In June, the District will close 24 schools for good, displacing about 14,000 students. Since the School Reform Commission voted in March in favor of the closings, many parents and students have been concerned about whether transition plans will go smoothly.
The Notebook asked the District’s Chief of Student Services Karyn Lynch, by email, for an update about the closings process regarding safety plans, teacher placement, student placement, and the preparation at receiving schools.
South Philadelphia High School principal Otis Hackney also gave his perspective about the safety concerns that some have expressed regarding Southern as the receiving school for Bok Technical, which is closing.
Today is National Teacher Day, and this afternoon 59 Philadelphia teachers, one from each District high school, will receive the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
The honorees will join Superintendent William Hite, School Reform Commissioner Wendell Pritchett, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan, three trustees from the Lindback Foundation, and others for the celebration, which will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Prince Music Theater.
Youth United for Change will hold its 22nd annual award ceremony and reception on Tuesday, May 7. The theme for this year’s event is “Defending Public Education.” American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten will be the keynote speaker.
As a union leader, Weingarten has advocated for partnerships with parents and students around reforms that improve public school education nationwide. In March, she joined hundreds of teachers, students, parents, and other public school advocates outside District headquarters in Philadelphia to protest mass school closings. She later was arrested, along with 18 other protesters, after an organized attempt to block School Reform Commission members from entering a meeting to vote on which schools would be shuttered.
The Notebook has received two honors from the Education Writers Association's National Awards for Education Reporting.
Education reporter Benjamin Herold nabbed the top prize in beat reporting in the medium-sized newsroom category for his work in 2012 at news partner WHYY/NewsWorks and the Notebook. And with an assist from NewsWorks, the Notebook won second prize in the education news outlets category for best topical or series coverage for the summer 2012 "College for a few" package.
The School Reform Commission will hold a series of public hearings over three days to hear testimony on the proposed school closures before the commission votes March 7. The meetings will take place Feb. 21, Feb. 22 and Feb. 23. All hearings will be held in the auditorium at the School District of Philadelphia headquarters, 440 N. Broad St., and will be divided up according to District planning area.
Those who want to testify must pre-register by calling the Office of Parent, Community & Family Engagement at 215-400-4180. Pre-registration runs from 9 a.m. Feb. 19 through noon Feb. 21. No more than 10 speakers will be permitted to testify about each school that is slated to close, and the guidelines as outlined in the District’s speaker policy for SRC public meetings will apply to the hearings.
The dates and times of the hearings are listed below: