There has been a push from a coalition of community groups to spread School Advisory Councils (SACs) to more District schools. On Saturday, Nov. 3, community members will join SAC teams, parents, students, and others interested in serving on one of the councils for an SAC Summit.
By Bill Hangley, Jr.
[UPDATE: The final transitional chart has been released]
The Philadelphia School District says it is preparing to release an updated organizational chart for the first time since the departure of former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman.
The District’s annual bell-ringing ceremony for the first day of school took place this year at AMY Northwest Middle School. On hand to participate were (from left) the mayor’s Chief Education Officer Lori Shorr, School Reform Commission Chair Pedro Ramos, AMY Northwest principal Marco Zanoni, Superintendent William Hite, Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon, and AMY Northwest 7th grader Benjamin Frazier (in front). The ceremony marked the first day for AMY students at their new Roxborough site.
The editorial staff of the Notebook wants to offer an explanation of the decision Saturday to disable comments on the Sept. 28 article about Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon’s leave from the School District. Some readers were upset by seeing comments taken down en masse. We have been accused of censorship.
Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon will be taking a one-year sabbatical from the School District starting Nov. 1. Nixon had been the second-ranking District official and top instructional leader until the recent appointment of Paul Kihn as deputy superintendent.
Monday night's School Reform Commission meeting gave principals the chance to vent their frustrations about lack of support from the District and high turnover.
More than 20 participated in a public discussion and were forthright about what they were not getting from the District and how they were rarely consulted about important decisions before those decisions impacted their schools.
The School District of Philadelphia and its largest charter school turnaround operator have agreed on the outlines of a deal that will prevent the relocation of 12 severely disabled children from one of the city’s Renaissance charters.
The deal avoids a potentially traumatic move for students in two Multiple Disabilities Support (MDS) classrooms at Mastery Charter Clymer Elementary in North Philadelphia. It also allays, at least for now, the concerns of disabilities rights advocates that the District had established a precedent for exempting charters from their responsibility to educate some of the city’s most vulnerable – and expensive to serve – students.
“I think we came up with a really positive solution,” said Courtney Collins-Shapiro, deputy chief innovation officer at Mastery Charter Schools.
“I think this is a good sign of the District and charters partnering.”
District officials have shot down an effort by teachers at Creighton Elementary to stave off charter conversion and lead their own school turnaround effort.
A teacher-led proposal calling for a council of teachers and community members to assume control of the school “does not provide sufficient evidence of the…ability to implement, manage, and sustain a large-scale school turnaround at Creighton,” wrote Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon in a memo dated May 29.
For three of this year's four Renaissance Schools, the selection process is over. The public meetings are complete, the School Reform Commission has voted, and barring any unforeseen complication, next September they'll open as neighborhood charter schools.
But at Creighton Elementary in the Lower Northeast, supporters of a unique plan for a teacher-led administration are holding out hope that their school can buck a very big trend.
Response to the April 2012 edition article "Working on a new blueprint for schools she grew up in"
I was delighted to read about the vision and commitment Penny Nixon brings to her office. It is so much easier to create a one-size-fits-all planning and scheduling timeline for teachers to follow than it is to recognize the differences that students bring with them, and to give teachers the gift and the challenge of working creatively to develop students' thinking and reasoning skills.