Philly schools mark another year of incremental improvement

Mike DeNardo
February 10, 2020 - 12:52 pm
School Progress Report improvements

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philly schools celebrated a fourth straight year of modest progress on the School District of Philadelphia’s annual report card.

Overall, district and charter schools are doing 2% better compared to the last school year, according to the district’s School Progress Report (SPR). Citywide, schools increased to 44% in 2018-19 compared to 42% in 2017-18.  

During a ceremony Monday morning at William H. Hunter Elementary School in Kensington, 50 of the district’s 215 schools were recognized for making multi-year progress. Superintendent William HIte credits investments in early literacy programs and classroom modernization.

“We have 150 additional coaches since we started that process. We now have grade-level libraries in all K-5 classrooms,” he noted. “The products of that are schools that are actually making progress, and this progress has continued now for a period of time.”

The report assesses four areas: student achievement, student progress, school climate, and college and career readiness among high schoolers.

Mayor Jim Kenney said the continuous progress shows schools are worth the $1.2 billion that the city is planning to provide over five years.

“They’re improving, and they’re worth investing in,” he added.

The report ranks the schools’ success on four tiers. Since the 2014-15 school year, the number of schools in the highest tiers — meaning schools that have earned at least 50% of possible points and above — have more than doubled, from 61 to 127 schools. The number of students has increased from 40,000 to 80,000 students. 

Also since 2014-15, 93% of district students have zero out-of-school suspensions, up four points; and, 47% of district students are attending 95% of days or more, up eight points.

Although they’re celebrating four years of growth to the overall 44% score — up from 33% five years ago — Malika Savoy-Brooks, the district’s chief of academic support, admitted that there’s still a long way to go.

“I will be happy when the majority of our schools are at 100 percent,” she said. “We’re going in the right direction, but … we have a lot of work to do.”