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10 things we learned from Hite’s new Action Plan 2.0

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

Superintendent William Hite’s Action Plan 2.0 is full of interesting facts and statistics. A few that caught our eye:

1. As a result of school closings and relocations in 2013, school utilization went from 67 percent to 74 percent — still far from the District’s target of having 85 percent of seats occupied, as was specified in its Facilities Master Plan process.

2. The District says it has implemented new interventions — Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) and International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) – in 26 District schools.

3. Fifty-three percent of kindergartners have grade-level literacy skills, according to the Developmental Reading Assessment.

4. In 2013, only 45 percent of 3rd graders had proficient or advanced PSSA reading scores; proficiency rates haven’t been that low since 2005-06.

5. Most recent District data indicate that only 16 percent of District students who have an Individualized Education Program scored proficient or advanced on the PSSA in reading, and only 18 percent scored proficient or advanced on the PSSA in mathematics. The document offered a national comparison: in Maryland, 28 percent of 4th grade students with an IEP scored proficient or advanced on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading Assessment, considered more rigorous than the PSSAs.

6. In 2012-13, only 14 percent of English language learner students scored proficient or advanced on the PSSA in reading and 27 percent scored proficient or advanced on the PSSA in mathematics.

7. Thirty-two percent of District 9th graders from 2008 finished high school on time and matriculated to college in 2012; the national average is 53 percent. The 32 percent figure, though, is up from a study of a cohort from nine years earlier, when only 23 percent of 9th graders from District schools finished high school in four years and matriculated in college within a year.

8. Last year, only 20 percent of District 11th graders passed the biology Keystone exam, but 53 percent were proficient in literature.

9. There are 10,000 city students attending alternative and discipline schools at a cost of $129 million a year. Just 11 percent are accepted to and persist in college.

10. The District’s workforce shrank by 3,000 this year to 17,024 employees. Of those, 16,592 — all but about 400 — are represented by one or another of the District’s labor unions.

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