August 20th School Reform Commission Resolutions and APPS Comments

 SRC

 Welcome to the first edition of Eyes on the SRC.

APPS has been attending SRC meetings for years. We consistently raise questions and rarely get answers. The SRC has been in existence since 2001 and their lack of transparency and accountability has mushroomed. We are hoping that these postings will draw more people out to ask questions and demand answers from this politically appointed entity. Feel free to share this posting. The next SRC Action meeting is Thursday August 20th. It starts at 5:30. We hope to see you there.

Register to speak by calling 215 400 4180 by 4:30 the day before the meeting. If you do not wish to speak then consider coming to support speakers.  It’s important to realize that speaking at a SRC meeting goes way beyond the five commissioners. The session is live streamed plus Kristin Graham (Inquirer), Solomon Leach (Daily News), and Dale Mezzacappa (Public School Notebook) are tweeting as well as writing articles detailing some of the issues raised during the meeting. SRC Action Meetings present an opportunity to raise issues with the public.

When signing up to speak I state that I am a community member because their rules state that “no more than one representative of an organization can register to speak at a single meeting”.

 Karel Kilimnik

August 2015 Resolutions

APPS Comment on Resolution A-4:

Two years ago, the SRC passed a resolution which accepted a grant from the Gates Foundation to pay for Mastery employees to go in to district schools for the purpose of coaching teachers.  I asked then-Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn why the district would bring in teachers from another school to coach district teachers. He told me that since Mastery had such good “outcomes” it was incumbent upon the district to bring in their teachers and show how it is done. He also told me that since it was “voluntary”, there was no problem.  It was billed as a “pilot program” and started in four schools.  Last year it expanded to eight.  The resolution on the August 2015 list accepts money from the William Penn Foundation for further expansion of the program.  The William Penn Foundation has been a major proponent of corporate reform of the Philadelphia public school system.

This is a crucial issue for PFT members as it clearly says that district teachers are inferior, and that Mastery schools, without question, are better than district schools.  It gives Mastery credit for higher test scores (in some of their schools) without considering how they got them:  barriers to enrollment, counseling out of students, their inflated budgets top-heavy with administrators, their regimented curriculum and climate.  If PFT members do not speak out against this resolution, they send the message that they accept all of these implications.

Lisa Haver 

Resolution A-4
Donation: $300,000 Acceptance from Mastery Charter School – School-Based Coaching Program

RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to accept, with appreciation, the donation of school-based coaching services valued at approximately $300,000.00, from Mastery Charter School, for the period commencing August 21, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

Description: The School District, in partnership with Mastery and with support from the William Penn Foundation, is seeking to pilot a coaching program that targets an unserved population of District teachers and builds informal leadership capacity within schools to increase the opportunity for professional growth for all teachers. The ultimate goal is to build a program that yields significant gains in student growth and achievement through improved instructional practice.

The purpose of this program is to support the creation of an effective, school-based coaching model that leverages excellent teachers to coach other teachers who are either adequate or good at their craft and can be moved from adequate to good or from good to great.

Through this program, District master teachers will coach fellow teachers during four coaching cycles per year. The program expects to impact 72 teachers across three schools. Time for coaching will either be scheduled release time or compensated prep payback time. Additionally, coaches will be compensated for time spent on the project outside of school hours.

The coaches and their principal will receive ongoing professional development from Mastery throughout the school year. Mastery will compile all progress data and work with the School District team to access and analyze data available from the District at the teacher and school level to gauge impact of the program.

While the focus of the project is on creating a sustainable model inside participating schools for providing effective professional development through peer to peer coaching, the Mastery team will also work with the School District’s Office of Teacher Effectiveness to create central leadership for the program so that the District will be able to run the program internally without external supports in the future.


APPS Comment on Resolution A-24: First the district claims they can’t find enough substitutes so they outsource the jobs. Now they are leasing space to Source 4 Teachers at 440 for $11,500 a year. Is this really what center city offices cost? Source 4 Teachers cut substitute pay and now they are renting from the district? Show us the savings.

