by Helen Gym
Every once in a while, it becomes apparent just how differently parents view high-quality education than do the reformers out there who are defining it purportedly for our own good. The GreatPhillySchools website (GPS) is just one example of this difference in viewpoints.
by Sharmain Matlock-Turner
For many years, I have witnessed how parents and caregivers in Philadelphia truly crave more information about our city’s schools. As evidence, in just two weeks, more than 10,000 Philadelphians have visited GreatPhillySchools, a new website for families to learn more about nearly all of our city’s K-12 schools. As part of our longtime commitment to empowering families, the Urban Affairs Coalition is proud to be a partner in this citywide effort with the Philadelphia School Partnership and many others.
With Philadelphia firmly committed to creating a "portfolio" of schools as a way to improve outcomes for all students, it seems worthwhile to take note of a study just released by the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University.
by Charlotte Pope
Parents looking for information to help them choose an elementary school for their children now have a new resource.
Center City Residents Association (CCRA), Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA), and South of South Neighborhood Association (SOSNA) have collaborated to produce their first annual school fair.
For the School District of Philadelphia, 2012-13 is shaping up as one of its most challenging school years ever.
The School Reform Commission must close dozens of schools, borrow $300 million to stay afloat, and begin a challenging negotiation with the teachers’ union on a new contract. The District will seek big financial concessions from teachers but also changes in seniority practices and how teachers are evaluated and compensated.
Through the Great Schools Compact, the SRC is setting a goal for creating more “high-performing seats” and more choice for parents through “portfolio management” of schools, a strategy that assumes the continued expansion of charters. But its careful planning to manage that expansion without running out of money for District-managed schools is threatened by charter legislation pending in Harrisburg.
Philadelphia’s current restructuring plan is based on the “portfolio school district” model, where there is an array of public, charter, and other schools operated by independent organizations. Parents have choices among a “menu” of schools, including schools that are not operated by the District. District administration manages the portfolio of schools based on performance, closing poor-performing schools, expanding capacity in those that are doing better, and opening new ones designed to meet community needs.
Many Philadelphia parents want to take advantage of the city’s varied school options but feel they need better information.
The Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) wants to help.
This October, PSP will launch GreatPhillySchools. The goal is to provide parents with a one-stop shop for information and quality ratings on the vast majority of Philadelphia’s District, charter, and private schools, which number close to 500 (see graph).