Community development, environmental restoration, and educational reform must go hand in hand.
We seek partnerships among advocates for each in order to combine forces and resources. We believe that youth have a crucial role to play in this process. This conviction comes from three decades of work in low-income communities on projects that simultaneously address issues of poverty, race, deteriorated neighborhoods, polluted water, and troubled schools.
West Philadelphia Landscape Project
Home > Action > Projects > Mill Creek Project > SMS News
SMS News
From the first summer program in 1997, where Sulzberger Middle School (SMS) students learned Web authoring and used their new skills to design and write their own website, “SMS News,” the computer program grew to be an essential part of the curriculum. By fall 1997, a computer lab was established and an after-school program launched.


WPLP Webmaster Sam Spirn introduced web-authoring as part of the 1997 summer program and continued in summer 1998. We decided to teach the kids HTML code rather than to use web authoring software because this introduced them to the logic of computer code and enabled them to create websites without having to buy software.

Junior counselors Tyshara Owen and Justin Parrish, who had participated in the Mill Creek Project as part of Glenn Campbell's eighth grade class, took the lead in developing SMS News in summer 1997 and were aided by SMS sixth- and seventh-graders Oneal Hall and Keith Cisco. In summer 1998, junior counselors Fatima Williams and Rasean Frazier, who had participated in the Mill Creek Project as part of Glenn Campbell's eighth grade class, continued the work with SMS News.

SMS News represented the beginning of Sulzberger's computer program, which grew into an extraordinary resource until it was shut down in 2002, when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania took over the School District of Philadelphia and assigned the management of Sulzberger Middle School to Edison Inc., a for-profit corporation based in New York.

In 1998, two SMS students, Oneal hall and Keith Cisco, presented SMS News and the Mill Creek Project to the entire Pennsylvania Legislature as part of the governor’s annual Budget Speech.

Watch SMS Students Present to the Governor and Legislature.