Philly releases charter school profiles

1200 Universal Audenried high school
Jalaal Hayes teaches anatomy and physiology to students at Universal Audenried Charter High School in Philly.

For the first time, the Philadelphia School District has created profiles that provide key information for every charter school in the city.

The one-page descriptions - posted on the district's website - provide application deadlines, grades taught, school hours, and information about enrollment, racial demographics, attendance, academic offerings, and extracurriculars.

The summaries also show the college-bound rates for high school charters and break down the percentages of grads who enroll in two- and four-year colleges and whether they are public or private institutions.

The pages for each of the 83 charters also tell when the school opened and when its operating charter is up for renewal.

"The idea is for parents to have charter information in one simple format," Fernando Gallard, district spokesman, said Wednesday.

He said similar information had been available for district schools.

Gallard said that the district's charter office developed the profiles in response to parents and community members who said they were looking for more information than was available from the district's charter directory.

He said the charter office worked with the charters to collect the information and plans to update the profiles every year.

"It's encouraging to see the charter office continuing to work to hold the charter sector publicly accountable," said Amy Ruck Kagan, executive director of the Philadelphia Charters for Excellence, an alliance of charters that promotes academic excellence and public transparency. "After all, while not all charters in Philadelphia are serving children well, many are providing a quality education - and represent the only chance for many students to attend a great school now."

David Hardy, founding CEO of Boys Latin of Philadelphia, also welcomed the move.

"I think it's real information and a resource that a parent can look at and see if the school works or doesn't," said Hardy, whose charter has a high school campus in West Philadelphia and a middle school in the Haddington neighborhood.

Later this spring, Gallard said, the district plans to release more charter information, including details about their academic performance and financial health.

The link for the profiles can be found on the left at www.philasd.org/charter_schools

martha.woodall@phillynews.com215-854-2789@marwooda