My name is Amy-Nicole Roat. I am the PFT Building Rep at Feltonville of Arts and Sciences and proud member of the Caucus of Working Educators.
I am speaking today regarding the charter schools seeking approval to open near the Feltonville neighborhood – Pantoja Prep, Hostos Prep and APM. Introducing the “competition” of charter schools will leave our excellent schools with stranded costs that will jeopardize our recognized success.
The public schools in Feltonville are clustered together in what we call a “campus.” We serve the same families, communicate about children, support each other, and share staff in an emergency. We all have a track record of success as measured by the School Progress Report (SPR) and our schools have been anchors in the community, despite the brutal budget cuts of the last five years. Feltonville is a multi-cultural community that includes many immigrants, and despite deep economic poverty, is thriving in many ways. The Feltonville neighborhood already has what it takes to educate and support our students.
Clara Barton is a strong pre-K to 2nd grade school with many devoted and long-term staff. There are 700 learners in Barton, which has a focus on literacy across the curriculum. Feltonville Intermediate is a school that serves students in 3rd through 5th grades. There are 700 students who call “Intermediate” home. This school was celebrated as a SPR Peer Leader for the 2016-2017 School Year! In other words, Intermediate is a role model for achievement, progress, and climate. Clearly, the hard-work and diligence of the stakeholders at Barton, have a positive impact on the laudable results at Intermediate.
Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences serves nearly 600 students in Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grades. We are Philadelphia School District’s Most Improved Middle School for the 2016-2017 school year! Overall, our school SPR increased from 13% to 46%. A rise of 33 percentage points in a single school year! Our progress score increased from 7% to 75% bringing us up from an Intervene Category to the highest Model Category. Our climate score increased from 32% to 53% bringing us up from the Watch Category to a Reinforce Category.
We educators do not have a simple formula for success. We have experienced staff who have been at FSAS for many years. We know this community and are happy to be part of it. We work hard together, we grow and change, and continue to create a web of supports for our kids.
What the community, family and students of Feltonville need are more resources and more staff so we can continue with our successes. Feltonville does NOT need charter schools to drain our students and resources away.
We have seen throughout the district that charter schools make empty promises they cannot fulfill. Charters lure parents with assurances that they have the easy answers, when the veteran staff at our traditional public schools know that stability, expertise, and hard work will yield results that we can all be proud of.
We urge you NOT to approve any charter school applications in and around Feltonville. Clara Barton Elementary, Feltonville Intermediate, and Feltonville Arts & Sciences have a proven track record that no charter schools can match.
The concept that “competition” from charter schools will improve all schools is fallacious and risks the education and future of our current students.
Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter.