by Lisa Haver
May 21, 2018
Will This Budget Provide Essential Services for All Students?
The resolution list for this second May meeting is a relatively short one. The first two resolutions, without text at this point, propose the final operating and capital budgets for the 2018-19 fiscal year. [See the full resolution list below*. Find the complete resolution summary here.]
Why the Disruption for Kindergarten Students and Families?
Resolution SRC-4 finalizes the academic calendar for 2018-19; first day for staff is August 20, first day for students is August 27. As Dr. Hite noted at the May 17 meeting, this will be the first year that Kindergarten students begin on the same day as students in all other grades. He did not give a reason for the change, but teachers know that this will make the beginning of school a more chaotic time for schools and a more frightening time for the 5-year old Kindergarten students. Teachers have been told by administrators that they can meet with parents instead of going to the mandated Professional Development sessions their colleagues will be attending during the week before students arrive. In the past, some Kindergarten teachers would contact the families of new students over the summer (or in the first few days of school) and make appointments to meet them during the first week of school. This gave the teacher an opportunity to give informal assessments, give the parents a chance to ask questions about them and the school, to have the children see the classroom and meet the teacher one-on-one. There was support staff in the building to answer questions about other services that may be necessary for the child. Dr. Hite laid off classroom assistants in 2013, so most Kindergarten classrooms are without them now. A recent Philadelphia Inquirer story highlighted the district’s 9th grade academies, which the district says helps to build a foundation for high school students. Why is the district eroding this crucial foundation for Kindergartners?