by Karel Kilimnik
Welcome back from summer vacation. School starts later this month with a new governing body at the helm. The new Board of Education will be steering our District through the Straits of Unequal Funding. They will have to reverse the lack of trust in the District, with decisions imposed without stakeholder participation, and start rebuilding District staff and student supports, which will mean stopping the shoveling of money into the pockets of outside vendors. A significant change in this month’s Action List Summary indicates a first step in increasing transparency: for the first time in memory, the District is publishing Capital Programs Contract Modification summaries. What we still need to see posted are the contracts for vendors receiving contracts this month, including One Bright Ray, Camelot, EBS Healthcare, Progressus, and Lakeside Global Institute.
At the inaugural Board meeting last month, many new BOE members declared themselves staunch advocates of transparency and community involvement. We look forward to their implementing policies and practices that reflect their words. Thus far they have set up four committees: Finance and Facilities (meeting monthly); Student Achievement and Support (meeting monthly); Policy (meeting quarterly); and District Partnerships and Community Engagement (meeting quarterly). Thus far, only the Finance Committee has announced its first meeting (September 6 at 10 a.m. at 440). For a description of each committee’s responsibilities, scroll down the Action Item Summary. The Philadelphia Public School Notebook has posted committee co-chairs along with members.
As a rule, the SRC simply accepted any information presented by Superintendent Hite, whom they hired in 2012. The SRC renewed his 5-year contract before his initial term expired. At the July BOE meeting, representatives from several school communities testified about being informed about decisions made by Dr. Hite after the fact. There had been no community meetings and no way for the community to have a say in major decisions affecting students and parents. There has been ongoing pushback by Strawberry Mansion High School supporters since learning of Dr Hite’s decision to effectively close this neighborhood comprehensive high school after years of starving the school of programs and staff. Across town, parents of kindergarten and first graders at the Mayfair School were shocked to learn, in May, that their children will be bused to Austin Meehan Middle School beginning in August and for the foreseeable future. They have major objections and concerns for the safety of their young children, both on the bus and being housed in a middle school in desperate need of repair. The latest voices came from public school parents in East Mt. Airy after the SRC approved Resolution SRC-8 in May to allow Ad Prima Charter School to relocate from Frankford to East Mt. Airy—without informing neighbors. Ad Prima was denied this request to relocate a year before due to a lack of community involvement. Yet the lame-duck SRC saw fit to approve this move without telling the very people to be affected. (APPS member Lisa Haver asked the SRC in May why the East Mt. Airy community was not informed or given any opportunity to testify about the proposed move. Commissioner Bill Green answered that as long as the charter parents were OK with the move, the District had no obligation to inform the E. Mt. Airy community.) The dominoes began to fall, thus enabling the deeply flawed Deep Roots Charter School to open in the newly vacant former Ad Prima building. Ad Prima deemed it unsatisfactory—but there was no explanation of why it would be suitable for Deep Roots students.
Will this Board listen to stakeholders instead of simply rubber-stamping decisions made by the Hite administration about the restructuring of the District? His six-year tenure has opened District doors to vendors marketing their product—such as TNTP and the unaccredited Relay Graduate School of Education. The BOE must question the practice of targeting schools for the Turnaround Network (now renamed the Acceleration Network), forcing out teachers and principals and creating unnecessary trauma for the students. BOE members must attend the next round of Priority School community meetings; maybe then the parents and students will actually be heard about what their schools need, instead of ending up with outside contractors and consultants. APPS members have attended every Priority School meeting for the past two years. We have heard teachers, parents, and students ask for what their schools actually need—more teachers and staff, smaller class size, fixing crumbling and toxic buildings—then witnessed the imposition of entities such as ISA and Jounce upon school communities that never asked for them.
Strawberry Mansion Community Continues Fight to Save High School
Teachers and staff return to school on August 20 with students following a week later. At the July 31 community meeting, District staff, once again, were unable or unwilling to answer questions raised by concerned stakeholders. Action Item A-15 refers to one of those unanswered questions: when One Bright Ray’s Daytime school (co-located on the fifth floor of Mansion) would admit and dismiss students daily. With less than a month before school opens, the Hite administration also failed to provide a tentative roster, to address the concerns around high school students co-located with overage students, or even acknowledge that there are still five teaching vacancies. How does this create stability in an under-resourced school? (Action Items A-18 and B-8 also deal with SMHS issues.) The BOE should take a step back and revoke the SRC decision to eliminate the 9th grade and ensure that ninth graders are admitted the following school year to attend the already existing comprehensive high school. Every time there is pushback, District representatives—first the “Strawberry Mansion Task Force”, now the “Strawberry Mansion Planning Committee”—respond with another attempt of appeasement.
