To Philadelphia’s next mayor:
The city’s high school graduation rate is abysmal but has been getting better. College-going rates are inching upward.
As mayor, there is much you can do to ensure that this improvement continues and accelerates.
Bill Hangley Jr.on May 21, 2015 11:20 AM
The faces of young Philadelphia can be found sitting around a table in the sunny classroom of a neighborhood high school.
There’s a young woman from Bangladesh who loves learning, but who just two years ago spoke hardly any English.
There’s a young African American man who wants to be doctor, whose uncle once told him that he wasn’t college material.
Paul Jablowon May 20, 2015 09:45 AM
For Chanel Butler, the lightbulb went on while she was sitting in a jail cell.
For Mario Torres, it happened when he was in his state representative’s office and someone there heard him talking about going for his GED.
For Nyshai Benson, it came when her options narrowed sharply. Her mother, tired of her hanging out and doing nothing, threw her out.
Dale Mezzacappaon May 20, 2015 08:15 AM
The on-time high school graduation rate in Philadelphia has risen from 52 to 65 percent over the last eight years. A new report shows that the most rapid progress has been among traditionally at-risk groups including Black males, Hispanics, students in foster care, and those involved in the juvenile justice system.
Connie Langlandon May 18, 2015 10:01 AM
At Kensington Creative & Performing Arts High School, junior Gina Rodriguez said, she has found a place where she can be creative, express herself, and confide in teachers when she feels overwhelmed.
The principal, Lisette Agosto-Cintron, said the school is so small that everybody knows everybody.
Dan Hardyon May 18, 2015 09:58 AM
Nearing the end of his second term, Mayor Nutter can chalk up among his achievements a 13-point increase in the percentage of Philadelphia high school students getting a diploma. Raising the high school graduation rate to 80 percent by 2015 was one of his main goals when he took office in 2008.
The school profiles in this guide tell you a lot about the 87 schools we describe and their programs. Here we provide statistics about how their students are performing. That is important information as you think about where to apply to high school.
Below, you’ll find data about all the District-run schools and charter schools.
For Michelle Melendez, the distractions at her local high school were too much. She was not getting her work done; she was doing poorly. “I was a troubled child,” she said.
So she enrolled in the ASPIRA Bilingual Virtual Charter School in the fall of 2011 – the school was brand-new then – and she says she has no regrets.
Sandwiches piled high on a platter, a fresh vegetable tray, pizza, sodas, cake – all for nine young people, most with Latino surnames, most male, who were the center of attention on a recent day at Olney Charter High School.
Their achievement: showing up.
Comprehensive neighborhood high schools across the nation struggle with dropout prevention, and Philadelphia’s are no different.
“What you see in that research is that these schools tend to have a higher concentration of really at-risk kids,” said Kate Shaw, executive director of Research for Action.
“In part because of that, the percentage of kids who graduate is much lower.”
And although principals at a handful of neighborhood high schools – Roxborough, George Washington, Germantown and Ben Franklin – said that helpful strategies aren’t hard to identify, most also acknowledged that implementing changes in an age of budget cuts, staff turnover, and districtwide strategic shifts is a constant challenge.