles, media, and artistic works to research what racism is, the forms it takes--from systematic to implied--and how it has evolved. Alongside this study, students will look at the evolution of activism as it relates to racial equity, and they will get the chance to meet and interview local civil rights activists.  Using performance as a tool for expression and a vehicle for change, students will then devise a production using music, spoken word, drama, and movement to explore the questions: How can I use art to respond to injustice? How can I be an activist in today’s world? Is it the same story, different day? 

Highlights from Week 1:

  • Take the implicit bias test
  • Compare and contrast catalysts of the Civil Rights movement to the Black Lives Matter movement
  • Interview local civil rights groups and activists, including Asian Americans United and Mt. Vernon Manor CDC
  • Engage in a meet and greet with spoken word artist Ursula Rucker
  • Attend a City Love performance
  • Visit Constitution Hall and the African American History Museum
  • Participate in an introduction to Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed techniques
  • Begin the creative process for finding one’s “inner activist”

Highlights from Week 2:  

  • Go on a day-trip to New York City Off-Broadway to see Black Angels Over Tuskegee
  • Participate in a service project with Mt. Vernon Manor CDC
  • Rehearse and mold performance pieces
  • Perform at City Hall during the Lunch Summer Concert Series
  • Host a flash mob performance of final pieces

The Sustainability Institute

August 14-August 25th

This year’s Sustainability Institute, titled The Sustainable Food Movement, inspires questions about the food that nourishes us. Future scientists, engineers, urban planners, politicians, farmers, foodies and more will value this deep look into the changing world of food. Join us for a delicious and fascinating adventure, and for the chance to take part in a food revolution. 

Along the way, students will create an educational film documenting our journey to share with the TPS community, our partner school, and the wider world of environmental education for teens. Our goal is to prepare thoughtful, informed young leaders for an environmentally sustainable future.

Highlights from Week 1:

  • This year it begins in Philadelphia, PA, with an exciting week-long eco-study of the city. Together we will interview experts, discover important history, perform ecological service-learning, and explore hands-on science for deep, immersive learning.
  • We will explore the connection between food and the city of Philadelphia. How do you feed a city of 1.5 million people? Where does our food come from? How are citizens of Philadelphia fighting to make our food better for us, and better for the environment?

Highlights from Week 2:

  • In the second week, we travel together to our partner school in a new environment where students can examine our theme from an entirely different perspective.
  • A week long overnight adventure into the heart of food-producing Pennsylvania, we will travel out to see firsthand where the food comes from, and contrast urban life with hands-on farming, cooking, and of course, tasting. We will explore the traditions of farming that go back centuries, as well as ways that agriculture has changed, and what those changes mean for the land, and for those who buy the food and eat it.