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Turnarounds planned at four more schools

Principals and teachers will have to reapply for their jobs, the District said.

Exterior of Roosevelt Elementary School.
Emma Lee / WHYY

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

The School District of Philadelphia is planning massive interventions in 17 of its schools next year.

In addition to the 13 schools already organized in its "Turnaround Network," the District has selected four more schools for intervention where drastic staffing changes could be on the horizon: Theodore Roosevelt Elementary, E.W. Rhodes Elementary, S. Weir Mitchell Elementary, and Luis Munoz-Marin Elementary.

The District isn’t planning to formally announce the details of its plans until Thursday, but officials confirmed the names of the targeted schools — though they warned that plans could change in the next week.

Spokesman Fernando Gallard said the turnaround attempts would come with additional financial investments, but would not provide specifics.

The schools in the Turnaround Network are those that were tapped as "Promise Academies" under former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. In that intervention model, schools were initially given added resources, and staff received extra pay to work longer hours and some Saturdays.

The District recognized that those turnaround attempts faltered after the first year as budget woes undermined the effort.

Gallard said history will not be repeated.

"We have a lot of lessons learned from our prior strategies," he said. "We’re building on what we learned."

Staff turnover?

In the Promise Academy model, principals and teachers had to reapply for their positions, and at least 50 percent of the staff was overturned.

Gallard said principals and teachers would need to reapply for their jobs at the four recently selected schools — but not the others.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan blasted that plan as an unnecessary gambit that will do little to address the needs of students who have lacked stable, equitable resources for years, while further demoralizing teachers who have already been spreading themselves thin.

"When people are being asked to leave the school as if it’s their fault … what’s the message?" he said.

Jordan said that the District is not planning to push for longer instructional time or Saturday hours and that teachers will not be given added pay.

Read the rest of this story at NewsWorks

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