This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
At last month’s momentous School Reform Commission meeting, Supporters of Stanton (SOS) presented a proposal to keep the tiny neighborhood school open.
The District has cited low enrollment, crumbling infrastructure, and the ability of nearby schools to absorb Stanton’s students as compelling reasons for the school’s closure.
SOS hopes to change Stanton’s fate with their new counter-proposal.
“The crux of our proposal is to increase enrollment in a targeted way,” said parent and SOS member James Wright.
SOS calls for aggressively marketing Stanton as a viable alternative to lower-performing schools. Additionally, SOS hopes to expand Stanton’s catchment area, arguing that current boundaries prevent the school from operating at capacity.
The proposal also describes Stanton as a “model school” that should be “replicated, not closed.” Stanton has made adequate yearly progress for the last eight years, and a long list of Stanton’s community partnerships for cultural arts programs accompanies the proposal.
SOS has been a constant presence at SRC and South region facilities meetings since the list of recommended closings was released in November. The group is distinctively clad in yellow shirts, and at one entertained the commissioners with a student Shakespeare performance.
The District has taken notice. After Stanton advocates presented their proposal in January, Commissioner Dworetzky praised SOS for offering a proactive solution to the problem rather than simply criticizing the District.
“They have been the absolute most active group of stakeholders,” said Deputy for Strategic Initiatives Danielle Floyd.
“This is exactly the reason we have community outreach, and this is why we’re still in the proposal-and-recommendation stage,” said Floyd. The District will make final decisions on which schools will close sometime this spring.
After presenting their proposal to the SRC in January, SOS continue to work on a final version.
We will share it on this site when it becomes available. The counter-proposal is now online.
A version of this story will also appear in the Notebook‘s February edition.