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Olney West fights to stay under District control

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

by Bill Hangley, Jr.

They say you can’t beat City Hall, but can you change the Philadelphia School District’s Renaissance plans? That’s what supporters of one Philadelphia high school want to find out.

On Tuesday, members of Olney West High School’s School Advisory Council (SAC) will rally at District headquarters to ask Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to reconsider her plan to turn the school over to a charter school manager. They say they’ll share a detailed alternate proposal with Ackerman and members of the School Reform Commission on the same day. It’s a last-ditch effort for a school that’s scheduled to learn the name of its new charter manager later this week.

As part of the District’s Renaissance program for underperforming schools, Olney West is one of six schools slated to be turned into charters next year in which school teams get to help choose their providers. Ackerman plans to announce her choice of managers for all six schools at the SRC’s meeting on Wednesday. The SRC plans to vote to approve her selections that same day, followed by a final, authorizing vote in April.

Supporters of the Olney West effort say the long-struggling school is on track to hit or exceed the academic targets set for it this year. Larry Arata, an English teacher and assistant football coach,said it was “premature” for the District to turn the school over to a charter manager.

This story continues on the NewsWorks website; it is a product of a reporting collaboration between the Notebook and WHYY.

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