“Es tiempo de limpiar y regresar a sus mesas,” said Carolena Lescano as she called the attention of the 26 2nd-graders in her dual-language classroom at Bayard Taylor Elementary School in North Philadelphia.
Then in English: “It’s time to clean up and return to your tables.”
How do I get started?
Talk to the adults in your life, including teachers, counselors, and parents or guardians. Review the articles and school profiles in this guide. Get a copy of the District’s high school directory published every fall and meet with your counselor. Seventh and 8th graders should attend the High School Expo, scheduled this year on September 28 and 29, where all District and charter schools are represented and you can ask questions. In October, the Philadelphia School Partnership will launch its website, greatphillyschools.org, from which you can get information on academics, extracurricular activities, graduation rates, college enrollment, safety and other factors.
By Dale Mezzacappa and Benjamin Herold
The School District released a 119-page document on Thursday that summarized the analyses and recommendations of the Boston Consulting Group, an outside firm retained at private expense to help the District avert a financial meltdown by radically overhauling its business operations and delivery of education.
The document details BCG’s work and thinking on hot-button topics ranging from charter expansion to labor negotiations. It also includes the previously unreleased analyses behind controversial District proposals to close dozens of schools and reorganize those that are left into decentralized, independently managed “achievement networks.”
by Willie Colon
The School District announced plans in the spring to consolidate its Newcomer Learning Academies (NLAs) at one site at Benjamin Franklin High School. But there was still community skepticism about the basic premise of the program: Some wondered whether it was wise to segregate and potentially isolate newly arrived immigrant students.
Although the School District has signaled its intent to hold the line on further cuts to English language learner instruction and services, this school year’s budgetary upheavals have taken a toll on the system’s programs for ELL students and families.
The year started with significant cuts to ELL instruction and supports – cuts that were mitigated by varying degrees as the year progressed, according to information provided by Lucy Feria, deputy chief for multilingual programs, and a Notebook analysis of District budget documents.
Sentado en una mesa de la cafetería en el Community College of Philadelphia, Cheick Kante no hace ningún esfuerzo por ocultar su frustración.
"A veces quisiera no haberme mudado acá nunca", dice Kante, un alto joven de 22 años que está estudiando una carrera en sistemas de información en el CCP. "Nunca pensé que sería así".
At a School Reform Commission meeting Monday night, officials said they would do their best to avoid further cuts in programs for the District's 13,000 English language learners.
By devoting an entire two-hour meeting to the topic, the SRC signaled its commitment to prioritize this large but often-neglected segment of the District's population.
But officials also acknowledged that teacher layoffs and other budget-related decisions have taken a toll on these programs over the years.
Sitting at a table in the cafeteria at the Community College of Philadelphia, Cheick Kante makes no effort to hide his frustration.
"Sometimes I wish I'd never come here," says Kante, 22, a towering man who is studying computer information systems at CCP. "I never knew it would be like this."
A few hours later and a brisk walk away, Mohamed Kakay is a study in confidence as he chats in Starbucks at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is a graduate student in global studies. "I've had to work twice as hard," says Kakay, also 22. "But the resources are there for immigrant students."
For immigrant students interested in higher education, here are some resources:
Philadelphia Education Fund
College Access Program
Kimberly Stephens, director
215-665-1400, ext. 3316
College Access Centers
4548 Market St., 215-476-2227
Gallery, 9th & Market, 215-574-1341