Menu
Paid Advertisement
view counter

Number of 'persistently dangerous' District schools drops

By David Limm on Sep 10, 2013 05:10 PM

The number of Philadelphia public schools now on the state's list of "persistently dangerous" schools has dropped for a fourth year in a row.

There are now only two District schools on the list: Lincoln High School in Mayfair and West Philadelphia's Sayre High School, which was added this year.

Overall, the number of reported violent incidents in schools fell by 32 percent last school year, from 4,000 to about 2,800, according to the District. Violent incidents, as defined here, include assaults, abductions and attempts, and offenses involving drugs and alcohol fires, morals offenses, robberies, and weapons.​

Schools designated as persistently dangerous last year but removed from the list this year include: Beeber Middle School, Douglas High School, Frankford High School, Kensington Business High School, and Strawberry Mansion High School, which is now a Promise Academy. 

Anna Shaw Middle School, which closed this year, also qualified for the list.

Superintendent William Hite, in a statement, commended the effort of school staff in producing the decline. 

“Our principals and school-based staff have worked extremely hard to improve school culture, safety and climate,” said Hite. “We know that much work remains, which is why we are increasing the use of restorative practices and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS). Safety remains a high priority and we will continue working to ensure positive and safe environments for learning.” 

After drastic budget cuts, the District laid off all 1,200 school safety staff earlier this year. With the promise of additional funding from the city, most of the noontime aides have since been rehired. 

Click here
view counter

Comments (38)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 10, 2013 5:52 pm

yeah,what do you expect,there closing them all....omg

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 10, 2013 5:24 pm

The number dropped partially because the principals don't report all that they are supposed to!

Submitted by PhillyCounselorsUnited (not verified) on September 10, 2013 9:56 pm

Amen to THAT!! Can't count how many ACTUAL fights our school had last year as compared to the paltry number that was actually reported. No principal wants their school on the "persistently dangerous" list so they simply don't report every incident! It's not rocket science!

Submitted by Education Grad ... on September 11, 2013 12:48 am

EXACTLY!!! The data is only meaningful if it is truthful and in this case, it's easy to manipulate the data and there aren't many repercussions for not reporting incidents, like fist fights.

EGS

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2013 5:10 am

I can testify to that, principals aren't reporting incidents that are occurring at their schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2013 6:33 am

Yes, PRINCIPALS do not report all the incidents. Hats off to Dr.Anticoli for being honest in reporting. The schools like Frankford, Fels, Martin Luther king, Overbrook and West Philadelphia high schools are not on the list. This is ridiculous.

Submitted by JMH (not verified) on September 10, 2013 5:37 pm

Sayre is a high school and has been for about 8 years. It was on the persistently dangerous list before once it became a full high school having converted from a middle school by adding a grade each year. The school has seen its struggles and this year has its 5th principal in 5 years!@#!&?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 10, 2013 10:54 pm

What happened to the last two Sayre principals?

Submitted by Annonm (not verified) on September 11, 2013 6:37 am

Start with missing or damaged lap tops. How many are reported?

Submitted by Sayre Teacher (not verified) on September 11, 2013 4:40 pm

Sayre most likely made the list for two reasons. First, Sayre has been the victim of a record # of electronic device thefts in the last two years. Many door locks where broken last year and it took a long time to replace them with secure locks. Also, the district prevented Sayre from 21ing several students who were responsible for the thefts. ( I know firsthand of a student who was found on camera two years ago orchestrating the laptop theft but was later readmitted because the documentation was presented too late). Secondly, the principal last year attempted to clean up the school by 21ing many students but the district kept sending them back and pushed back against his aggressive push to remove these students. The principal and dean of students weren't the type to underreport incidents either so that would reflect badly on the school.

With regards to what happened to the previous two principals, Ms. Ames (2010-2012) left for a charter after creating very bad blood and a culture of fear for her teachers. Also, I heard but cannot confirm that she had been disciplined by 440. Mr. Ireland (2012-2013) was a first year principal and thus had to reapply for his position because of all the displaced principals. He allowed much more staff autonomy and was more concerned with meeting with outside organizations in an attempt to transform Sayre into a special admit Life and Health Sciences Academy, than dealing with the school climate head-on. The site selection committee and Ken Cherry decided to promote Ms. Eberle (the assistant principal) instead of retaining Mr. Ireland.

Submitted by Sayre Teacher (not verified) on September 11, 2013 4:21 pm

Sayre most likely made the list for two reasons. First, Sayre has been the victim of a record # of electronic device thefts in the last two years. Many door locks where broken last year and it took a long time to replace them with secure locks. Also, the district prevented Sayre from 21ing several students who were responsible for the thefts. ( I know firsthand of a student who was found on camera two years ago orchestrating the laptop theft but was later readmitted because the documentation was presented too late). Secondly, the principal last year attempted to clean up the school by 21ing many students but the district kept sending them back and pushed back against his aggressive push to remove these students. The principal and dean of students weren't the type to underreport incidents either so that would reflect badly on the school.

