Great Schools Compact Update 4/22/2013
August 18, 2013
Universal Enrollment Update
Ramsey Green, a consultant for Universal Enrollment, started by detailing that the Working Group meets twice monthly with representatives from the District, charter and advocacy group stakeholders. Green then highlighted that the Working Group has already had its first Parent Focus Group meeting and has on-going individual Charter/CMO outreach meetings in order to bring back community and stakeholder feedback to the discussion table to ensure policy recommendations are made as thoughtful as possible. He then outlined the following policies that the Working Group has recommended thus far:
- Universal Enrollment beginning in all Philadelphia high schools for Fall 2014 for grades 9 through 12.
- Participation of charter operators is voluntary; though the goal is to have 100% school and student participation.
- The first application deadline will occur between November 30th and January 15th with first round placement offers to be given on February 2014.
- A single best offer system rather than the current multiple offer system.
- Within application, the student has an opportunity to list up to ten school preferences which is approximately 10% of total high school options.
- School preferences would include both individual high schools and specific programs within those schools; e.g. IB or magnet programs.
- The elimination of “wait-lists” currently in-use in Philadelphia.
Green went on to provide the Compact with input that the Working Group has received from numerous stakeholders including parents and advocacy groups like Education Voters of Pennsylvania.
It was also highlighted that the Working Group felt it was best that a third party oversee Universal Enrollment for Philadelphia, highlighting that both charter and District feedback suggested the District would be unable to do so from both a financial and staff perspective.
At the conclusion of the update, Paul Kihn asked if there has been any charters have indicated that they will accept it, to which Miles Wilson answered only one charter has stated that they were absolutely not interested. Wilson also added that there is the opportunity to tie Universal Enrollment into GreatPhillySchools and that schools have the chance to outline critical details about their school that caregivers should be aware of if they are applying to the school. Dr. Shorr then added that the Mayor’s Office has been hearing a lot of positive feedback about Universal Enrollment, citing that parents have been strongly in favor of it.
Kate Sobel of The New Teacher Project provided the Compact with an update on the PhillyPLUS program. Sobel began by stating there is 75 applications in-progress for consideration and that the evaluation process for candidates continues to be highly selective with a highly diverse application pool.
Sobel indicated that April 22nd would be the final day applications would be received for the first cohort of PhillyPLUS, with April 27th being the last full day of final interviews to take place. Program content design would occur during a retreat set for May 1st and 2nd. Lastly, that the Pennsylvania Department of Education has approved PhillyPLUS’s request for state certification.
District Budget Update
Paul Kihn updated the Compact on the District’s budget announcement for FY 2014, which was set to be announced the next day.
Charter Renewals & Expansions
Dr. Lori Shorr proposed a meeting to occur in the following weeks to update charters on the expansion and renewal process.