Hopefully the BOE will provide opportunities for all school communities to be included in the initial planning stage of any significant change.
BOE Must Reverse Outsourcing Trend
Before the BOE agrees to further outsourcing (Action Items A-2; A-8 ) it must consider the following: whether a business whose job it is to make money can do better than a public system with no profit motive, and the fact that companies usually pay less than the District as well as forbid workers from negotiating fair salaries and benefits and safe working conditions.
The SLA network continues to grow as the original school prepares to move into Ben Franklin High School in 2019/20 and SLAMS relocates to another Drexel-based location. CEO Chris Lehman oversees three schools that receive generous donations from the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP). (See Action Items A-11and B-13).
Next BOE meeting:
Thursday September 20, 2018 at 5 p.m. Call 215.400.4180 by 3p.m. the day before in order to register to speak. Please consider attending even if you are not speaking to support defenders of public education.
Action Items of Note
*Find Complete Action Item Summary at https://www.philasd.org/schoolboard/wp-content/uploads/sites/892/2018/08/BOE-Summary.Attachments-8.16.18.pdf
Strawberry Mansion Questions Remain Unanswered
A-15 Lease Agreement with International Education and Community Initiatives (dba One Bright Ray, Inc.) – Strawberry Mansion High School
RESOLVED, that the Board of Education authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a lease agreement with International Education and Community Initiatives d/b/a One Bright Ray, Inc., for use of the 5th floor at Strawberry Mansion High School located at 3133 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, as office and classroom space for alternative education programs under contract with the School District of Philadelphia, at an annual rate of $96,373.65 ($4.45 per square foot), for approximately 21,657 per square feet, to be paid monthly at a rate of $8,031.14, for the period September 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, with an option for two (2) one-year terms with a three (3) percent rate increase each term beginning July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020, at an annual rate of $99,264.85 and for July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, at an annual rate of $102,242.80 which payments include the School District’s operating costs for all utilities, building engineer, custodial, maintenance, snow removal, and trash pick-up. The terms of the lease agreement must be acceptable to the School District’s Office of General Counsel and Office of Risk Management.
Description: This resolution seeks authorization for the School District of Philadelphia to enter into a lease agreement with International Education and Community Initiatives d/b/a One Bright Ray, Inc. One Bright Ray, Inc. (OBR) was awarded a contract to operate Accelerated High School programs via Request for Proposals No. 520. The School Reform Commission approved the contract with OBR in Resolution No. B- 15, dated May 17, 2018. OBR will provide 250 students with an Accelerated program during the day, and 100 students with an evening school option for Accelerated programming. The day school program will operate year-round, Monday through Friday, from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The evening school program will operate September-June, Monday through Thursday, from approximately 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. These additional Accelerated programs will be housed at Strawberry Mansion High School on the fifth floor, which will expand quality school options for that North Philadelphia neighborhood. Accelerated programs educate high school students who are overage and under-credited, disconnected from school, or struggling in a traditional school setting. These programs use staff and resources in flexible ways to accelerate student skills growth, credit accumulation, and post-secondary readiness. Accelerated programs support the School District’s Action Plan 3.0, Anchor Goal 1: 100% of students will graduate, ready for college and career. If approved, this resolution will expand school options for students who are struggling in school or those who are seeking to return to education through an Accelerated program at Strawberry Mansion High School.
A-18 Various Funds: $4,000,000 Contracts with Various Vendors — CTE Program Equipment and Supplies
RESOLVED, that the Board of Education authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, pursuant to various cooperative contracts, to execute, deliver, and perform contracts separately with PCM-G, Adorama, B&H Photo Video, Best Buy for Business, Central Products, Snap-On, Sysco, Singer Equipment, Houston Starr Co., ATD-Capitol, US Foodservices, E-Plus, and CDW, to purchase equipment and supplies for Career and Technical Education programs, for an aggregate amount not to exceed $4,000,000, subject to funding, for the period commencing August 17, 2018 through August 30, 2019.
Description: This resolution establishes a source for the equipment and supplies necessary to operate the District’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. The CTE office manages programs in a variety of fields including agriculture, culinary, health, communications, construction, and more.
