Philadelphia Board of Education Testimony Thursday, January 27, 2022
by Barbara McDowell Dowdall
Good evening. I want to note with sadness the recent passing of Francenia Emery, longtime principal of Clarence Pickett Middle School in Germantown, adopter of a class at Anna Lane Lingelbach, founder and director of The Multi Cultural Resource Center, a magnificent collection of books that she shared with the community in many enriching programs. She leaves to mourn two sons, their families, and her Unitarian Universalist congregation, also in Germantown.
I speak as the onetime English Department Head (1997-2010) [see attachment] and three year facilitator with colleagues at the PA Governor’s School for Improving Literacy in CT High Schools.
Research [attached] on Lexile levels for high school tech reading materials equal or exceed levels for college level courses. Libraries with CTL’s raise test scores [research attached], benefiting especially economically disadvantaged students of color who are most likely to lack in Pennsylvania public schools. [see Public Interest Law Center and POWER Interfaith Education Justice Team]
Students at Dobbins in its functioning library days include champion basketball coach Dawn Staley, author illustrator Jerry Pinkney, and African American Museum of Philadelphia architect Theodore Cam. Dobbins/Randolph students, similarly resourced, have participated in Shakespeare competitions with at least one city finalist, and welcoming Cecil B Moore’s daughter Alexis Moore, Inquirer reporter on one occasion, as judge. [see Dobbins/Randolph AVTS Yearbook 2000]
If our school district’s Goal is truly Read by 4th: then our Guardrail must include libraries with Certified Teacher Librarians in every school serving K-3 students.
If our Goal is college ready academic and CT text mastery students and grads, then our Guardrail must include libraries with CTL’s in all elementary, middle, academic and career path high schools.
And to achieve these Goals, our key Guardrail must be to hire a new superintendent who has demonstrated as both teacher and administrator a deep commitment to and demonstrated success in supporting and maintaining their school libraries with CTL’s even in times like our own Doomsday Budgets.
Randolph and Dobbins name permutations and additional Dowdall Improving Literacy in Career Tech Education and Philadelphia Board of Education School Library with Certified Teacher Librarians Restoration Planning Committee Research Resources:
A Philip Randolph Career Tech High School (2004-Present and Future), formerly A. Philip Randolph Skills Center (1975-1993), Dobbins Randolph Area Vocational Technical School (One Great School, Two Locations 1993-2004), A. Philip Randolph Career Academy (c. 2005-2011), member of the PA Dept of Education Improving Literacy in CT Education Committee and three year facilitator with colleagues at the PA Governor’s School for Improving Literacy in CT High Schools.
For wide ranging ideas on where funds spent on non essentials that could be redirected to the Board’s Libraries with CTL’s restoration project, see the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS) Eyes and Ears on the Board at https://appsphilly.net/
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