This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
New regions, regional changes
- A Center City Region has been created, under Superintendent Janet Samuels, and includes 20 schools, most of them formerly in the South and Central Regions. The region is part of an initiative led by Philadelphia’s Center City District to market and upgrade the schools serving Center City residents.
- A new CEO Region, headed by Superintendent Marilyn Perez, has been created, which includes 12 schools spread across the city. It was formed to launch a centrally driven effort to reorganize and bring improvement to some of the schools that have consistently failed to meet state targets for “Adequate Yearly Progress.” This new region includes eight elementary schools, a middle school, and three high schools.
- A new EMO Region, headed by Superintendent Lissa Johnson, consists of 36 of the schools run by outside “education management organizations” or EMOs. It includes all the District’s EMO schools except the four located in the Center City Region and two in the CEO Region. EMO schools had previously been housed in their geographic regions, prompting complaints about multiple chains of command.
- There is no more Office of Restructured Schools, and most of the 19 schools put under the direction of that office in 2002 after the state takeover are being returned to their former regions. But two are in the CEO Region.
- The West Region was enlarged by the addition of Roxborough High School and its five feeder schools in Roxborough, Manayunk, and East Falls – schools that were formerly in the Northwest Region.
- Edison Schools Inc. takes on two additional elementary schools: Huey and Hartranft, both formerly restructured schools. This brings the number of schools under Edison’s charge to 22, but it only partially compensates for a decline in student enrollment numbers at Edison-led schools.
- Temple, which had overseen six “partnership schools,” is no longer involved at Elverson (now a military school) and Wanamaker (now closed). Temple shares responsibilities with the CEO region for two of the remaining four Temple Partnership Schools – Ferguson and Meade.
- The University of Pennsylvania has opted to pull out of its leadership role at Bryant School, one of three “partnership schools” assigned to Penn in 2002.
- Shallcross School is now being managed by Camelot Inc., moving the last of the District-managed discipline schools, accommodating 300 students, to private management.
New schools include six new high schools opening this year, responding to a push by student activists and others calling for more small high school options:
- Olney High School has been divided into two physically separate schools, divided by a newly constructed wall – each school with its own principal. They are currently known as Olney West (or Olney 704) and Olney East (or Olney 705), but will be renamed.
- Kensington High School has been divided into three smaller schools, each with its own principal. Two are in the main building: Kensington High School for Business/Finance and Entrepreneurship and Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School. The Kensington Annex is now Kensington Culinary Arts High School. Planning is underway for a fourth small Kensington high school.
- Philadelphia has its second military high school – Philadelphia Military Academy at Elverson. Also this fall, the Parkway Northwest High School has become a “Peace School” (see photo).
Three new charter schools open as well: Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School (grades K-5) in Center City, Northwood Academy (grades K-6), in Frankford, and Mastery Charter School, Thomas Campus (grades 6-8) in South Philadelphia (Thomas Middle School was a District school and is being converted to a charter high school, adding one grade per year.
- Philadelphia Regional High School was closed. The remaining students were transferred to other District alternative programs.
- As the District continues to move toward more K-8 schools, 45 schools added a grade or more. Of those, 17 are now K-8 schools.
For information on personnel changes, see the “Comings and Goings” section of the Notebook‘s online Newsflash at www.thenotebook.org.