This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
The School District is getting kudos for a long-awaited update of the section of its website that offers profiles of individual Philadelphia public schools.
The "school profiles" posted publicly in November represent the most comprehensive array of current and historical data about individual District schools that has ever been posted on the School District website. They include school safety statistics, standardized test scores, and figures on student enrollment, attendance, mobility, and racial composition.
Since before the state takeover of Philadelphia schools in 2001, school data had been hard to come by on the School District website. In recent months, school data profiles were posted and accessible to any employee with a password on the School District’s computer network, but not to the public. District officials acknowledged that the Notebook‘s investigation of this situation played a role in making the profiles public more quickly.
"It took a little more time than we anticipated because we wanted to make sure that the website that was seen by the public didn’t contain any confidential information and was laid out in a format that was easier to navigate," explained Cameron Kline, who oversees the site for the District’s Office of Communications.
The site is still described as a "work in progress." For example, a school’s "No Child Left Behind Report Card" is not with the other data in the school profile but rather is accessible via a link on the District’s home page. District Chief Academic Officer Gregory Thornton said he looks forward to making the website "more user-friendly" and said that will be a priority in next year’s District budget.
Profiles are not available for charter schools. To access the school profiles on the Web, go to www.phila.k12.pa.us/schools and click on the link for either "Elementary/Middle Schools" or "High Schools" to get a list of school names.