After years of youth organizing groups making arguments against the District’s “zero-tolerance” policy, members of the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools achieved a victory in August.
The School Reform Commission voted to adopt a new student code of conduct, which gives principals more authority to handle disciplinary cases and puts more emphasis on intervention and prevention rather than punishment.
The Notebook gathered data including enrollment, student demographics, attendance, and test scores. You can view a PDF of the center spread of data from the print edition, and spreadsheets of District and charter data.
Ocasionalmente, a Carla Bell se le puede encontrar tocando las puertas de su vecindario en Mount Airy temprano en la mañana para levantar a las familias y asegurar que los niños vayan a la escuela.
Bell, quien es orientadora de estudiantes en la Escuela Superior Roxborough, se considera afortunada por vivir cerca de algunos de sus estudiantes. Parte de su trabajo es estar pendiente de las ausencias sin permiso, y este año la situación se intensificó.
The District's on-time graduation rate edged up to 58 percent last year. This is the percentage of students who entered 9th grade in fall 2006 and finished high school in 2010.
For the class that started high school in 2004, the six-year graduation rate reached 63 percent, the highest rate that has been seen in recent years.
Occasionally, Carla Bell can be spotted pounding on doors in her Mount Airy neighborhood early in the morning to rouse families and make sure children go to school.
Bell, the student advisor at Roxborough High School, considers herself lucky to live close to some of her students. Monitoring truancy is her job, and this year it got more intense.
Not that she is complaining. A graduate of William Penn High School and the mother of a sophomore at Germantown, she knows schools' constant attention and intervention can change behaviors.
As a sophomore at Edison, Carlos Ortiz had 59 unexcused absences and was on his way to dropping out. When first entering 10th grade, Ortiz said he was "excited about going to school because it was high school and I wanted to see how it was." But soon he struggled to understand his teachers and wrestled with math, on top of managing some out-of-school pressures.
Members of the District’s Student Truancy Task Force launched a public awareness campaign in January focused on bringing kids back to school.
Called T.A.C.K.L.E. TRUANCY (Time and Commitment are Keys to Loving Education), the student-led campaign kicked off with radio and newspaper ads calling for students to recommit themselves to their education.
Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has embraced the framework known as Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) as an approach to improving school climate in Philadelphia, embedding the program in her strategic plan, Imagine 2014, and decreeing that all schools adopt its key elements.
This is both good news and bad news for the people who have worked the hardest to bring PBS to the city since even before Ackerman arrived.
The city is about to start issuing fines to parents whose students skip school. I know a lot of people like this plan. They say it will help catch the attention of parents. They say we need to hold parents accountable. While I think those ideas are fine, and I’m not that worried that $25 fines are going to ruin anyone, my reaction is, is this really the best we can come up with to solve a major crisis in our city?
Compared to peers in comparable large schools, students in small neighborhood high schools pass algebra at higher rates and are suspended for bad behavior less frequently, according to a new report by the local nonprofit Research for Action (RFA).
In addition, both teachers and students at these small neighborhood schools report feeling safer and more positive about the learning environment than their counterparts at the larger schools.