Staff and students from several Specialized Education Services, Inc.(SESI) schools in Philadelphia didn’t let the date deter them from celebrating May Day on June 3. The annual event, held in the Lemon Hill Picnic Area of Fairmount Park, brought together students from the Achieve Academies of Philadelphia, Excel Academy North, Excel Middle Years Academy, and Stetson Academy.

May Day started in 2013 as a one-school event and grew into the multi-school celebration it is today. Held a little later this year due to park availability, the event served as a large-scale end of the year celebration.

May Day provides students an opportunity to get out of the classroom and enjoy activities including baseball, basketball, a zip line, climbing wall, bounce houses, and a game truck. A DJ provided the musical entertainment and students were also treated to a BBQ lunch and water ice.

“Many of our students didn’t feel like part of the community in other school settings,” said Scott Cruttenden, regional director for SESI. “But here – they are part of us, part of our community. Events like May Day help promote a single school culture and overall positivity.”

Over 300 attendees took part in this year’s May Day, including guests from the School District of Philadelphia Opportunity Network, which provides non-traditional/alternative educational options for out-of-school youth and students who are significantly at risk for dropping out.

Achieve Academies of Philadelphia and Stetson Academy are transitional schools for middle school and high school students who have experienced behavioral difficulties adapting to a traditional school environment. The mission of school staff is to ensure that students return to their home school in a timely manner after demonstrating improved behavior, attendance, and academics.

Excel Academies offer an accelerated high school experience for students looking for a smaller, more personal setting, intensely focused on elevating social skills, emotional wellness, and academic success.