At tonight's School Reform Commission meeting, the first to be chaired by Bill Green, District officials will be presenting on two topics -- Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn will speak about the "System of Great Schools Initiative," and District CFO Matthew Stanski will give an update on the District's financial situation for next school year.
Check here for a list of resolution summaries. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.
by Bill Hangley Jr.
As Bill Green takes the helm of the School Reform Commission, new details have emerged about the process that brought him to the job.
Officials at the Philadelphia School Partnership say that their hired consultants from one of the state's most influential lobbying firms, Wojdak & Associates, actively urged legislators in Harrisburg to support Green as SRC chair during the run-up to his approval by the state Senate.
“Our advocacy around the SRC was that the city needed a leader who is focused on reform and has the skills and experience to be effective,” said Mark Gleason, the PSP’s executive director. “Based on Bill Green’s vision and experience, we supported him as a candidate who could be a great SRC chair.”
William Penn Foundation chooses new and very different managing director. Nonprofit Quarterly
The School District of Philadelphia will ask for $320 million in additional funds next year to reach "a bare minimum amount of improved and sustained educational opportunities for our students and families," according to a financial supplement to Superintendent William Hite's Action Plan 2.0 made public Thursday.
Ideally, Hite said, to fully realize his plan -- built on "bold expectations" for creating schools that can prepare all students for college and careers -- the price tag exceeds twice that amount.
It is hard to find someone in the system who trusts the current School District budget. It’s doubtful that more than a few fully understand it.
The District's budget is in many ways a masterpiece of obfuscation, with a design that dates back to former CEO/Superintendent Paul Vallas, who was an accountant by training. The current version fulfills the District’s obligation to publish an annual budget. But the document’s design features and the survival climate created by the continuing financial crisis have given central administration almost complete control over allocation decisions.
by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks
For Philadelphia School District Superintendent William Hite, it's a classic managerial quandary.
Either grab some quick savings that could free up money for services that the city's schoolchildren could really use.
Or hold off on that deal in hopes of securing the long-term structural changes that you bet will strengthen the system overall.
Nutter asks biz to help get schools money. Daily News
Can someone help this man? AxisPhilly
Hite plan gets muted response. Inquirer
Snow forces students into cyber school. Inquirer
The School District does not do enough to train employees or clarify and enforce its ethics policies, a long-awaited report being discussed at the School Reform Commission today concludes.
As a result of the lack of focus, members of the public lack confidence that the School District officials and personnel act in an ethical manner, says the report, which was compiled by a task force of outside experts and completed in December, 2012 -- 14 months ago.
The School Reform Commission will host a Strategy, Policy and Priorities meeting from 6 to 8 tonight. The topic will be ethics. A report on the ethics policies and practices of the School District of Philadelphia will be presented by Michael Davis, general counsel, and Ellen Kaplan, vice president and policy director of the Committee of Seventy.
The report, which was actually finished in 2012, makes recommendations for assuring Philadelphia citizens that the School District operates with integrity.
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.
DN Editorial: HITE OF AMBITION Daily News
Girls May Be The Ones To Suffer Most Under Common Core Math Chestnut Hill-Mt. Airy Patch
Teaching About the Jordan Davis Murder Practical Theory
Superintendent William Hite, seeking to demonstrate that the District is moving forward despite profound financial woes, has released an updated “action plan” for improving city schools.
The 42-page plan takes aim at four “anchor goals” that Hite calls “aspirational in scope and urgent in nature,” including having 100 percent of 8-year-olds reading on grade level and 100 percent of students graduating with college-ready or job-ready skills.
SDP schools will now be open on April 15, 16, and 17 to make up for lost instructional days due to inclement weather #phled
— Philadelphia Schools (@PhillyEducation) February 14, 2014
To make up for the days lost due to snow this year, the School District announced today that three of those days will be recouped by cutting spring break.
The books at Roxborough High's library sit untouched and unread by students. Renovated at considerable expense in 2007, the library was closed three years ago when, due to budget cuts, it became too expensive to keep open. It’s used for meetings, presentations, and small assemblies now.
When I mentioned over the dinner table the fact that in Philadelphia, almost all public school libraries were closed, my 5-year-old granddaughter, who attends a suburban elementary school, almost fell off her chair. “What, no libraries? Library is fun!” Her father, a graduate of Central, was equally upset. He spent the bulk of his lunch periods in the library, either studying, reading magazines, or shooting the breeze with friends.
by Mary Wilson for NewsWorks
The string of winter storms this year has prompted school closures across Pennsylvania. While school districts won't see teaching time requirements relaxed, they will be able to apply for some wiggle room.
The state Department of Education is sending reminders to school districts that they are allowed some flexibility in meeting instructional time requirements under state law.