At the behest of the community, the School Reform Commission has voted to table approving the district's policies to move ahead with policies that would allow the district to close, sell or demolish old or underused buildings.
The district plans to close up to 50 of their buildings over the next three years. School consolidations, grade configurations and lease terminations will help them achieve that goal.
Parent Cecelia Thompson pleaded with the Commission this afternoon to allow more time and opportunity for public input before they put their final stamp on the policy.
Four white Philadelphia elementary school teachers filed federal complaints last week alleging they experienced harassment and racial discrimination by several school and district officials, including being accused by a principal of being unfit to teach black students.
Among their complaints filed in four federal lawsuits, the teachers at Mifflin Elementary School, in East Falls, said then-principal, Charles Ray III, who is black, targeted them and other white staffers because of their race, as first reported by Courthouse News, an online court news service.
As part of their professional development, Ray forced white staffers to read an article “instructing the teachers that white teachers do not have the ability to teach African American students,” the lawsuit alleges.
Remember parents, your young charges don't have to report to school tomorrow, Tuesday, May 17. It's Election Day and only school staff is required to show up.
The only other day off this month is Memorial Day, Monday May 30, which gives students a three-day weekend.
Enjoy the day off, students.
The Accountability Review Council, an independent entity charged with monitoring the district’s reform efforts, will present a report on the progress of Supt. Ackerman’s Imagine 2014 plan during this Wednesday’s School Reform Commission planning meeting.
The report, The Status of 2009-2010 Academic Performance in the School District of Philadelphia and Observations on the Initial Implementation Stage of Renaissance Schools, can be viewed by clicking on this link.
Using PSSA scores in reading and math and the state and federal benchmarks, ARC members sought out whether the school district made progress in meeting expections under No Child Left Behind during the 2009-10 school year and how the Renaissance schools plan impacted students.
Here's a little nugget of news from the SRC: the district expects to reach up to 75 percent utilization of their buildings by next school year if they stay on the course outlined in their Facilities Master plan.
That plan - which includes grade changes (from 25 groupings to four), school consolidations, the selling of properties and lease terminations - seeks to rid the district of 50 of their buildings, bringing them to a roughly 85 percent utilization rate. They are currently at about 67 percent. While the district plans to close no schools this September, they will continue to invest in fixing up its older buildings that are not beyond repair.
The district estimated they have roughly 70,000 empty seats in schools across the district and have imposed a moratorium on construction that would create additional seats.
One of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s hens will soon leave the nest to fend for himself.
David Weiner, associate superintendent of academics, has accepted a position with the New York City Department of Education to become its deputy chancellor for talent, labor and innovation. He begins his role in the middle of next month.
During the announcement at the School Reform Commission meeting, Ackerman said she "wished him nothing but the best."
Last year, I had the privilege to write about an impressive group of students who cooked their way into culinary arts programs in many of the country’s top schools.
I wasn’t surprised. The intensity and focus with which those student chefs sliced, diced, puréed and sauteed, was something to envy — and to drool over as well.
Their skills, recognized by some of Philadelphia’s top chefs, have paid off.
Getting scholarship money for college almost always means extra pocket change for pizza, textbooks or for attending the frequent parties held on college campuses.
I'm sure the 29 Philadelphia high school seniors who each received $1,000 from Comcast this week will appreciate the extra cushion. These students will share an award of $184,000 with 145 other students across the Commonwealth in recognition of their leadership skills.