The “turnaround teams” from ASPIRA, Mastery Charter, Universal Companies, and Young Scholars Charter School are all busy reaching out to parents and trying to formalize their working relationships with the School Advisory Councils (SACs) that recommended them and will monitor their progress.
Frustrated and bitter, several members of the West Philadelphia High School School Advisory Council (SAC) personally demanded that the School Reform Commission (SRC) vote Wednesday to match West with Johns Hopkins/Diplomas Now as a Renaissance School for next year.
The SRC, however, did not respond to those demands during its public meeting.
School Reform Commission chairman Robert Archie said Friday that he “doesn’t remember” who alerted him about a potential conflict of interest on the advisory council that voted on matching West Philadelphia High School with a turnaround provider – though he thought the complaint serious enough to delay the SRC's approval and launch an investigation.
Following the surprise announcement that West Philadelphia High School would not become a Renaissance School next year after all, School District officials told West’s 62 teachers Thursday that they had 24 hours to decide whether to stay or go.
SRC chairman Robert Archie said that new information came to light that needed to be considered before the final vote. He did not elaborate.
But later, it became clear that someone had complained to the SRC that one or more of the parent members of West's School Advisory Council, which recommended Hopkins, was paid as part of a parent outreach program run by the Philadelphia Education Fund. PEF has had a longstanding relationship with Hopkins. Beginning in 1999, PEF helped bring the Talent Development program to several high schools in the city, including Strawberry Mansion and Edison. Talent Development also runs a ninth grade academy at West. PEF would be one of Hopkins' local community partners in the West turnaround.