About 250 parents, community members, principals, teachers, and District officials braved an unusual fall snowstorm on Saturday to attend the first citywide summit on School Advisory Councils.
The "SAC Summit" at Benjamin Franklin High School was a key step in District plans to put functioning SACs in an increasing number of schools, perhaps close to half of those in the city.
The unfolding story of possible cheating on the 2009 PSSA exam is terrible news. It likely means educators acted unethically. It almost certainly means that the level of trust between the public and schools is even worse than it has been. And it could mean that those who confuse evidence of real learning with standardized test score results will yell even louder about the failings of our schools.
I teach in Philadelphia, have for the past five years. The last four of those years have been at Olney Elementary, a school that has been flagged for suspicious erasure patterns in this report. I can say I have never witnessed any answer erasure in my years there, including 2009. This news saddens me.
Philadelphia public schools have a new array of performance targets this year, and on its website, the District has published school annual reports showing how each school did.
Since 2003, all public schools have been receiving a federally mandated No Child Left Behind report card and needing to meet performance targets to make adequate yearly progress (AYP). NCLB targets are for test score performance and participation, as well as for attendance and graduation rates.
The Sunday, October 11 edition of the Inquirer included their annual Report Card on the Schools. This year's slim 12-page section focuses on math. The Inquirer has not yet incorporated this year's info onto the page with their past Report Cards, but has posted a separate 2009 page that has articles from it and a test score lookup tool.
The articles focus more on New Jersey and suburban Philadelphia schools than on Philadelphia, but the web page includes a list of math resources for students.
Activists who have long pressed the District to enhance its feeding programs are pushing changes in policy that they say will result in students eating more free meals at school.
Community Legal Services (CLS) and Public Citizens for Children and Youth (PCCY), want Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to include a school’s participation rate in the school breakfast program as an indicator on the new school report card.
Kristin Graham, The Inquirer’s education reporter, has recently written articles about the pressures of passing underperforming or de facto, failing students in the school district of Philadelphia. In her most recent June 21st article, Graham notes “the pressure to pass students- even those who rarely go to class or can’t read – is pervasive… So I beg to ask, are we really passing students?”
Unveiling a new approach to school accountability, the District has posted “school annual reports” on its Web site that set improvement goals for each school.
Superintendent Arlene Ackerman said these reports would provide a more comprehensive view of school performance than test scores or a school’s “Adequate Yearly Progress” status under No Child Left Behind.
To help bridge the gap between home and school, the School District introduced FamilyNet last spring, providing parents with access to data via the Internet concerning their child's school progress.
FamilyNet is accessible online to parents who provide a valid email address and their child's student identification number, which appears on report cards and on the Parent Location card.
To request a copy of your school's NCLB report card, contact the school or the School District's Office of Accountability at 215-299-7461.
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires school districts to provide data about school performance in the form of a "school report card." It reports how well each school performed in reaching targets set under the law, using the following performance measures: