Friday, February 27, 2009

School Closing Update: Philadelphia Right to Education Local Task Force

Good Afternoon Everyone,

The School District of Philadelphia is considering closing 2 schools:

1) William Penn High School

2) Gillespie Middle School

The community meeting for Gillespie Middle school was held on Monday, February 23, 2009. However, if you have questions as to where your special education child will go, please contact the principal.

If this answer is not satisfactory, please contact Kathryn Donahue, the Special Education Director for the North Region. Her contact information is 215-400-6085 or by email The Regional Superintendent for the North Region is Lucy Feria and her email is or 215-400-0998.

However, the parent community meeting for William Penn High School Monday, March 2, 2009 at 6pm at William Penn High School.

Please parents and community come and get the information, be heard, and have your concerns answered.

The Special Education Directors for the Comprenhensive High School Region are Nancy Erskine ( or 215-400-6070) and Linda Williams ( or 215-400-6088).

Finally, the SRC (School Reform Commission) will hold public hearings on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 immediately after their regularly scheduled 2pm meetings.

Please see the notice below. plan to attend all meetings and have your voices heard.

Cecelia Thompson

Chairperson, Philadelphia Right to Education Local Task Force

School Reform Commission
The School District of Philadelphia

The School Reform Commission (SRC) of the School District of Philadelphia will hold two consecutive special public hearings on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 in the second oor auditorium of the School District’s Education Center, 440 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA on the School District’s proposals to: (1) close Elizabeth D. Gillespie Middle School, 1801 W. Pike Street as of June 30, 2009, and (2) close William Penn High School, 1333 N. Broad Street, as of June 30, 2010.

The special public hearings will begin immediately following the conclusion of the SRC’s regularly scheduled planning meeting which begins at 2 p.m. on March 11, 2009. The SRC will hear each School District proposal separately. A vote on the proposals will not be taken until the SRC’s regularly scheduled public meeting on June 10, 2009.

Any interested person may address the SRC and submit written questions by pre-registering with the O-ce of Communications at 215-400-4040 no later than 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, 2009. The SRC will submit transcripts of the hearings to the Pennsylvania Department of Education in Harrisburg, PA.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

School District Updates

At the February 18 School District of Philadelphia School Reform Commission meeting the Dr. Arlene Ackerman unveiled a draft five year strategic plan.

The public engagement process is continuing on the district's five year strategic plan. There will be a Working Group meeting on Monday, February, 23, 6-8pm at 440 N. Broad Street for the public to comment on the plan. The plan is supposed to be posted on the District's website for public review. A tentative schedule was listed in the plan for additional Community Meetings, contact Jennie Wu at 215.400.6989 for the confirmed schedule. The district is planning to vote on the plan at its March 18 SRC meeting, 2pm, 440 N. Broad Street, 2nd floor Auditorium.

Ackerman plans sweeping overhaul for Phila. schools
By Susan Snyder
Inquirer Staff Writer

Philadelphia Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman will recommend today that the school district shut down 30 to 35 of its worst-performing schools over the next three years and reopen them as charters, or under some other form of district or outside management, district sources said yesterday....


A public hearing has been scheduled on March 11 after the 2pm SRC meeting, 440 N. Broad Street, in the 2nd floor auditorium to discuss closing two schools- Gillespie, slated to close in June 2009 and William Penn, recommended for closure in the 2009-2010 school year."Breaking News Two city schools to close by next year Posted 2:40pm The Philadelphia School District plans to close William Penn High School at the end of next school year and Gillespie Middle School at the end of this school year, the Daily News has learned."

Monday, February 16, 2009

What's Your Recession Story?

Twenty-seven days into the Obama administration and the US now has a new $787 billion dollar economic stimulus plan passed last Friday.

While many small nonprofit organizations, like the African American United Fund, have been operating with less resources but demand for services have increased, this stimulus plan is manna from heaven for the working poor. Unlike the Wall Street investment firms and banks that squirreled away the $700 billion stimulus, geared toward rescuing Wall Street by greasing the gears of lending institutions, those of us on Main Street will definitely spend the money allocated in this stimulus package. We don’t have a choice…our homes need repairs, our heating bills need to be paid, our car notes are past due, our phones are disconnected, our children need clothes and shoes, our prescriptions need to be filled, our cupboards are bare.

The stress of having to pay more for basic necessities, inaccessibility to healthcare and working longer hours for less pay is literally killing us.

I’d like to hear from those of you in the bloggosphere about what you’ve been doing to cope.

I’ve been eating out less, giving home baked goods for gifts and selling banana bread to afford ingredients for home baked goods. My banana bread has been a mild hit with my family, co-workers and neighbors. I probably won’t quit my day job but just knowing I have another marketable skill is comforting in an environment filled with so much uncertainty.