B-8 Operating Budget: $761,016.06 Contract with the University of Pennsylvania Department of Orthopaedic Surgery – Athletic Trainers
RESOLVED, that the Board of Education authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a contract with the University of Pennsylvania Department of Orthopaedic Surgery to provide certified athletic trainers for fall, winter, and spring sports, coordinate scheduling services, and generate reports for all levels of evaluation of project work activities for all athletic trainers assigned to School District schools for athletic events, for an aggregate amount not to exceed $761,016.06, for the period commencing August 27, 2018 through June 30, 2020.
Description: The University of Pennsylvania Department of Orthopaedic Surgery is a world renowned provider of highly skilled and specialized athletic trainers. The Division of Athletics, in partnership with the Office of Procurement, solicited RFP-524 in efforts to establish a provider for athletic trainer services and to align the coordination of services and data collection. The University of Pennsylvania was the chosen provider for this RFP based on quality of services, scope, and cost analysis measures.
The care and prevention of athletic injuries is imperative to the high school interscholastic athletic programs sponsored by the Division of Athletics. The University of Pennsylvania Department of Orthopaedic Surgery will provide eight full-time athletic trainers, certified through the National Athletic Trainers Association, who will administer preventive and immediate first aid care to students during athletic events and practices taking place at the following 35 high schools: Bodine, Central, Dobbins, Edison, Fels, Frankford, Girls’ High, Kensington, Lincoln, Mastbaum, Northeast, Penn Treaty, Strawberry Mansion, Swenson, George Washington, Academy at Rush, Hill Freedman, Roxborough, Martin Luther King, Parkway Northwest, Saul, Academy at Palumbo, Bartram, Furness, Girard Academic Music Program, Lankenau, Overbrook, Parkway Center City, Parkway West, Randolph Skills Center, Paul Robeson, Sayre, School of the Future, South Philadelphia, and West Philadelphia. Additionally, athletic trainer services will be provided to all middle grades football games.
Athletic trainers administer immediate first aid care given to athletes, as well as provide in-service training for coaches. Athletic trainers specialize in injury and illness prevention, assessment, treatment and rehabilitation for all physically active people, including the general public. All athletic trainers will chart and report all injuries season by season and sport by sport. This information will assist in future research for sport related injuries.
APPS Analysis: Ever since the Strawberry Mansion community was told of the District’s plan to dismantle the comprehensive high school by eliminating 9th grade for this upcoming school year, there has been tremendous pushback from community members and alumni, teachers, students, and parents refusing to allow the District to close their school. First the District responded by creating a “Strawberry Mansion Task Force”, now called the “Strawberry Mansion Planning Committee”. Opposition to District plans has been voiced at SRC and Board of Education meetings, City Council, and at invitation-only meetings called by Councilman Clarke and Dr Hite. Articles have appeared on the APPS website , and in The Philadelphia Tribune, The Notebook and philly.com.
District staff have been asked specific questions including:
Where is the roster detailing classes for the remaining 10th,11th, & 12th graders?
How many teacher vacancies still exist?
How does the District plan on handling two programs (a traditional high school) with an Accelerated School Program for over-age students? When will each program admit and dismiss students? What entrances will be used? Will One Bright Ray use Mansion gym and cafeteria? What is their schedule?
What sports programs will be provided?
In general, answers have been less than informative, mostly of the “we will get back to you” variety. As of late July, the community was told that there are five teacher vacancies for a school of approximately 225 students. Action Item A-18 sends $4 million to “various vendors” providing CTE Program Equipment and Supplies, but there is no list of schools. District staff have repeatedly alluded to the renewed Culinary Arts Program being revived at Mansion. Will they receive some of this $4 million? Those present at the July 31st meeting were told that there will be two Culinary Arts Teachers, including one without teaching experience or credentials. Responses to questions asking how this person will be supported were lacking in details.
Questions about the relocation of One Bright Ray into the 5th floor and possible sharing of gym and cafeteria spaces also went unanswered. How much rent they will be paying and what is included in that sum were met with “We do not know.” Questions concerning entry and dismissal times and procedures received similar responses. But this Action Item shows that the District did know what the rent would be as well as entry and dismissal times. Resolution A-15 sets out more specific information but also raises questions. It states that the OBR day school (200 students) will operate year-round, but rent is only paid until June 30. At the July 30 District-run meeting, participants were informed that sports would be conducted in partnership with Vaux High School. Vaux Big Picture is a contract school that opened last year with a 9th grade class. This upcoming school year allows them to expand to 10th grade. Vaux Big Picture is not mentioned in B-8 to receive services of Athletic Trainers. If they are working with Mansion to provide sports for their students, will Big Picture pay for these services?
