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December 2011 Vol. 19 No. 3 Focus on District Leadership

Willing to listen

Photo: Jessica Kourkounis

At a November community meeting, School Reform Commission member Lorene Cary (left) listens to Lisa Corbin, mother of a 3rd grader at Cook-Wissahickon Elementary.

by Benjamin Herold

For the first time in recent memory, Patrice Berrian-Marrujo felt that somebody in power was listening to her.

A classroom assistant for students with severe emotional problems at Levering Elementary in Roxborough, Berrian-Marrujo describes herself as a "low-level employee" in the School District of Philadelphia.

But she is passionate about her work, and she is concerned about what the District's recent proposal to close Levering will mean for her students. So on a crisp November Saturday, she joined roughly 100 other parents, students, and teachers at a community meeting at Roxborough High School to discuss the District's plans.

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What about the public?

By by Benjamin Herold

Members of Philadelphia's School Reform Commission oversee a system with 20,000 employees that directly serves 150,000 students.

So a lot of people want their ear.

But what do the new commissioners think the public's role should be in helping the SRC make decisions?

Philadelphia native Wendell Pritchett refers to the Quaker values he learned at Friends Select School in Center City.

"Public input – community making decisions – is a crucial aspect of Quakerism that was beaten into me," he said. "I take it very seriously."

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The new SRC: Mapping the members' connections

In an effort to draw a richer picture of the members of the SRC, this map shows their past and present employment, recent local civic interests, and various affiliations, as well as who appointed them. It is thorough but not exhaustive, especially with regard to board service and past employment.

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