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October 10, 2016

Philadelphia School District reveals intervention plan for 11 troubled schools

Community engagement meetings slated to determine best course of action

Education Schools
School District of Philadelphia headquarters Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The School District of Philadelphia headquarters on North Broad Street.

The School District of Philadelphia on Monday announced a targeted intervention plan to improve 11 schools desperately in need of rapid academic improvement.•

In a news release, the district revealed that it will conduct a series of school community engagement meetings and school quality reviews at the following schools, all of which have been low-performing for three consecutive years and have a School Progress Report average score equal to or less that 15 out of 100 during that timeframe:

• Bartram High School

• John Marshall Elementary School

• Ben Franklin High School

• Kensington Health Sciences Academy

• Blankenburg Elementary School

A• Overbrook High School

• Delaplaine McDaniel Elementary School

• Samuel S. Fels High School

• Edward Heston Elementary School

• Warren G. Harding Middle School

• John F. Hartranft School

“Despite investments made in all schools, some schools are not meeting students’ needs and parents’ expectations. There are schools that require additional support right now so that children can have the learning opportunities they deserve,” said Dr. William R. Hite, Superintendent of The School District of Philadelphia. “To achieve the goal of a great school close to where all children live, each year the School District will prioritize schools to receive focused intervention as we work to drive school-wide academic improvement and ensure better outcomes for our students.”

None of the 11 schools will be closed and none will become a Renaissance Charter — another initiative to turn around 21 chronically underperforming schools — during the process scheduled for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Beginning next week, a month of stakeholder engagement events and collaborative listening forums will be held among school staff, parents and school communities to address how best to improve outcomes at each school. Each community will have a public community meeting, two parent led focus groups and a two-day on-site school quality review visit, including the following:

• Meetings with teachers and principals to identify the school's strengths which can be built upon.

• Family focus groups and neighborhood canvassing to gather input directly from families and community members.

• Objective third-party reviews to highlight school strengths and challenges, and describe how well the school is equipped to support student achievement.

Schedules for each of the 11 schools can be found here.

Potential intervention options for the schools could include any of the following options:

• Entering the school into the District’s Turnaround Network

• Merging the school with an existing high-quality program

• Engaging a contract partner

• Initiating an evidence-based plan for academic improvement

• Restarting the school

“Before we make a decision, we will consider school community feedback, review facts and evidence gathered, and then decide on the best way to intervene and improve learning opportunities for children at each school community,” said Hite.

The district is seeking the active participation and engagement of families, teachers, principals and community members.

“Each school has unique strengths and challenges, and each school community is special, but the goal for all children and all schools is the same: to ensure children are able to learn and to succeed,” Hite said. “We are excited to begin this work with our parents and schools to make this goal a reality, and we will make the decisions necessary to ensure all children are given their right to a great education.”