Resolution A-24
Authorization of License Agreement with Source 4 Teachers – Use of portion of Education Center 440 North Broad Street

RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a license agreement with the Source 4 Teachers for approximately 700 square feet of space on the third floor of the Administration Building, 440 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, in “as is” condition to be used for office space for staff members to perform a contract with the School District authorized by SRC Resolution A-24, approved by the School Reform Commission on June 18, 2015 (the “Contract”), to provide substitute teacher staffing. Source 4 Teachers will pay license fees to the School District in the amount of $11,550.00 annually ($16.50 per square foot), payable on a monthly basis, which license fees includes the School District’s operating costs associated with the premises, including all utilities, building engineer, maintenance, security and trash removal, for the period commencing September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016, with an automatic renewal for one year, commencing September 1, 2016 through August 31, 2017, with a 2% increase in the license fees, unless terminated by either party with no fewer than 60 days written notice to the other party, provided that the Contract is still in effect and Source 4 Teachers is not in default beyond all applicable grace periods thereunder. Under no circumstances will the license agreement continue beyond the term of the Contract. The School District will supply all cleaning, maintenance and utilities for the premises. The other terms of the license agreement must be acceptable to the School District’s

Office of Real Property Management, Office of General Counsel and the Office of Risk Management.

Description: On June 18, 2015, the School Reform Commission approved SRC Resolution A-24, “Contract with Source 4 Teachers-Substitute Staffing and Management”. Source 4 Teachers has 15 years of experience with placing substitutes at higher rates than school districts are able to achieve internally. The Contract with Source 4 Teachers eliminates the daily administrative tasks of hiring, credentialing, training, managing, evaluating and retaining skilled substitute teachers. Providing space in the Administration Building for Source 4 Teachers to perform their Contract will provide a more efficient delivery of their services to the schools, improve communication, accessibility and accountability and utilize vacant space in the delivery of needed services to the School District.


APPS Comment: If PSP’s mission is “Our vision is that every child in every neighborhood has access to a great school and graduates from high school prepared for college or career training.” then why do they only fund select schools…what about every child in every neighborhood having access to a great school?

A- 25
Categorical Grant Fund/Donation: $56,392 Grant Acceptance from the Friends of G. W. Carver High School; $107,304 Acceptance of Donation from the Friends of G. W. Carver High School of Engineering and Science – Professional Development, Instructional Materials and Supports

RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee: (i) to accept with appreciation a grant from the Friends of G.W. Carver High School, through a donation from the Philadelphia School Partnership, of an amount up to $56,392 to fund certain technology and related supports, for the period September 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016; and (ii) to execute, deliver and perform a grant agreement with the Friends of G.W. Carver High School and such other documents necessary to further the intent of this Resolution; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee: (i) to accept with appreciation the generous donation from the Friends of G.W. Carver High School of Engineering and Science, through a donation from the Philadelphia School Partnership, of professional development and training, instructional materials, curricular materials, leadership development consulting, and other supports at the G.W. Carver High School of Engineering and Science, with an approximate value of $107,304, for the time period from September 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016; (ii) to execute, deliver and perform such documents necessary to further the intent of this Resolution.

Description: The School District of Philadelphia has been working to expand high-performing School District schools, including the G. W. Carver High School of Engineering and Science (“Carver”). As part of this broader effort, Carver is adding a 7th and 8th grade to the school as of September 2015. Last year, The Philadelphia School Partnership generously agreed to provide grants from its Great Schools Fund to support the strategic planning process for this expansion.

The grant funds to be accepted through this resolution will support the purchase of technology to benefit students and teachers in the new grades, including Chromebooks for all students. Additionally, this resolution authorizes the acceptance of a donation from the Friends of G.W. Carver High School of Engineering and Science that will support ongoing professional development and training, collaboration time, and school visits to explore best practices at other premier STEM schools, for Caver staff. The donation also includes instructional materials, curricular materials, leadership development consulting, and other supports for the school.

This project aligns with The School District of Philadelphia’s Declaration of Education by providing an active partnership among the School District, foundations, community organizations, local universities and colleges, community groups and others to create educationally and socially vibrant programs at schools throughout the School District.

APPS Comment: Why are schools being forced into competing for funding? The School Redesign Initiative has school communities competing against each other for meager dollars.


Resolution A-26
Categorical Grant Fund: $50,000 Grant Acceptance from the Lindback Foundation – Support the School Redesign Initiative

RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to accept, if awarded, a grant from the Lindback Foundation, through the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, for an amount up to $50,000, to support the School Redesign Initiative, by designing a school transformation process as described in Action Plan 3.0, by supporting mini-grants to selected schools, for the period commencing August 21, 2015 through June 30, 2017.

Description: The SRI will provide schools’ stakeholders with the time, resources, and support needed to develop and implement research-based school redesigns that will accelerate student learning. SRI awardees will have access to:

  • A design grant to support knowledge-building and capacity-building through site visits, technical assistance, and engagements with experts in the field
  • A design year based on the principles of design thinking to support the redesign process
  • A network of educational leaders that offer expertise and advisory support
  • A facilitated process to ensure successful execution of their plans

Applicants to the School Redesign Initiative will be asked to develop their plans in accordance with a set of design principles adapted from the Carnegie Corporation’s Integrated Principles to Meet the Demands of the Common Core. A core set of these principles, applied extensively across hundreds of transformation schools in New York City, was shown through evaluation and research to be a key pillar of driving gains in student achievement. Eligible applicants include current school leadership teams; teacher led teams; collaborations between school families, community organizations and/or universities in partnership with school communities and other groups with an interest in school reform. Successful applicants will be awarded a grant of approximately $30,000 that will fund a year of planning for the design process described above. At the conclusion of the process, if successful, school communities will be awarded the opportunity to implement the proposed design in FY 17. Final school design implementation will be based on the availability of funding.


 APPS Comment on Resolution A-29: We need school counselors, school librarians & school libraries, smaller class size, classroom assistants, noon time aides not “school-based services. We need professionals educated and trained to work with students. $5,000,000 for more outsourcing, no thank you.

Resolution A-29

Various Funds: $5,000,000 Contract with EducationWorks, Inc., Delta-T Group, Inc., and Catapult Learning, LLC – School Based Services
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform contracts, separately with EducationWorks, Inc, Delta-T Group, Inc and Catapult Learning, LLC, to perform certain school-based services including socialized recess, in-school suspension programs, math tutoring, reading and language arts tutoring, library support, accommodation room support and attendance support, for an aggregate amount not to exceed $5,000,000, for the period commencing September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2018.

Description: From time to time, individual schools, using funds from their respective school budgets, seek assistance from outside agencies and organizations experienced in providing qualified and cost- effective personnel and programs to accomplish specific goals and objectives over the course of the school year. In order to ensure that individual schools are purchasing services from reputable and responsible agencies through a process that is equitable and competitive, the District issued a Request for Proposal (RFQ 463) issued on May 12, 2015 seeking qualifications of vendors interested in providing certain school-based services such as but not limited socialized recess, in-school suspension programs, math tutoring, reading and language arts tutoring, library support, accommodation room support, and attendance support according to agreements with each school. The specific services provided in each school will be determined by each school’s leadership team in conjunction with the vendor. Schools who elect to purchase these services will do so with their own school-based funds and make school-based agreements outlining the scope of work including number of staff, hours per day, days per week, weeks per year.


APPS Comment on Resolution A-30: Again, we need experienced principals who are educational leaders, not more private companies like Growth River (“Inspiring Business Leaders to Lead Change”). Why use a leadership training company that has no experience in education? Education is not a business.

 Resolution A-30
Categorical Grant Fund: $100,000 Acceptance of Management Support Services from Growth River

RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to accept with appreciation management support services valued at $100,000, from Growth River, made possible by The Lenfest Foundation through The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia.

