About Russell Byers Charter School

The Russell Byers Charter School is a public elementary school located in Center City, Philadelphia, with over 710 students from 43 neighborhoods. We offer 4K (Kindergarten for 4-year-olds) through 8th Grade, a student/teacher ratio of 20:1, and an innovative hands-on academic program, EL Education.

Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia in our spacious building at 1911 Arch Street, the school reflects Russell Byers' values of academic excellence, civic responsibility, and community service. The Russell Byers Charter School is a learning community, built on the structures and principles of its educational model: EL Education (formerly known as Expeditionary Learning). In the Russell Byers community, students learn by doing. Academic goals are linked to adventure, service work, teamwork, and character development. And education becomes a partnership between student and teacher, as supported by enlightened school leadership and committed parents.

Our Mission

The Russell Byers Charter School provides students roots, a safe, stimulating environment with a rigorous academic education grounded in EL Education. Our students take responsibility for their learning to become powerful communicators, creative problem solvers, and compassionate, engaged citizens. Russell Byers students develop wings to succeed in selective schools and embrace a love for learning.

Our 5 Distinguishing Characteristics

  • Early Learning: At RBCS we believe the journey of learning begins at a young age. That's why we are only one of two schools in Philadelphia to offer a two year, full-day kindergarten program that begins with four-year-old students (4k). Getting a jumpstart on education allows our children to plant roots a full year earlier than their peers. As a result, our 4k students are socially, emotionally, and intellectually ready to move on to five-year-old kindergarten (5k) and make the most of their RBCS education.
  • EL Education: EL Education is an innovative teaching approach based on the guiding principles of the famed outdoor educational program, Outward Bound. EL emphasizes high achievement through hands-on learning, character growth, team work and community service. Learn more...
  • The Whole Child: At RBCS, we don't just educate our students. We focus on creating great citizens by teaching resilience and responsibility for learning. It takes a holistic continuum of supports to build character and confidence from an early age. Our carefully chosen course work supports student growth through a full range of activities, enriching the whole child. Thanks to our innovate model, RBCS students have the opportunity to study art, music, physical education, debate, and digital humanities.
  • Partnerships: RBCS takes full advantage of Philadelphia's urban resources, using the city as an extension of the classroom. Through these rich partnerships, RBCS offers exciting programs that support our students' learning experience both in the classroom and in the community. In addition to supporting our EL curriculum, these partnerships provide essential mentoring. Partnerships include Big Brothers Big Sisters, WHYY Media Lab, Walnut Street Theatre, Arden for All, and many more.
  • Ours for Life: We measure the true value of a RBCS education by where students go when they leave our doors. Ours for Life is a full-service college and/or career-track program that supports our students throughout their education and especially in critical transition points in their academic careers. Learn more...

School Song

“Roots to Grow, Wings to Fly”

Listen to Music and Lyrics by Krista Yutzy-Burkey:

View Lyrics