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Remembering the closing Philly schools

By thenotebook on Jun 28, 2013 03:36 PM

by Sonia Giebel

In the wake of 24 school closings this year, photographer Zoe Strauss initiated the Philadelphia School Closings Photo Collective to document this unprecedented mass school closure. Various photographers have contributed to the collective, with hundreds of photos already posted. Seventeen schools are represented here with photos from that public collective.  

 

 

Sonia Giebel is an intern at the Notebook.

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Comments (5)

Submitted by tom-104 on Sat, 06/29/2013 - 07:05

Looking at these photos you really feel what a tragedy has been forced on this city!

Submitted by Philly Parent and Teacher (not verified) on Sat, 06/29/2013 - 08:24

Yes, imagine all the students, teachers, staff members, and families that made these schools alive over the past century. The stories shouldn't be lost. The schools shouldn't be remembered the way Mr. Khin describes schools at SRC meetings. His caustic, sterile reports and lifeless responses are an insult to everyone who participated in the life of the schools. (The SRC, Dr. Hite, and Lori Shorr were not no better when parents, teachers and students provided a different story about their schools.)

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on Sat, 06/29/2013 - 15:20

That's because the deal was already done and the folks you mentioned were puppets. Lori Shorr has always been a piece of work with an attitude to match. Bottom line is the privatization with all its ugly appendages will be foisted on all the inner cities unless/until the people in them, stop it by force of will. Look at Detroit. That's coming our way too like a speeding, out of control train. People have got to stop being shocked and saddened and disgusted and afraid and turn those emotions into ANGER and FORCE. Unless, we do, we shall deserve what we get.

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 06/29/2013 - 15:52

We need to clone this dude Joe. All over the city!!!

Submitted by Education Grad ... on Sat, 06/29/2013 - 19:20

PPT,

You are so right. Each school has a story. This story is inextricably linked with the history of the neighborhood, the people who lived there, the children who attended each school, and the people who worked at each school. Students from various generations graced the classrooms and halls. In some neighborhoods, the schools have been the most stable institutions. The population, in composition, may have changed, but the school remained. Also, many schools are named for people. George Washington School has a very well-known namesake, but other schools have more obscure namesakes.

It's easy to look at some of the school buildings and underestimate the age of the school as an institution. Some of these schools have been present long before their current buildings. M. Hall Stanton School is a perfect example. The current building was built in 1959 but M. Hall Stanton School has been an institution in its neighborhood for over 100 years. (On Phillyhistory.org, there are pictures of the old M. Hall Stanton School building dated 1906. The age of the current building comes from http://webgui.phila.k12.pa.us/offices/f/facilities-master-plan/individua..., doesn't

Even the buildings tell a story. For example, Fairhill School's building, circa 1969, looks much different than Stanton's Building, circa 1959. Each of the Irwin T. Catharine buildings has unique features, even though many of the buildings he designed are quite similar in appearance.

When these buildings are sold off to charter schools, they may still be schools, but the school's institutional history is lost. This is a city of neighborhoods. Neighborhood schools matter. Of course, the quality of the education taking place at each school is of the utmost importance. However, data can only convey a small sliver of what makes these schools significant --- innovative design, the importance to the neighborhood, and memories.

EGS

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