SLA Expansion Continues
A-11 Capital Fund: $9,858,000 Authorization of Capital Awards – Contract for Major Renovations at Benjamin Franklin High School
RESOLVED, that the Board of Education authorizes the School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a contract with McGoldrick Electric Inc. for major renovation and co-location at the Benjamin Franklin High School for an aggregate amount not to exceed $9,858,000.00, for the period commencing August 25, 2018 through October 1, 2019.
Description: Spec: B-019 C [R] Electrical Contract – Major Renovation and Co-Location of 2017/18 Benjamin Franklin High School – 550 North Broad St. McGoldrick Electric Inc. – $9,858,000.00 2406 Hirst Terrace, Havertown, Pennsylvania 19083
This work covers the electrical construction labor, materials, and equipment and services necessary for renovations and improvements of approximately 215,000 SF at Benjamin Franklin High School. The work includes new panel boards, interior and exterior lighting fixtures and controls, electrical and data outlets, new fire alarm system, telecom bonding and grounding equipment to bond new equipment to existing grounding equipment, new data cables, master clock system, new security cameras, and camera system. The Facilities Condition Index (FCI) at this location is 34.63%. The School Progress Report (SPR) at this location is 4.
The bids for this project were publicly advertised on 6/19/2018, 6/24/2018, and 6/26/2018 in several local newspapers and posted on the School District’s Capital Programs website. The award is recommended to the responsive and responsible bidder who met the technical and construction specifications. Bids were publicly opened on 7/11/2018. After review of the bids and a de-scoping meeting it was determined that McGoldrick Electric, Inc. was the lowest responsible bidder with a bid of $9,858,000.00.
The School Reform Commission, by Resolution (A-71), approved the General, Mechanical, and Plumbing Contracts on June 21, 2018, for an amount not to exceed of $20,060,256. This request is for the approval of the Electrical Contact in the amount not to exceed of $9,858,000. The total budget for this project is $33,000,000.
APPS Analysis: Ben Franklin High School has faced several challenges in recent years. Franklin was a receiving school when several high schools were closed in 2013, it has been sent a succession of short-term principals, and it was included in the first cohort of Priority Schools in 2016. Now it must accept the co-location of SLA. SLA co-located with Beeber Middle School in 2013; within two years Beeber MS closed and SLA expanded to occupy the entire building. This year SLA Beeber enrolls its first class of fifth graders as the school becomes a Middle/High school with grades 5 through 12. Ben Franklin HS is seen as prime real estate by some, convenient to cultural institutions and a stone’s throw from Community College of Philadelphia. Would these renovations be happening at Ben Franklin if SLA were not moving in? Will they be consumed by SLA and disappear?
A-16 Operating Budget: $155,021 Amendment to Lease Agreement with University Science Center – Science Leadership Academy Middle School
RESOLVED, that the Board of Education authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent, or his designee, to execute, deliver, and perform an amendment to the Lease Agreement with University City Science Center (“UCSC”) for the Science Leadership Academy-Middle School (“SLA- MS”) for approximately 26,331 square feet, located at 3600 Market Street (“Leased Premises”), for the period commencing on August 17, 2018 and ending on June 30, 2020, to pay UCSC an amount not to exceed $155,021 on or before June 30, 2019 for improvements to the Leased Premises; the Lease Agreement for the period commencing on July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020, was originally entered into with UCSC pursuant to Resolution No. A-37, approved by the School Reform Commission on April 26, 2018.
FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board of Education authorizes the School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee: (i) to accept the generous grant from Drexel University of $25,000 through the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, to be paid directly to USCS or its contractor for the construction of the improvements to the Lease Premises; (ii) to accept the generous grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership of $28,699 through Inquiry Schools, to be paid directly to UCSC or its contractor for improvements to the Leased Premises: and (iii) to execute, deliver and perform such other documents necessary to further the intent of this Action Item.