Description: The School District of Philadelphia as an institution, is experiencing many challenges. Action Plan 3.0, as did 1.0 and 2.0 before, outlines a clear vision for change and corresponding anchor goals. Growth River will bring an evidence-based approach to the leadership team supporting the development of an even higher-performing executive team that will be fully accountable for achieving the District’s strategic vision as stated in Action Plan 3.0. Growth River has experience working within a wide range of industries assisting teams at various organizational growth stages and growth in many different cultural contexts. Growth River will provide intensive coaching, capability analysis, and relevant strategies for the District’s team to adopt.


Resolution A-31
Categorical Grant Fund: $70,000 Acceptance from the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey – Volunteer Coordinator

RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to accept with appreciation, a grant from the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey, for an amount of up to $70,000, to pay partial salary and benefits for a full-time Volunteer Coordinator position within the Office of Strategic Partnerships, for the period commencing August 21, 2015 through July 31, 2016.

Description: The School District of Philadelphia has traditionally worked with several external organizations who have supported volunteer projects within our system of schools. The purpose of this funding is to establish a service delivery process that will facilitate the identification of schools interested in designing volunteer projects and matching external organizations to targeted schools. Successful volunteer projects require coordination across departments, school staff and the sponsoring organization.

This grant will allow School District of Philadelphia to continue to build the capacity to successfully manage small to large scale volunteer projects.

The Volunteer and Partnerships Coordinator is a project management position that reports directly to the Office of Strategic Partnerships at the School District of Philadelphia. This position will leverage the United Way’s volunteer management insights and infrastructure to build a comprehensive volunteer management system to allow the School District of Philadelphia to tap into vast professional volunteer resource networks.

Additionally, s/he will support the ongoing work of the Office of Strategic Partnerships by helping to better align volunteer projects and partnerships with the anchor goals outlined in Action Plan 3.0, serving as a key point of contact and access for external organizations and individuals offering in-kind gifts, grants, donations, services, and programs to the School District of Philadelphia.

Working with the Office of Strategic Partnerships team the Coordinator will assist the District with the tactical deployment of volunteer and partner resources to areas of greatest need and oversee the development and implementation of a new online relationships management interface for internal and external users designed to streamline the process of registering partner and volunteer resources and pairing them with school needs.

The following tasks will be included in the day-to-day function of the role: identify volunteer and partnerships coordination personnel and/or appropriate points of contact within 217 neighborhood schools; connect with existing and emerging organizations and initiatives to source professional

volunteers and identify potential District partners; devise a user-friendly online system for screening (registration, interviews, required background checks, appropriate insurances, etc.) and matching volunteers and partners to schools based on shared mission and mutual goals and benefits; clarify appropriate policies/procedures and ensuring 100% compliance among volunteer and partner organizations.


APPS Comment on Resolution A-33: Chris Lehman, newly appointed Innovations Network superintendent as well as co-principal of SLA, is also listed as Chair of the Board and Superintendent of Inquiry Schools. PSP provides the funds.

Resolution A-33

Donation: $128,697 Ratification of Acceptance from Inquiry Schools; $72,303 Acceptance of Donation from Inquiry Schools

RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission hereby ratifies the acceptance with appreciation by the School District of Philadelphia, by and through the Superintendent or his designee, of a generous donation from Inquiry Schools, through a donation from the Philadelphia School Partnership, to fund salary and benefits for a certain staff position with a total value of approximately $128,697 related to the proposed Science Leadership Academy Middle School (“SLA-MS”), and the execution, delivery, and performance of a memorandum of understanding with Inquiry Schools and such other documents necessary to further the intent of this Resolution; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes the School District of Philadelphia, by and through the Superintendent or his designee (i) to accept with appreciation the generous donation from Inquiry Schools, through a donation from the Philadelphia School Partnership, of professional development, consulting services, and related supports with a total value of up to approximately $72,303 for the SLA-MS school design process; and (ii) to execute, deliver and perform a memorandum of understanding with Inquiry Schools and such other documents necessary to further the intent of this Resolution.

