November 4 — 2:59 pm, 2013

District rounding out the series of meetings about new grading system for schools

A meeting on "school report cards" will take place from 6 to 7:30 tonight at Baldi Middle School in Northeast Philadelphia. It is the fourth of five such meetings held by the District to gather community feedback for a new grading system for schools.

This summer the District announced plans for a new school report card to replace the school annual reports and faulty School Performance Index (SPI) scores that have served as measures of accountability. An earlier series of forums was scrapped after two contentious meetings where angry parents questioned the motives behind rolling out a new and costly accountability system during a time of tremendous financial and structural instability and the value of the project.

At the time, a District spokesman indicated that the reason for the cancellation was the unstructured, off-point nature of the discussions, saying the District was not seeking input on whether it should proceed with school report cards, but rather, what information they should contain. 

The new "School Performance Framework" meetings have taken the form of focus groups, with the District handing out presentation materials explaining the purpose of what’s being called "School Progress Reports." The reports will factor in the state’s new school rating system along with other measures, such as "equity," "postsecondary outcomes," and "stakeholder voice." What officials want to know from those stakeholders — parents and family — is what they value in a school and the types of information they use when making educational decisions for their children. 

A summary of some of the recommendations made at previous meetings has been posted. Additional suggestions can be sent to

The first three sessions were led by Superintendent William Hite or his deputy, Paul Kihn. Serving as chief facilitator at tonight’s meeting, as well as next week’s, will be newly hired Chief Academic Supports Officer David Hardy, a former administrator in Camden’s public school system. 

The last scheduled meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at Martin Luther King High School.

If you attend either of the last two meetings, please let us know what happened and what you thought about the session in the comments section of this post.


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