This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
At its September 17 meeting, the School Reform Commission:
- Ratified one-year contracts with three of its five major unions, representing principals and administrators, maintenance staff, and school police. District officials said the contracts include a 3 percent raise, while permitting further negotiation on a longer-term contract. Unions representing teachers and food service workers are still in negotiations.
- Adopted its own Charter School Taskforce recommendations, including establishing a regional superintendent for the Office of Charter Schools, reporting to Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. The SRC would provide additional resources to the Office of Charter Schools to help implement its higher-profile role.
- Officially named the elementary school that opened in 2007 at G Street & Hunting Park. The school is now called Juniata Park Academy.
- Authorized the spending of up to $17 million to contract with supplemental educational service providers for this school year. The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires the District to partner with private organizations approved by the state to provide tutoring for low-income students.
The SRC also heard a presentation from District staff on "Empowerment Schools," 85 schools that are in “Corrective Action II” status the under No Child Left Behind law, because they have failed to meet performance targets for five or more years. Additional personnel, including a parent ombudsman and student advisor, will be placed in all these schools. Empowerment School Response Teams will conduct monthly instructional walk-throughs at these schools, professional development for teachers and other staff, data analysis, and “targeted interventions” specific to the needs of each school. The 23 lowest-performing Empowerment Schools will receive the most attention and additional staff resources.