Description: The School District is exploring the possibility of opening a new, non-selective-admission Science Leadership Academy Middle School (SLA-MS) in Powelton. This new school would be part of a proposed K-8 school facility at the site of the former University City High School that would also house an expanded Samuel Powel Elementary School.

This proposal is the result of a multi-year community planning process that included a wide range of stakeholders. Representatives from Powelton Village, West Powelton, Saunders Park and other local civic associations; parents, teachers, and school leadership from Powel Elementary School and Science Leadership Academy; the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers; Drexel University faculty; local elected officials; the People’s Emergency Center; the Philadelphia School Partnership; and others have taken part thus far in the planning process.

The grant funds, the acceptance of which are being ratified through this resolution, will support the salary and benefits for a design leader who will drive the planning for the new SLA-MS. The resolution also authorizes the acceptance of a donation from Inquiry Schools of professional development, consulting services, and related supports for the school design and planning process.

The Philadelphia School Partnership previously provided grant funds to Drexel University from its Great Schools Fund to support the strategic planning process for this initiative, and is continuing to provide certain funding to support the next stage in the planning process.

This project aligns with The School District of Philadelphia’s Declaration of Education by providing an active partnership among the School District, foundations, community organizations, local universities and colleges, community groups and others to create educationally and socially vibrant programs at schools throughout the School District.

The grant supporting the donation from Inquiry Schools was approved by the board of the Philadelphia School Partnership on July 10, 2015. In order to complete the school planning process, the selected design leader needs to begin his work in early August 2015, requiring the expenditure of grant funds prior to the next School Reform Commission meeting, which is scheduled for August 20, 2015. As a result, the donation acceptance is a proposed ratification.


APPS Comment on Resolution B-18: Beware the proposed outsourcing of nursing services as we look at this Resolution. While this is a student preparation program similar to student teaching, keep in mind that the District continues with its mission of outsourcing school nurses and bringing in agencies for “ nursing services”. Just because they are not issuing any Resolutions does not mean their planning is not continuing. There needs to be constant pressure on them not to outsource our valued school nurses.

Resolution B-18

No Cost Contracts with Universities and Hospitals – Student Nursing, Health, Speech and Related Services; Professional Placements and Internships


RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes, The School District of Philadelphia through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform contracts with the following schools and hospitals: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Community College of Philadelphia, Gwynedd-Mercy College, Philadelphia University, Tenet Healthsystem St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Eastern University, LaSalle University, Temple University, Drexel University, University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, Thomas Jefferson University, Salus University PA College of Optometry, Harcum College, Aria Health Frankford School of Nursing, Kutztown University; University of Pittsburg; University of Massachusetts- Boston; Dominican College; Hunter College of the City College of NY; Teachers College, Columbia University; Ohio State University, Gallaudet University; McDaniel College; The College of New Jersey; Canisius College; Hunter College, CUNY; National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID); Barton College; Lenoir-Rhyne University; University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Kent State University; Saint Joseph’s University; Radford University, George Washington University, Howard University, University of the District of Columbia, Loyola University Maryland, Towson University, University of Maryland (College Park), Boston University, Emerson College, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Worcester State University, Kean University of New Jersey, Montclair State University, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, Seton Hall University, William Paterson University of New Jersey, Adelphi University, Buffalo State College, College of Saint Rose, CUNY, Brooklyn College, CUNY, Lehman College, CUNY, Queens College, Hofstra University, Ithaca College, LIU Brooklyn, LIU Post, Mercy College, Molloy College, Nazareth College of Rochester, New York Medical College,

New York University, St. John’s University, SUNY at Buffalo, SUNY at Cortland, SUNY at Fredonia, SUNY at New Paltz, SUNY at Plattsburgh, Syracuse University, Teachers College, Columbia University, Touro College, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, California University of Pennsylvania, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, Duquesne University, East Stroudsburg University, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Marywood University, Misericordia University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Pittsburgh, West Chester University, and other qualifying medical schools, colleges and universities to permit students of nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, hearing therapy, vision therapy, speech/language therapy, and qualifying students enrolled in hospitals and schools of public health, hearing therapy, vision therapy, and speech language to be assigned to various District schools and central administration offices under the supervision of District personnel for the purposes of assisting school nurses and therapists with school health and therapeutic programs that support teaching and learning, providing assistance to health education instructors in the delivery of health education curriculum, and introducing and exposing students to careers and studies in allied health professions that they may enter after having graduating from high school, at no cost to the School District for the period commencing August 21, 2015 through August 20, 2016.