Description: In order to accommodate the SLA-MS educational program, the following work needs to occur in order to have the educational spaces ready for the students by August 20, 2018. The scope of work will include combining eight (8) rooms to form four (4) classrooms of adequate size, install new marker and tack boards, provide a warming kitchen and an open space to serve as a cafeteria, reconnect all IT wiring, and install new fiber to connect the new location to the District’s network. UCSC, owner of the building, has retained a contractor to construct the improvements to accommodate the relocation of SLA-MS from 3600 Spring Garden Street to 3600 Market Street. The total value of the improvements is $208,079, of which Drexel University is contributing $25,000 and SLA-MS, through a grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership through Inquiry Schools is contributing $28,699 to offset the cost, which will result in a balance of $155,021 to be paid by the School District of Philadelphia.
B-13 Operating Budget: $40,000 Contract with Jehiza Feliz – Program Partnership Coordinator for Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber
RESOLVED, that the School Reform Commission authorizes the School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a contract with Jehiza Feliz, to provide guidance with respect to community partnering, organizing, and maintaining coursework with these partners, supporting academic programs and recruitment events for Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber, for an amount not to exceed $40,000, for the period commencing September 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.
Description: As the coordinator, Jehiza Feliz will assist Science Leadership Academy @ Beeber with creating and maintaining relationships with outside partners, organizing mini-courses and Individual Learning Projects. Jehiza Feliz will also support recruitment efforts, site visits, new student orientation, open houses, and supporting academic programs.
APPS Analysis: Let us take a moment to remember the “maybe commitment” made by Drexel after they purchased the 14-acre tract of land housing three District schools in 2014. According to a June 16, 2014 Philadelphia Inquirer article describing the University’s plans, “Drexel University says it plans to attract around $1 billion in financing to build housing, stores, labs, offices, parking and maybe a public school on 2.7 million square feet (more than double the size of Philadelphia’s tallest building, the Comcast tower) at the 14-acre former School District of Philadelphia campus it has acquired with its partner, Baltimore developer James R. Berens’ Wexford Science & Technology LLC, for $25.15 million. Berens is also the developer of the nearby 3737 Market St. tower for the University City Science Center.”
For three years SLA-MS has bounced around Drexel’s campus seeking a home. Now they are housed at Berens’ University City Science Center. Drexel is kicking in $25,000 and PSP another $25,000 to help with renovations to accommodate the school. The district’s reason to move SLA was the high rent (on a building the District used to own). How much more does the District intend to spend on both renovations and rent for yet another SLA school?
SLA has had a Program and Partnership Coordinator on staff for several years. Does any other District school have this position?
More Outsourcing: Special Education and Professional Development
A-2 Operating Budget: No Cost Contract Amendment with Camelot Schools of Pennsylvania, EBS Healthcare, Inc., and Progressus Therapy, LLC – Emotional Support Classrooms
RESOLVED, that the Board of Education authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver, and perform separate contracts with Camelot Schools of Pennsylvania, LLC, EBS Healthcare, Inc., and Progressus Therapy, LLC, to provide staff for up to a total of 45 emotional support classrooms on an as-needed basis, consistent with Resolution A-8, of April 26, 2018, by which the School Reform Commission approved contracts with Community Council Education Services, Inc. (CCES) for this purpose, in order to make up an anticipated shortfall of resources by CCES, at no additional cost to the District, as each of the four providers will be paid from the total not-to-exceed amount of $6,750,000, approved by Resolution A-8, for the period commencing August 17, 2018 through June 30, 2019.
Description: This action item seeks authorization to contract, at no additional cost, with Camelot Schools of Pennsylvania, LLC (Camelot), EBS Healthcare, Inc. (EBS), and Progressus Therapy (Progressus), to supplement the services to be provided by CCES for up to 45 emotional support classrooms for the 2018/2019 school year.
On April 26, 2018, the School Reform Commission, through Resolution No. A-8, authorized a contract with CCES for the provision of contracted emotional support (ES) classrooms pursuant to Request for Proposal (RFP) No. 542, issued by the School District on May 9, 2017. Subsequent to the approval of Resolution A-8, CCES notified the School District that it would not have the resources needed to fully staff all 45 ES classrooms identified by the School District. To find additional qualified vendors, the School District issued RFP No. 594, on May 31, 2018. Through RFP 594, Camelot, EBS and Progressus were selected as qualified vendors to provide ES classrooms along with CCES. Together, these four vendors will be able to cover up to 45 ES classrooms during the 2018/2019 school year if the need arises.
