"AAU! How y'all feelin?" shouted student teacher Wei Chen.
"Fantastic! Terrific! Great! All Day Long!" his students respond.
On March 17, 2010, 18 people showed up at the School Reform Commission’s public session to decry the District’s handling of a daylong series of attacks on Asian students at South Philadelphia High three months earlier.
Before the public comment period began, then-Chairman Robert Archie read a prepared statement. After the students and their supporters testified, former Commissioner Johnny Irizarry asked a few questions. And that was as far as the SRC would go in publicly sharing their thoughts on the episode.
In his ongoing effort to curb violence at South Philadelphia High School, Principal Otis Hackney brought in a little star power Tuesday.
Philadelphia Eagles running back Ronnie Brown, in conjunction with Eagles Youth Partnership and Power 99 FM, stopped by South Philly High to share his “23 Ways to Stop Youth Violence” program with the full student body.
Summer 2008 Arlene Ackerman joins the Philadelphia School District as CEO. She brings with her leadership experience in D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle. Ackerman was selected from among three finalists for the position.
Spring 2009 Ackerman unveils her five-year strategic plan, Imagine 2014. The School Reform Commission approves the plan with an estimated first-year budget of $126 million.
District officials are "taking very seriously" a report from the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations finding that it lacks the policies and procedures to prevent and counteract widespread intergroup conflict in city schools.
The report, drawn from 11 public hearings on school violence triggered by December, 2009 incidents at South Philadelphia High School, was officially released at a City Hall press conference Tuesday.
More than a year after the racial violence at South Philadelphia High School, the Asian Students Association of Philadelphia is not slowing down.
The organization, which formed after the 2009 attacks, has traveled to Houston and Washington, D.C., for student conferences and rallied for increased education about diversity and stronger measures to prevent student harassment.
At South Philadelphia High School, staff members were in tears when they heard the news on January 25 that the school was being named a Promise Academy – albeit the "Innovation" version, where much of the staff could remain. The announcement portends more upheaval for a school that had started to stabilize under new leadership after the violence and chaos of a year ago. Suddenly, teachers who have spent the year working toward creating a more supportive school culture have been thrust back into uncertainty, forced to reapply for their positions.
The decision to name South Philadelphia High School a Promise Academy is an alarming move for a school community that deserved to go through at least one year without dramatic upheaval and chaos.
Southern arguably started its own turnaround process this past fall – one that was community-driven, supported by new school leadership, and backed by both federal and state agreements about addressing repeated civil rights violations against Asian immigrant youth. Otis Hackney, the school’s principal, had called on his staff to work with him to create a radically different school culture, a school culture that by all accounts has improved immensely.
The naming of South Philadelphia High School as a Renaissance School sends a bewildering message to everyone involved that the school isn’t on the right path after all and that it is the District, not the school, that holds all the right answers.
The impact of the legal settlement mandating that the School District take steps to counter anti-Asian violence at South Philadelphia High School will be felt in other schools across the city, according to officials, advocates and others involved in hammering out the agreement.
Although not required to, the District is being strongly encouraged to adopt policies and practices in all schools that are designed to prevent ethnic harassment and bullying, not just react to it.
In a written statement, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman said it will.