With regards to what happened to the previous two principals, Ms. Ames (2010-2012) left for a charter after creating very bad blood and a culture of fear for her teachers. Also, I heard but cannot confirm that she had been disciplined by 440. Mr. Ireland (2012-2013) was a first year principal and thus had to reapply for his position because of all the displaced principals. He allowed much more staff autonomy and was more concerned with meeting with outside organizations in an attempt to transform Sayre into a special admit Life and Health Sciences Academy, than dealing with the school climate head-on. The site selection committee and Ken Cherry decided to promote Ms. Eberle (the assistant principal) instead of retaining Mr. Ireland.

Submitted by JMH (not verified) on September 11, 2013 6:12 pm

The shame of it is that Sayre HS has some super wonderful people who work there now and have worked there in the past. The upheaval of leadership change started when Joe Star left...he was the principal who guided the school through the transition to a high school. Ackerman came in and started the process of "churn" and unfortunately Sayre has just always been a place where some leadership does not last. I am hoping and praying for the best for Ms. Eberle and all of the staff and students there...hang in there.

Submitted by Sayreteacher (not verified) on September 11, 2013 6:07 pm

I know all about "churn" happening at Sayre. When I got there two years ago, most of the staff was new. Last June, in the English department 5 of 7 teachers (including myself) were laid off, which was terrible because Sayre lost 5 hardworking and dedicated young teachers who were starting to make a difference. Now because of churn Sayre may be doomed to be closed. Although I was recently recalled ( thanks to my new social studies cert), I miss Sayre and would rather go back there then teach 7th grade at my new school. I'm happy I was recalled and will dedicate myself to my new school but I still hate it that just when I finally felt at home in a school it was taken from me and my students. I know firsthand that Ms. Eberle is capable of leading Sayre.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2013 10:45 pm

Your account is very accurate. You left out Mr Ireland has been demoted to Assistant Principal. That's the thanks he's given.

Submitted by Sayre Teacher (not verified) on September 12, 2013 1:46 pm

I have mixed feelings about Mr. Ireland. Personally, he treats his staff with a great deal of respect, trusts teachers with autonomy, and he had a vision for Sayre several years down the road. I had a great deal of respect for him as a leader, but I felt that sometimes he seemed absent and oblivious to the daily climate issues as he pursued his vision. I don't think 440 liked his vision because why would they actually want to improve Sayre when they can close it up and sell it off to a charter school

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 10, 2013 5:36 pm

The principals don't report violent incidents. It reflects poorly on them and on the school. There are lots of ways around actually entering a violent incident into the computer and still giving a consequence to the students.

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2013 4:51 pm

Did you have Wanda Allen as VP?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 10, 2013 6:54 pm

Great news. We're going in the right direction.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 10, 2013 7:59 pm

What's the deal with the red postcard from union today?? General meeting/ratification vote admission ticket?? Date TBA. WORRIED WE'VE BEEN SOLD OUT!!

Submitted by Headstart teacher (not verified) on September 10, 2013 7:14 pm

I didn't get it yet but as Nutter has his conference on tv at 10 tomorrow and the union has been silent about their meeting I wonder if your are correct....

Submitted by Jeffrey J. Jefferjeff (not verified) on September 10, 2013 7:09 pm

No word out of 440. No word from the PFT. Have a feeling it is a nothing conference. Nutter just likes to hear himself talk.

Submitted by Headstart teacher (not verified) on September 10, 2013 8:27 pm

Fingers crossed you are right!

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on September 10, 2013 8:21 pm

Nutter is trying to play all sides of every coin 24/7 as he plans for his next political appointment. He loves pontificating, you are so right.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 10, 2013 7:15 pm

Number of "persistently open" schools dropped, too.

Submitted by Headstart teacher (not verified) on September 10, 2013 7:30 pm

Sad but true...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 10, 2013 8:09 pm

Principals fail to accurately report incidents.

Submitted by Joan Taylor on September 10, 2013 9:53 pm

Yes, this year our number of persistently dangerous schools drops. Next year, amazingly enough, our number of special ed kids who have counseling on their IEP's will follow suit. Nothing makes cutting services more justifiable than ensuring that the numbers reveal nothing of the truth.

Soon all of our children will be above average, and they won't need any services at all. (Of course, they can't be too above average because we're not providing gifted services either.)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2013 5:54 am

Joan, interesting comment. For three years, the special education children at my former school all had counseling on their IEP's. I go to a new school and none of the special education students have counseling on their IEP'S.

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2013 8:56 am

That's right. Make the stories match so services don't have to be provided. Another rationale for having fewer counseling services. These professionals know what students need and advocate for them. Same with full time nurses.

Submitted by Lisa Haver (not verified) on September 11, 2013 8:26 am

Since NCLB, teachers in some schools have been pressured by principals--some outright ordered--not to recommend any more students to be tested for Special Education services; they were afraid of what that might do to their PSSA scores.

Joan is right. Can we look mid-year and see how many fewer IEPs have been written this year compared to previous ones? They are asking counselors to do the impossible. It is an obvious CYA operation.

Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on September 11, 2013 10:17 am

Either all the special ed. kids are doing GREAT or their teachers were lazy and incompetent. YES, it's all contrived, land of make believe crap and if you don't play your part, you're a huge problem that needs to GO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As long as people continue to play their roles, our demise is coming. Time is not our friend as the enemy----and YES, enemy is the correct noun----is wishing and hoping that school catastrophes will occur as soon as possible in the real schools.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2013 11:09 am

Someone needs to clarify the kind of reporting that counts towards the label of Persistently Dangerous. Only certain kinds of incidents count towards this classification. I believe that have to be violent offenses that result in criminal charges. So while there may be many fights and thefts in a given school, and all of these things might be honestly reported by administrators, only things that result in charges would count towards being Persistently Dangerous. In theory the reduction may be have today with Philly law enforcement agencies and their capacity to prosecute folks for some of these offenses. No charges filed- no PD strike against the school.

Submitted by JMH (not verified) on September 12, 2013 7:19 am

The types of incidents that result in a PD strike against the school are limited to possession of a weapon, robbery, any violent crime like kidnapping, murder etc...sexual assault, and aggravated assault. The last one is tricky. In the SDP, aggravated assault means the victim basically has to have some injury that resulted in a a trip the the hospital and required stitches !?>@>!? it means blood and guts.

Many assaults happen in school and require an ice bag. This event is not considered a PD event. by contrast, most weapons that enter buildings are caught by the scanning equipment. The person is arrested right there at the door and never uses or attempts to use it the building. Schools are pretty much dinged for an SPO doing their job and stopping an event before it happens. Several years back there was talk of having this type of event declassified from the PD list, and only counting actual use of a weapon on school grounds counted as a PD incident. I do not know that that actually occurred.

I say all this to say that many school principal and school police actually are very diligent in reporting serious incidents and they also know that only very specific events count. Fights, group assaults, disorderly conduct events, even thefts are reported, but are not necessarily PD. These incidents though absolutely do make it hard for students staff and others to believe that specific schools are actually safe in any way.

When we say a school is a safe place for a child to go to school, what do we actually mean? Persistently dangerous is just one monicker that we give to schools who fit a very narrow definition.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2013 12:55 pm

We had several students arrested for knives/blades, guns, and group assaults in our school, but I guess that isn't persistent. Maybe had 20 plus kids arrested at the school and with over 20 kids 21'd but I guess it's safer than Camden.

Submitted by Poogie (not verified) on September 11, 2013 7:18 pm

I am sure my High School is as persistently dangerous as Sayre of any other Philadelphia High School. But the administrators play with the numbers are faked. As we say in the SDP we are data driven and the administrators are driven to fake the data.

But there is no reason for anyone to want a school to be labeled persistently dangerous. You do not get more support or personnel. You just get a stare from the higher ups as why you are not faking data like everyone at 440.

In a real well run school being persistently dangerous would result in corrective action. In Philadelphia it merely results in faked data.

Trust every High School except the ones that are special admit like Central or Masterman are persistently dangerous. The rest of us exist so our kids can be kept away from the students in the favored institutions. We provide that valuable service of making sure that our unruly charges do not set foot in the august schools and upset the delicate sensibilities of the scholars.

What word am I looking for? Apartheid Education.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on September 11, 2013 8:48 pm

Is the list of persistently dangerous schools different from what is listed at the Pennsylvania Department of Education web site? It appears that there are six schools in Philadelphia on that list, including Frankford, where I used to work. Can we get clarification?

Submitted by Per D (not verified) on September 15, 2013 3:26 pm

Lincoln is a wonderful place to work. The label of PD is just that-a label. Our SPO's are diligent and our reporting is honest. My concern is the current lack of staffing and how it will play out during this year. It is difficult to cover every hallway with monitors when you just don't have enough warm bodies to do the job. When SPO's are called to other duties eg. court, there is no one to monitor the lavatories outside of the cafeteria so they remain locked. No student should be subjected to this kind of learning environment.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

By using this service you agree not to post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable. We reserve the right to delete or remove any material deemed to be in violation of this rule, and to ban anyone who violates this rule. Please see our "Terms of Usage" for more detail concerning your obligations as a user of this service. Reader comments are limited to 500 words. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

Follow Us On

          

Philly Ed Feed

Print edition

Recent Comments

Click Here
view counter
Click Here - Paid Ad
view counter
Click Here
view counter
Universal Family of School is Recruiting Talented Teachers
view counter

view counter
Click Here
view counter
Keystone State Education Coalition
view counter
Click Here
view counter
Click here
view counter
Advertise with TheNotebook.org
view counter
Click Here
view counter
Reserve your ad in the next edition of The Notebook
view counter
Top

Public School Notebook

699 Ranstead St.
Third Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone: (215) 839-0082
Fax: (215) 238-2300
notebook@thenotebook.org

© Copyright 2013 The Philadelphia Public School Notebook. All Rights Reserved.
Terms of Usage and Privacy Policy