Students placed by Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams in ES classrooms, require intensive behavioral and academic supports and interventions. The selected vendors shall deliver qualified and certified special education teachers and support staff, and a wide range of academic, behavioral and support services to students diagnosed with emotional disturbance (ED) and placed in ES classrooms. School District principals will supervise the ES classrooms located in their school building. The School District has successfully utilized the ES classroom model since September 2009.
APPS Analysis: Outsourcing of Special Education services has significantly increased under the Hite Administration. When private companies move in there are many questions the BOE must ask, including:
How stable is their staffing? What is the yearly retention rate?
Are all teachers currently certified in Special Education? How many are still working towards certification?
Will their pay and benefits equal that of District staff?
Who is the company accountable to? Is a for-profit business better able to educate the most vulnerable students rather than a public system with no profit motive?
A-7 Operating Budget: $90,000 Contract with Lakeside Global Institute – Trauma Training for Educators
RESOLVED, that the Board of Education authorizes The School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver and perform a contract with Lakeside Global Institute for trauma training for educators including professional development, training, consultation, and coaching on strategies and methods to educate students impacted by trauma, in an amount not to exceed $90,000 for the period commencing August 20, 2018 through June 30, 2019.
Description: Lakeside Global Institute will provide comprehensive training for educators on the impact of trauma on the student’s brain, behavior and ability to learn, and practical strategies for teaching trauma- impacted students. Lakeside will partner with 6 schools (Steel, James Rhoads, Bartram, Wagner, Feltonville Arts and Sciences, and Gideon,) identified as under-performing in the system of great schools process. In addition, Lakeside will partner with a to-be-determined set of schools who will be identified in the system of great schools process in the 2018-19 school year, who exhibit readiness for services (i.e. Tier I services implemented with fidelity, leadership buy-in and support) and whose key performance indicators (i.e. attendance, suspension, incident reports, office discipline referrals and crisis calls) show the need for services. Training includes, but is not limited to, professional development, hands-on training, observation, video and coaching sessions to ensure effective implementation of trauma-informed teaching methods.
APPS ANALYSIS: Given what many of our students live through in their daily lives, Trauma Informed Training is essential. Upon closer examination, we must ask whether this contract represents the best approach. Trauma Informed Training should be ongoing and include all members of the school community, from principal and teaching staff to custodian and bus drivers. Every person working in the school community needs to be trained. This does not work if only a few members are involved. There is a tremendous amount of research in this field that shows that one-and-done training is ineffective. Supports need to be in place not only for students but also for those adults helping them. Are these going to be paid trainings? If so, how far will $90,000 spread over six schools with traumatized students really go? Is this an adequate amount or is it a band-aid? All of these schools were put into the Priority School program; as a result, two of those schools, Steele and Rhoads, forced out most of their teachers. This turnover of staff contributes to the turmoil in our students’ lives. Is this a program that stakeholders requested or was it simply imposed? If the BOE posted the contract we might have some answers.
A-8 Operating Budget: $4,050,000 Contract with Progressus Therapy, LLC and RCM Technologies USA – Substitute Nursing – 3 years
RESOLVED, that the Board of Education authorizes the School District of Philadelphia, through the Superintendent or his designee, to execute, deliver, and perform separate contracts with Progressus Therapy, LLC and RCM Technologies USA to provide substitute nurses in schools and private duty nurses for medically fragile students for a total amount not to exceed $4,050,000.00, for the period commencing August 20, 2018 through June 30, 2021.
Description: RCM Technologies (USA) Inc. (RCM), and Progressus Therapy, LLC will provide substitute nurses and private duty nurses as needed to cover the ongoing and critical health needs of all 202,538 students attending the city’s 339 public and non-public schools. This will support the daily health and safety of children under the District’s supervision and care during the school day.
APPS Analysis: The basic question here is why the need for a 3-year, $4 million contract that includes substitute nurses. Why can’t the District keep regularly appointed nurses? Having an experienced nurse in every school who knows and develops relationships with students and their families is critical.
Nurses are an integral part of the education environment, providing support for both physical and emotional needs; conducting diagnostic screenings; sharing resources for families; teaching and practicing medicine ; responding to routine health concerns as well as medical emergencies; diagnosing both physical and emotional health issues all daylong; initiating and intervening in the management of depression ,anxiety ,bullying , suicidal behaviors. The Progressus website boasts that they offer “the most cost-effective solution to our clients”. What happened to providing our students with educated and experienced practitioners who are also PFT members? Progressus was purchased by a Florida-based company called INVO. Who will own them next? And how will that affect our students?