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10 things we learned from Hite's new Action Plan 2.0

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 18, 2014 02:03 PM

Superintendent William Hite’s Action Plan 2.0 is full of interesting facts and statistics. A few that caught our eye:

1. As a result of school closings and relocations in 2013, school utilization went from 67 percent to 74 percent -- still far from the District's target of having 85 percent of seats occupied, as was specified in its Facilities Master Plan process.

2. The District says it has implemented new interventions -- Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) – in 26 District schools.

3. Fifty-three percent of kindergartners have grade-level literacy skills, according to the Developmental Reading Assessment.

4. In 2013, only 45 percent of 3rd graders had proficient or advanced PSSA reading scores; proficiency rates haven’t been that low since 2005-06.

5. Most recent District data indicate that only 16 percent of District students who have an Individualized Education Program scored proficient or advanced on the PSSA in reading, and only 18 percent scored proficient or advanced on the PSSA in mathematics. The document offered a national comparison: in Maryland, 28 percent of 4th grade students with an IEP scored proficient or advanced on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading Assessment, considered more rigorous than the PSSAs.

6. In 2012-13, only 14 percent of English language learner students scored proficient or advanced on the PSSA in reading and 27 percent scored proficient or advanced on the PSSA in mathematics.

7. Thirty-two percent of District 9th graders from 2008 finished high school on time and matriculated to college in 2012; the national average is 53 percent. The 32 percent figure, though, is up from a study of a cohort from nine years earlier, when only 23 percent of 9th graders from District schools finished high school in four years and matriculated in college within a year.

8. Last year, only 20 percent of District 11th graders passed the biology Keystone exam, but 53 percent were proficient in literature.

9.  There are 10,000 city students attending alternative and discipline schools at a cost of $129 million a year. Just 11 percent are accepted to and persist in college.

10. The District's workforce shrank by 3,000 this year to 17,024 employees. Of those, 16,592 -- all but about 400 -- are represented by one or another of the District's labor unions.


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Comments (10)

Submitted by Eileen M. DiFranco (not verified) on February 18, 2014 3:39 pm
Point #10 is important. The shrinkage in staff included counselors and myriad support staff, the people who make sure that kids stay in school. We began school this year without any counselors. The year before, our mental health specialist, our social worker, and student liaison were laid off. One counselor was restored in November. The others have not. Our students languish without these necessary services. Ambitious plans require adequate resources. Without these resources, Dr. HIte's plan dreams will be nothing but pipe dreams. It is really time to get real.
Submitted by Joe K. (not verified) on February 18, 2014 5:25 pm
NO, the point is he doesn't expect or even begin to want the kids to succeed. The point is to starve the kids so their parents will see the charter lie movement as saviors. Do you really think Kenny and Scotty and Williams are worried about money and resources ?? The fix is in and it will continue to be until the people stop it. When they've been bitch slapped enough, they'll have a Jim Belushi moment and fight back and it'll get ugly and I can't wait !!!!!
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 18, 2014 4:12 pm
Officials at the SDP live off pipe dreams and wasted money being self serving to themselves, family and friends. Students, parents, teachers, staff, etc. do not fit in that equation according to them..
Submitted by garth (not verified) on February 18, 2014 5:35 pm
Reading about Hite's plan, it reminded me of Ackerman's Imagine 2014. I know that Ackerman's plan is no longer around and now long forgotten, but I guess that every head of the PSD has to put down a "dream plan" of what they hope to achieve in theory. As a parent of several children in Philly public schools since 1997, (and I still have a 9th grader) I've seen a bunch of these plans come and go. Does anybody every check back later to see if the plan is still realistic? I think Vallas even created one based on his vision for the District's schools, and he used it to build several new school buildings. That type of new construction seems inconcievable now. I guess my complant about Hite's plan is that I'm not sure it's a realistic assessment of what can really be accomplished in the next couple of years. Unless we change governors later this year, how is the District going to have the funds required to accomplish some of these goals in Hite's plan?
Submitted by linda (not verified) on February 18, 2014 6:44 pm
"There are 10,000 city students attending alternative and discipline schools at a cost of $129 million a year. Very few, just 11 percent, are accepted to and persist in college." and how many leave the reg public school at what cost and are accepted and persist in the way, how do they know if the student continues in college?..what if the student leaves the state ...does he or she send a note to the SDP?................ how does the SDP classify college?....2 year, four year or tech school?..... what about the students who enter the Armed forces?....... Oh that's right, with all of the cuts the SDP research department has exactly one person working in it for a half day twice a week........... Linda K.
Submitted by Paul Socolar on February 18, 2014 7:00 pm

The District actually has access to extensive information about postsecondary education for its students through the National Student Clearinghouse, which gets enrollment data  from every postsecondary institution that receives federal financial aid dollars. They provide reports to the District on who from the District is enrolled in college each semester and who completes college. That's how the Notebook was able to include college-going information and college persistence information like this in our June 2012 edition. The data systems are there to do this, but the District's capacity to generate reports from the data and disseminate them has been limited.

Submitted by linda (not verified) on February 18, 2014 8:27 pm
I then ask if not the Philly News, then that the NOTEBOOK do a similar study to say what the stats are for last year comparison between charter high school grads and regular public high school grads..... I ask in that having started my dissertation for a doctorate in 2009 and then completing it in 2010 I could not help but notice that the staff of three that worked two days a week in the SDP research office had dropped down to a staff of one. In fact, even though I sent a digital copy and hand delivered a hard copy as per the directive and paperwork that I had to sign to even get permission to do the research, no one bothered to see if I turned in the work. As a matter of fact three other people I know never bothered to go back with the completed dissertations even though we all finished at Saint Joe's together by 2010-2011. Linda K.
Submitted by Lisa Haver on February 19, 2014 7:47 am
One of the things we did not learn from the plan: How much did it cost to close over 25 schools last year? Dr. Hite said we would save $22 million, but we haven't been told, at least not at any SRC meeting, whether we did nor not.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 20, 2014 11:31 am
Point #9 is interesting. Clearly 11% matriculation to post secondary is not good enough, however two further points need to be made here. First, the City conducted a study a few years ago that monetized the cost to the City for a single high school drop out over the life of that particular student. They quantified it as 300K per dropout. If you only applied that rationale to those students from alternative education that continued on to a post secondary institution, that correlates into 330,000,000 in savings (that's right, 330 million). Do you think the folks on Wall Street would pay for those types of returns? That says nothing about those students who graduated with a high school degree and entered the workforce. It also does not take into account the fact that most of these students were significantly behind academically before entering an alternative school. Second point. If the City, State and District are trying to stretch their dollars as efficiently and EFFECTIVELY as possible, why can't we see more disaggregated data from alternative education providers? Grouping the data together is reckless and a disservice to the tax payers. Keep and invest in the good ones.
Submitted by Caleb (not verified) on April 30, 2014 9:26 am
Number 7 is alarming because of the low percentage of 9th graders completing and graduating high school. This is a problem in need of a deliberate solution.

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