Description: The Office of Specialized Services (OSS) will partner with local colleges and universities that offer educational programs for nursing, therapeutic, clinical and public health students to provide student placements as part of the trainings and educational programs for these individuals at no cost to the District. University health students who are placed in schools are able to learn about the roles and responsibilities of school nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists, school administrators and health educators, as well acquire an understanding for how these instructional and non-instructional services support teaching and learning and improve academic achievement.

The university health student’s placement is approved by school principals or the principal’s appointed designee. The location or placement of the university health student is determined by OSS, in collaboration with the Student Placement Coordinator of each college or university. OSS will place students in elementary, middle and high schools that are under performing academically, and are in need of additional supportive services in order to improve academic achievement through these professional placements. District students will be introduced to a variety of careers in allied health such as nursing, occupational and physical therapy careers in public health.

School District clinical personnel will provide instruction to the university health students and ensure that they are completing their course work, while the university health students are providing assistance to school nurses and therapists, by increasing productivity in school health mandated programs. University health students will provide support to school nurses to complete mandated State screenings and to conduct educational programs for students about the importance of having a medical facility where they can receive services in various areas of vision, oral health, and primary medical services.

University health students will also provide assistance to health education instructors by supporting the health education curriculum in the classroom and teaching District students how to take ownership of their health and become good consumers of healthcare services, as well as the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. University health students placed in high schools will specifically concentrate in the area of sexual education. The District currently collaborates with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) to conduct STD screening for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia in high schools students. Out of 40% of District students who participate in the program, approximately 7% test positive for sexually transmitted diseases in initial screening, less than half of these students participate in the voluntary rescreening process; and between 14% and 30% of these students become re-infected. University health students will work with health educators, school nurses and PDPH to increase educational awareness about re-infection

of sexually transmitted diseases, increase the rescreening rate, and to reduce the rate of re-infection in high school students. Placement of the university health students in District schools also increases students’ awareness of careers in allied health professions that provide non-instructional supports to school students while they are in an educational institution.

The participating colleges, universities, hospitals and schools of nursing have current or previous relationships with the District and are located within or near the Philadelphia area. The student placement coordinators of each college or university will work with the participating District schools to place 50 university health students in 25 elementary, middle and high schools throughout the city that are under performing academically. The student placement coordinators of each college or university will ensure that students have taken the appropriate prerequisites and follow District policies and regulations, and possess the necessary clearances before participating in a clinical rotation within District schools.

The District will ensure that participating universities maintain appropriate liability insurance that is approved by the District’s Office of Risk Management. In order to monitor the relationship between the School District and the educational institutions, the school principal and OSS will receive the following information from each educational institution: course outline, the name of the educational institution’s instructor, the names of all students placed in the schools, placement dates, and executed confirmation that students have all the necessary background clearances (Child Abuse Clearance, Criminal Background Check, FBI Clearance), and health certification including results of tuberculin testing.


Resolution B-22
Categorical Grant Fund: $838,000 Ratification of Contract Amendment with Children’s Literacy Initiative – Early Literacy Specialists

RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission hereby ratifies the execution, delivery, and performance by The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent, of an amendment of Contract No. 332/F15, originally entered into with Children’s Literacy Initiative, pursuant to Resolution B-9, approved by the School Reform Commission on October 16, 2014, by increasing the amount of the contract by an additional $838,000 from the $7,000,000 approved by Resolution B-9, to an amount not to exceed $7,838,000, to provide eight additional Early Literacy Specialists for eligible elementary schools that participated in the Early Literacy Summer Workshop Series in July 2015.

