This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Working with Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon to develop a new organizational blueprint for the School District, seven “academic design subcommittees” have been meeting since February.
Curriculum development: This committee is expected to develop a pre-K to 12 curriculum with outcomes for each grade level that are aligned to college and career program goals and the new Common Core State Standards.
Reorganization of principals/clusters: The District has decided to reorganize away from the present system of academic regions into “clusters.” This committee will determine how to do this.
School autonomy: Exactly what autonomies will go to schools? This committee will determine levels of autonomy, develop accountability measures, determine how autonomies might vary for different schools, and develop a three-year implementation plan.
Academic support services: The charge is to determine what services central office will provide to schools versus what can be bought in the open market, and develop the process for vetting outside providers.
Accountability, equity and compliance: In a landscape where principals have more autonomy, the District needs to sort out whether and how compliance with various local, state, and federal regulations remains with central office or devolves to the school.
Talent and professional development: This committee will develop a strategy for recruiting new principals and teachers, retraining current educators, and helping school leaders to operate more independently.
Performance management: This committee is charged with developing a new evaluation protocol for administrators, including principals and assistant principals.