In 2013, the School District of Philadelphia introduced the School Progress Report to provide a tool for evidence-based decisions about teaching and learning at the school level. The SPR allows Philadelphians to look at the performance of our public schools, district and charter, across multiple dimensions. More importantly, principals are able to make decisions about teaching and learning based on the report’s data. Since the implementation of the SPR, the School District has seen a change in the ways schools respond to challenges. The recently released 2017-2018 School Progress Report shows a steady improvement in public schools across Philadelphia that should be celebrated.
Over the last three years, the number of schools in the lowest tier of performance has been reduced by 50 percent (from 88 schools to 45 schools) and the number of schools in our highest tiers of school performance has doubled (from 36 schools to 68 schools).
This year’s results show 70 percent of our schools have increased their overall school performance, which means that most of our schools have improved in the areas of academic achievement (students are on track in their academics), progress (students are meeting or exceeding their learning goals for the year), climate (attendance and engagement), career and college readiness, and educator effectiveness. These results would not be possible without Superintendent Dr. William Hite’s steady leadership, and our hardworking students, committed teachers, principals, staff, and community.
Even with this progress, there is still much work to be done. As members of the Board of Education, our work is not complete until all of our students have access to quality schools. In order to achieve this, we will invest in strategies and policies that have demonstrated success in increasing quality educational opportunities to all Philadelphia students.
Philadelphians should be proud of the hard-won progress in our schools, but they should also be mindful that this is a team effort. It takes all of us — teachers, principals, staff, students, parents, families, city and state leaders, business leaders, volunteers, and many others — believing in, supporting, and investing in every student and school to accelerate our progress.
We are asking for you to join us in our fight to support great public schools in every zip code throughout our city. Volunteer in a school, adopt a school, donate to The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia, advocate for the needs of the School District with your state and local elected officials, and follow @PHLschools and @PHLSchoolBoard on social media to help us share the good news with others. If we are all part of the progress, there is nothing that can hold us back.
Dr. Chris McGinley and Dr. Angela McIver are the Board of Education’s Student Achievement & Support Committee co-chairs.