Capital improvement plan: New construction will begin on 4 elementary schools and 3 high schools starting this year. Major renovations and additions will be made at another 17 elementary, middle, and high schools. This is part of the District’s $ 1.5 billion capital building program.
To some, true “school choice” means using public funds to allow students to go to private and religious schools as well as public schools.
Since the 1990s, well-organized campaigns to extend choice to private schools have led to government-supported programs allowing enrollment in private schools in several cities and states.
Generally established through state laws, these programs include publicly funded vouchers, private assistance programs, and a variety of tax credits supporting the costs of attending private school.
Members of Sharon Daniel's business classes at George Washington High School embarked on a service learning project this year to raise awareness about sickle cell disease and the trait. It began with students participating in the Walter E. Brandon Sickle Cell Disease Walkathon last year, followed by in-school research and presentations, and culminating with a fundraising fair coordinated by the students. They raised $2,500 for the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America, Philadelphia/Delaware Valley Chapter, to be used for the agency's Teen Transition Program. Washington H.S.
Middle schools have the fewest teachers with high levels of experience and the most teachers with less than a year of experience.
Less than half of the new District teachers hired in fall 2009 were still in the District three years later.
A look at the data shows that where public school students in Philadelphia live and attend school impacts the likelihood they will have an experienced, certified teacher. Students who attend schools with high poverty levels or with many students of color have more teachers who are new to teaching and fewer teachers who are certified. Higher rates of teacher turnover at these schools exacerbate the problem.
Equipped with backpacks and rain gear, students from Beeber Middle School anticipate canoeing during a five-day, four-night Philadelphia Outward Bound Urban Expedition. Outward Bound, an adventure-based educational organization, has recently created a partnership with schools in the Overbrook area. During expeditions, students share experiences that promote problem-solving, enhance constructive communication, foster teamwork, and conquer individual challenges.
Community and advocacy groups dedicated to fighting homophobia in schools have been steadily working with the School District of Philadelphia to make schools safer for students and staff of all sexual orientations throughout the last decade.
When grades were due for the first District report card cycle in November, not only were the report card formats new, but teachers districtwide no longer had to turn to their infamous "bubble sheets" to complete them.
The recently published Winter 2003-04 issue of the Notebook, "Improving Teacher Quality," examines the challenges Philadelphia schools currently face in attracting and retaining quality teachers across the District, particularly in schools with large populations of students of color from low-income households. (Pick up a copy at your local school, library, or community organization).