October 2, 1940 – December 4, 1999
Roots to Grow, Wings to Fly
Philadelphia Daily News columnist Russell Byers believed that the greatest gift you can give a child is roots and wings. In his columns for the paper, Russell wrote frequently and passionately about how to improve the city of Philadelphia and was most passionate when writing about public education. He thrived on the excitement of city life and believed that a solid education has the power to change the life of a child... thereby changing the world.
Russell died on December 4, 1999, when he was murdered during an attempted robbery. As a tribute to his life, the columnist's family—Laurada Byers, his widow; his daughter, Alison Byers; and his son Russell Byers, Jr.—have founded a charter school that honors Russell's lifelong commitment to civic responsibility, community service and academic excellence.
With tremendous community support, the Russell Byers Charter School opened its doors on September 11, 2001 to 120 students in grades 4K-2nd in the diverse Spring Garden neighborhood of Philadelphia. We are thrilled to be entering our 20th year with over 725 students in grades 4K through 8th and in our current beautiful home at 1911 Arch Street.
The Russell Byers Charter School provides a rigorous education that cultivates self-assurance, love of fresh ideas, and especially, a sense of joy. Our students are creative problem solvers, powerful communicators, and knowledgeable and responsible citizens. They will develop the character and gain the academic skills to truly make their lives and their world better.