Half of the members of Gov.-elect Tom Wolf's 18-person transition committee for education issues have Philadelphia ties, including co-chair Pedro Rivera, the Lancaster superintendent.
Rivera was born and raised in Philadelphia and spent 13 years in the system as a teacher, principal, and director of human resources before heading to Lancaster in 2008. There he has drawn attention for improving student achievement and the district's financial position.
Students gathered at the School District's headquarters late Thursday afternoon to participate in a "die-in" to protest the grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. They also honored the death of Laporshia Massey, a Philadelphia student who died last year after suffering an asthma attack in school, where no nurse was on duty.
North Philadelphia's Wakisha Charter School is closing its doors Friday, only the second charter school in Philadelphia history to do so in the middle of a school year. Wakisha was supposed to close Dec. 23, but last week the school's administration stopped classes and moved up the last day to Dec. 19.
Updated | 7:50 p.m.
Tonight Superintendent William Hite presented two five-year financial plans to the School Reform Commission.
One is called "Inadequate Status Quo" and reflects the "grim reality" of current conditions in schools.
The other, called "Transformation," asks for enough resources to "provide all ... students with the kind of educational opportunities that will enable them to fulfill their promise."
It appears that the tensions have subsided, at least for the moment, between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the commonwealth's fiscal watchdog.
Auditor General Eugene DePasquale blasted the agency earlier this month for being uncooperative with a performance review.
For the second year in a row, School District of Philadelphia officials will not be proposing any closures of District schools.
"At this time, we are not making any recommendations to close schools next year," School District spokesperson Fernando Gallard confirmed in an email, without elaboration.
For Kamoy Gumbs, a senior at South Philadelphia High School, the school day doesn’t end after the final bell. Instead, he heads up to the third floor to do some homework in the school’s teen lounge before he trades his pencil for an apron.
“I love cooking, and one of my friends told me about it, so I came over,” said Gumbs, 17, who takes part in a culinary arts program after school provided by Sunrise of Philadelphia, a social services organization. “I started in 10th grade -- it’s my third year. I go every day.”
Southern, as the school is often called, has been working with local service providers like Sunrise for three years to provide afterschool programming and social services inside its building for students, parents, and, when it can, other community members.
For the first time, Philadelphia's high school selection application -- used by about 60 percent of District students to apply to up to five schools outside their neighborhoods -- is entirely online.
It's a matter of convenience for the District and the students, according to Karyn Lynch, the District's chief of student services.
The process makes things easier on the District by cutting out time-consuming data entry, she said, adding that parents can access the application on smartphones or other mobile devices.