Philadelphia students back in school with experimental early start date

Mayor Jim Kenney said there is no better economic investment than education.

Mark Abrams
August 27, 2018 - 12:42 pm
Superintendent Dr. William Hite speaks during opening ceremonies marking the start of classes in the Philadelphia School District outside the Luis Munoz Marin Elementary School in North Philadelphia on Monday.

Mark Abrams/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Students in the Philadelphia School District are back in class. This is the first time the academic year is starting before Labor Day.

And students are making a lot of noise about the change. Students, teachers and staff here at the Luis Muñoz-Marín Elementary School in North Philadelphia rang ceremonial bells to signal the start of the school year.

The early start to classes here in Philadelphia is an experiment which school officials say could become the new normal for students. 

RELATED: Philly starts academic year with fresh school board, Hite explains what's new

Superintendent Dr. William Hite says the decision to start early has a lot of benefits.

"What we wanted to do is concentrate more days at the beginning of the year for instructional time," Hite said. "That's better than the days at the end of the year, after Memorial Day. And we wanted an uninterrupted wek of school so that children come every day for at least one week of school."

Hite says the district will examine how well the schedule change works this year and decide by next spring whether it will continue.

RELATED: Will an earlier start to school become the new norm?

Mayor Jim Kenney who joined in ceremonies marking the start of classes told an assembly here there is no better economic investment than education.

"Nothing else matters. It's not Amazon; it's not retaining businesss. It's training our young people to take the jobs of the next 10, 20, 30 years," Kenney said. "And, if we don't do it, we're going to be mired in poverty forever."

Kenney encouraged students to work hard, to be on time for school. He says good attendance pays off in good grades, which reflect on a student's successful academic year."

It's also a fresh start for the school district. This is the first year under the new school board, the nine-member panel replaces the state-run School Reform Commission.