The 11th-grader begins each day at Shallcross Academy attending Townhouse, a social gathering in which students from different grades come together to discuss their issues and brainstorm on how to make the day successful.
Like most of her schoolmates, Reed, 18, was sent to Shallcross because she was acting out at her previous school, Woodrow Wilson. By the time the tumultuous teen hit the 10th grade, she was infamous for disrespecting her teachers, fighting and throwing paper balls in class. Reed says her friends constantly urged her to misbehave. And she gladly obliged.
“I felt as though I was the class clown,” she says. “The class used to laugh with me, but I soon realized that they were just laughing at me.”
When it became clear that Reed couldn’t make it in a traditional school setting, she was removed from Wilson and enrolled at Shallcross Academy, one of the city’s four Camelot schools. For more than 30 years, the Camelot Schools of Philadelphia have built a reputation making positive contributions to the lives of students who would otherwise fall through the cracks. Camelot’s outcome-oriented residential treatment centers, therapeutic day schools and alternative-education programs seek to help children dealing with autism and mental-health and behavioral problems. The Camelot schools also work with kids who are in danger of dropping out of school, and those like Reed, who can’t or won’t achieve academically because of disciplinary or learning challenges.
Reed says it was hard adjusting to the structure and discipline affiliated with Camelot schools, but it was just what the rowdy teen needed.