Description: The purpose of this resolution is to seek a ratification to amend an existing contract with Children’s Literacy Initiative (CLI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, to identify and recruit an additional 8 Early Literacy Specialists who will have the responsibility of working directly with the school leader, prek-3 teachers, and school-based teacher leaders/interventionists in prek-3 classrooms in designated schools to improve the efficacy of early literacy, instructional planning, delivery of instruction and assessment data collection/analysis.

A ratification is being requested because formal notification of funding was not provided until after the deadline for submitting June resolutions had passed, and the work had to begin immediately in order to ensure schools could reap the benefit for the 2015-16 school year. Grant funding was used to expand an initiative that had already begun and funded with District-allocated resources so that additional needy schools could be served. This additional funding enables us to serve an additional eight schools.

In October 2014, the SRC approved a resolution to provide Early Literacy Specialists to target assistance to schools with K-3 classrooms in the District’s 40 Pennsylvania State-Designated Priority Schools as well as select schools with K-3 classrooms in the 67 Pennsylvania State-Designated Focus Schools, totaling 44 schools. In May 2015, the William Penn Foundation provided additional grant funding to the District to increase support for early literacy, enabling the District to, among other supports, provide Early Literacy Specialists to additional schools that successfully completed the Early Literacy Summer Workshop Series in July 2015. These additional Early Literacy Specialists will have all of the same responsibilities and duties as described in Resolution B-9 approved by the School Reform Commission on October 16, 2014.

In order to participate in the Early Literacy Summer Workshop Series in July 2015, schools had to apply and commit to ensuring that the school principals and at least 65% of their K-3 teachers would attend the entire workshop series. Overall, 77 elementary schools submitted applications. Of these 77, 40 schools were selected for participation in this first year, with priority given to the schools with large proportions of third graders scoring below grade level in reading on the PSSA. It is the intent of the District, with funding support from the William Penn and Lenfest Foundations, to ensure that over 110 of the District’s elementary schools are able participate in the summer workshop series over the next three years, so schools that were not selected to participate this year will have the opportunity to participate in July 2016 or July 2017.

SRC and City Settle First Amendment Complaint with Education Activists

Ilene Poses removal

For Immediate Release                                June 3, 2015

SRC and City Settle First Amendment Complaint with Education Activists

Three former Philadelphia teachers have agreed to a settlement in their civil rights lawsuit against the School Reform Commission, former SRC Chair Bill Green, the City of Philadelphia and other parties for violating their constitutional rights during a February SRC meeting.

Ilene Poses, Barbara Dowdall and Lisa Haver, who are all members of the grass-roots advocacy group Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, filed suit in federal court in March. Signs were confiscated from the three during the meeting in which the SRC voted on thirty-nine applications for new charters. Poses was also accosted by Philadelphia police and forcibly removed from the building when she refused to remove the sign she was wearing around her neck. APPS members regularly attend SRC meetings and frequently give public testimony on school issues.

As part of the settlement agreement, the SRC released a statement in which it reaffirmed the rights of the public to “…wear clothing and/or to carry signs that display viewpoints on issues of public concern.”

Commissioner Farah Jiminez, at a subsequent meeting, apologized for the SRC’s actions.

Paul Messing, attorney for the plaintiffs, said, “The settlement makes clear that there are consequences for violating the fundamental First Amendment rights of the public and that victims must be compensated.”

Nominal damages will be paid out of the city’s litigation fund. All three plaintiffs have said that they will not personally benefit from the financial settlement.  “We will be depositing all of the settlement money into a fund which will enable us to support programs for students and continue our advocacy work for public schools in Philadelphia”, Dowdall said.

School Police Violently Remove Woman With Sign: Abolish the SRC
Philadelphia Student Union video – February 18, 2015

Lawsuit: SRC violated former teachers’ right
Philadelphia Daily News – March 12, 2015