Fifteen Philadelphia area schools have something to be thankful for. They are being awarded grants totaling $70,000 through Public Citizens for Children and Youth's Picasso Project — a philanthropic reaction to budget cuts that have decimated art and music resources across the city's public schools.
"Several schools in Philadelphia have no arts teacher, no music teacher and very little funding. If they do have an art teacher, they may not have any budget for materials," said Linda Fernandez, the project's director.
A new program at the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology allows Philadelphia 7th graders and their families to experience the wonders of ancient Egypt and Rome for free.
On Tuesday, the University of Pennsylvania launched “Unpacking the Past,” a $2.2 million initiative that provides 7th-grade students in the School District of Philadelphia and schools run by KIPP and Mastery Charter schools with hands-on, curriculum-focused learning experiences using museum resources to make history come alive.
The art will not be sold.
The School Reform Commission rejected a proposal Thursday to hire two companies, including Sotheby's, Inc., to market and sell about 60 pieces of artwork that were taken out of schools nearly a decade ago -- under what some people still consider questionable circumstances -- and put in storage.
The artwork, including paintings by prominent African American artists Henry Ossawa Tanner and Dox Thrash, was at first estimated to be far more valuable than experts now say it is. Commissioners nixed the idea of selling the pieces after hearing that appraisers have put their collective value at less than $1 million, and after being told that the intention was to put any proceeds in the general fund instead of dedicating it to arts-related programming in schools.
The District’s funding troubles have had some impact on the hundreds of afterschool programs now under way across the city.
Some programs had to pack up and relocate when the District closed two dozen schools last June. Other programs were left scrambling to find volunteers to replace teachers who led afterschool initiatives in past years for extra pay, according to out-of-school-time (OST) advocates in recent interviews.
Despite cutbacks and scrimping, however, the District has kept school doors open for about 100 programs serving more than 3,800 children -- and out-of-school programs operating under the aegis of the city’s Department of Human Services overall still reach about 20,000 children in grades K-12 on weekday afternoons.
by Isaac Riddle
With District schools suffering from severe cuts in arts and music education, a new program is offering the city's high school students free admission to 12 of the city’s museums and attractions.
Students at Museums in Philly, or STAMP, targets young people between the ages of 14 to 19 who live in the city. Students can enroll in the program by registering at the STAMP website, after which they will receive the STAMP Pass free of charge to present to any of the 12 participating institutions during non-school hours.
The Young Artists exhibition, which opened earlier this week in the atrium of School District headquarters, 440 N. Broad St., proudly displays over 1,500 pieces of artwork by students from more than 150 schools across Philadelphia. The exhibition, one of the largest of its kind in the country, runs through Aug. 30.
All photos by Harvey Finkle
This guest blog post comes from Aaron Troisi, a board member of the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools.
With the School District cutting programs and closing neighborhood schools, the city’s children may soon receive some educational assistance from an unlikely source – Philadelphia’s hip-hop community.
Hip Hop Fundamentals, a local group of dancers who use breakdancing to teach academic content, are gearing up to tour their empowering “Civil Rights Movements” assembly to 10 neighborhood public schools at no cost to the local schools. But first they have to raise some money.
Four months after William Hite took the helm of one of the most troubled big-city school districts in the nation, the new Philadelphia superintendent is set to release his blueprint for turning the system around on Monday.
Hite is facing a grim reality. He is already committed to closing 37 schools -- nearly one in six -- and needs to stave off what will turn into a $1 billion annual shortfall by 2018 if austerity measures aren’t taken now.
By Kofi Biney
When you first walk into Universal Audenried Charter High School, you are greeted by banners displaying various positive messages, such as “My future begins here,” “I help others succeed,” and “I will overcome.”
Audenried isn't just promoting this can-do attitude through its banners, but as the location of the South Philadelphia Regional Talent Center.
By Charlotte Pope
In an early-morning event near Philadelphia’s famed Clothespin sculpture, red-shirted staff from the After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP) distributed fresh copies of the nonprofit’s annual directory of afterschool programs.
The guide is distributed as a supplement to the Philadelphia Daily News.
The publication is the organization’s largest to date, containing information about more than 1,000 afterschool programs, including chess, drama, debate, Scrabble, sports, and art. Through participation, students increase academic achievement, improve attendance and peer and adult relations, and gain a deeper respect for guidelines and expectations around student conduct.