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Update: New deadline is Feb. 6 to submit alternative school-closing proposals

By Wendy Harris on Jan 31, 2013 01:16 PM

Speaking at a community meeting at Bartram High School two weeks ago, Superintendent William Hite announced that the District was inviting community members to submit alternative proposals to its school-closings plan. So far, the District has received 13 14 proposals from parents, education networks, School Advisory Council members, and others. All are posted on the District's website.  

Update: Today the District extended the deadline to Feb. 6 to submit individual plans for the Facilities Master Plan process. Those who still want to submit a proposal can do so by email.

The School Reform Commission is expected to vote on the closing recommendations March 7.

Here are some of the proposals' recommendations, concerning five of the schools slated for closure.

Stay Unified: A Resolution to Keep University City High School Together: Among the recommendations is a suggestion to invite other high schools such as Paul Robeson, or another public or charter school, to co-locate with University City as distinct schools sharing a single space. Stay Unified insists that the District could increase utilization at University City by expanding its Life Skills, Multiple Handicapped, and Autistic Support Programs and offering them to students displaced by the school-closings process, or even opening up the programs to students citywide who need them. The school's advocates also recommend renting unused space in the building to nonprofits, community businesses, and university partners as a way to create a full-service community school while raising needed revenues.

Philadelphia Military Academy at Leeds: The District proposes moving Philadelphia Military Academy at Leeds to Roosevelt Middle School, where it would merge with the District's other military academy, Philadelphia Military Academy at Elverson. But concerned parents and community members have suggested creating an all-high-school building in the Leeds building by merging the two Philadelphia Military Academies on its second floor. The first floor, they said, could be used to house Parkway Northwest, which would move into the building as well.   

McCloskey Elementary: Parents of students attending this school have made two suggestions: One is to serve additional students by growing the grade configuration from Pre-K to 6 to K-8; the second is to leave McCloskey as a Pre-K to 6 school and make the underenrolled F.S. Edmonds School into a K-8 school. Seventh and 8th graders from McCloskey and Pennypacker would fill the grades that would be added to Edmonds.

Save Duckrey Strategic Plan: One of the more lengthy proposals, this plan is filled with charts and narratives that illustrate the academic progress at the school. One option that it suggests is to send Meade students to attend Duckrey, which school advocates say would ensure the safety of Meade and Duckrey students, who would walk to school in close proximity to the heavily police-patrolled Temple campus. A second proposal recommends combining Duckrey with Pratt.  

Fulton Elementary: The proposal involves making Fulton a K-8 school, moving Fulton to neighboring Germantown High School, and permitting Fulton staff and students to remain intact.

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Comments (5)

Submitted by Education Grad Student (not verified) on January 31, 2013 10:44 pm

Can someone from the Notebook find out about the Clouden’s Proposals from Mama Gail's community organization? Who is Clouden? No one names Clouden appears as an author, that I could see. Who besides Mama Gail is a member of Mama Gail’s CommUNITY, education netWORK?

Looking at the Clouden's Proposal for West & Southwest Region, the proposal is to make all elementary schools K through 6 and put 7th and 8th graders in middle schools. The problem is, most of all of the schools feeding into Beeber--Gompers, Cassidy, Overbrook ES--are already either K-5 or K-6.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 7:25 am

Mama Gail is Gail Clouden. She usually doesn't provide her last name when testifying as she seems to think she's some kind of SRC celebrity and they allow it.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 9:39 am

And, I guess, if I were running around blaming earthquakes on God being displeased with Ackerman being asked to leave town, I wouldn't be giving out my last name for the newspapers to use either.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 9:44 am

Rereading the proposal to cut the middle schools at Lea and PAS, sending them to Shaw, and somehow shoving grades K-5 of both schools into the PAS building has taken on an especially rich context in recent weeks.

Wilson is kept on as a "goodwill school" because it is in a "remote" location. 46th and Woodland is remote? What?

I wouldn't waste The Notebook's time investigating Mama Gail unless they want to get into her past contracts with the district under Ackerman. THAT would be interesting reading. Same for Vernard Johnson.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 4, 2013 7:07 am

Well-played, school district. Announce the closure recommendations the week before Christmas, allow some uproar before the holidays and then close for business until after New Years. Run some of the most ineffective and badly managed community meetings Philadelphia has ever seen. Nothing demoralizes parents quite like standing in line all night to speak only to be told at 8 p.m. the meeting is over to respect their time and go home. Stings even a little more when socialists from out of town were able to get there early to line up and speechify to a captive audience. Play rope-a-dope with the activist groups letting them tire themselves out chasing a moratorium pipedream (just who, exactly, is going to enact this moratorium? No one has ever been able to explain that to me). Right around when they've gotten their protest ya-yas out and are able to start focusing on helping schools create their alternate proposals, which is what will really keep some schools open past June, announce the proposal deadline and pretend it has been widely publicized all along. Extend it one measly week for show. Have the district meet with "most" of the schools individually to keep up appearances after PAS parents got the direct line to Hite. Let Enon organize meetings facilitated by school contractor scoundrels and pretend they will report back honestly. Add the Renaissance program into the mix for maximum confusion and community disengagement. Still keep the February 21-23 closing hearing schedule giving schools a chance to beg to remain open in 30 minute increments over a Thursday evening, Friday day and Saturday. Wouldn't want to take up an SRC commissioner's Sunday so it's very important to hold hearings on a Friday workday. Vote on the closures on March 7th because it is incredibly important to make this decision as soon as possible but screw around until the end of June drawing up the new catchments - got to keep parents and the community on their toes.

Did I miss anything?

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