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December 2012 Vol. 20. No. 3 Focus on Fallout from a Cheating Scandal

News in brief

District creates new office to address student concerns

By by Charlotte Pope on Nov 21, 2012 12:26 PM
Photo: School District of Philadelphia

Karyn Lynch

Since coming to Philadelphia, Superintendent William Hite has emphasized the importance of community input and involving students in decision-making. This fall, Hite created the Office of Student Services to tackle student issues and ensure that their voices continue to be heard, and he brought in a former colleague to lead it.

“If you really want to focus on curriculum, instruction, and what’s happening in the classroom, it is critical to pull out the student services,” said new Chief of Student Services Karyn Lynch. 

“For children to be successful you have to address the additional fundamental issues that are impacting their ability to learn,” she said. “The superintendent created [the Office of] Student Services to address the non-academic needs, issues, and concerns of students.” 

This type of work is not new to Lynch, who served under Hite as the chief of student services with the Prince George’s County (Md.) Public Schools. There, Lynch managed a number of departments, including guidance counseling, family and community outreach, and homeless education.

In Philadelphia, Lynch said she is currently working on the rights and responsibilities of students, first looking at the District’s Code of Student Conduct – which was recently revised, giving principals more authority to handle disciplinary cases – and meeting with District principals to ensure they are familiar with the document. Lynch said her work also involves identifying programs and services that can help improve school climate. 

“We’re looking at school crime, behavioral health issues, bullying, sexual harassment, intimidation, and whether students are in an environment that is safe for learning,” she said.

Lynch oversees five offices, including safety, discipline, student placement, school operations, and the office that covers attendance, truancy, and alternative education placement.

“We’ve met several times with groups of students, and we will continue to. It is a big portion of the job,” she said. “One of Philadelphia’s strengths is that youth are organized, acting, participating, and eager to do even more.”

Lynch’s office can be reached at 215-400-4100 or


Comments (11)

Submitted by LISA (not verified) on September 25, 2013 1:08 am
The information above is quite interesting. However there was no mention of the students receivibg transpasses. According to the school district students must live 1.5 miles from the school. Parents do not know how you all compute the mileage. If a student t lives 10 blocks away from the school the child should receive a transpass. My daughter lives more than 10 blocks away from the school she attends but was told she was not eligible to receive a transpass. It takes her a half hour to get to and coming school daily. She's coming from 16th & Tasker to 11th & Tasker to 11 & Catherine Ste. That's between 15 & 20 blocks. Please tell me why she is not eligible for a transpass.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on September 25, 2013 5:27 am
10 blocks is not 1.5 miles. You need to clock the actual distance.
Submitted by LISA (not verified) on September 25, 2013 9:43 am
I did not say it was 1.5 miles. 10 blocks is 1 mile. If you are familiar with area then maybe you should calculate the mileage.
Submitted by Annonymous (not verified) on September 25, 2013 10:03 am
My point is the Commonwealth does not require the School District to provide transportation to a public school starting in 7th grade. (The Charter school law conveniently requires School Districts to provide transportation.) The 1.5 mile rule is hard and fast. Unfortunately for your daughter you live too close to Palumbo to get a transpass.
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Submitted by ConcernedRoxParent (not verified) on September 25, 2013 10:01 am
According to google, 16th and Tasker to 11th and Catherine is 1.3 miles
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