Alan Jacobs dropped out of Kensington High School at 16 and soon found himself locked up on a gun charge.
His mom, Emma Johnson, felt that her son had completely lost control of his life.
"He wanted to stand on the corner and make fast money," said Johnson. "We talked to him and we talked to him, and he was just headstrong. He wanted the streets."
In a district roiled by budget cuts and layoffs, the new principal at Henry Lea Elementary is counting on a network of community supporters to help keep the West Philadelphia school on an even keel.
“The cuts are probably going to be the biggest challenge. How do you function, as a building, with less than we’ve ever had?” said Jennifer Duffy, a former District administrator hired just last week to run the 600-student school.
But, she said, “This school, more than any others I looked at, has a tremendous network.”
City Controller Alan Butkovitz released his annual report on the School District’s internal controls on Wednesday and drew headlines for his continued concerns about the District’s handling of its art collection.
But not noted in the media coverage was the fact that this is the first time since 2008 that the controller’s review of the District’s internal controls found neither “material weaknesses” nor “significant deficiencies.”
Beginning high school is daunting enough for most young people. But this year, students in Philadelphia face worries that most of their counterparts in more reliably funded districts don’t have.
Will their schedules be disrupted if more layoffs become necessary and some teachers disappear? Will counselors be available to make sure they are taking the courses they need? Will their high school even offer all the courses they want – in some cases, courses that attracted them to that school in the first place?
Under a blazing August sun, Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf practiced the politics of friendly with red-shirted members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers at Solis-Cohen Elementary School.
Union members, hoping that a Wolf win would translate into more school resources, posed for pictures and shook hands Wednesday with the man who current polling says will overtake Gov. Corbett in November.
Parents searching for high-quality pre-kindergarten options for their children can be overwhelmed as they try to find a school they can trust.
On Tuesday, a coalition of nonprofit education advocacy organizations announced it will give parents a huge helping hand.
With the lead of the Philadelphia School Partnership, a new website is allowing parents to easily search and compare high-quality pre-K options. It can be accessed through GreatPhillySchools.org, an existing site that evaluates K-12 options.
A Philadelphia judge has put the brakes on plans by Girard College to suspend its high school and boarding programs next year in order to restore the school's finances.
Girard College is a unique institution in Philadelphia. Established by 19th-century merchant Stephen Girard, it offers a free education from 1st through 12th grades for kids of single parents at its 43-acre campus in North Philadelphia.
With more than 40 schools opening in a week with new principals, the District has filled vacancies at Lea and Cook-Wissahickon elementaries and at Kensington CAPA and Kensington Business.
Jennifer Duffy is the new principal at Lea. According to a bio posted on the school's site, she was born and went to college in South Africa and most recently worked in the District's Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs. She is also a member of the Philadelphia Writing Project.