School Board Meeting

January 2023 School Board Review!

Thursday was January’s school board meeting! These meetings are one of the best chances to hear what's going on in the district and the current priorities of the board. BUT with so much information, it is hard to remember everything so we’ve compiled some of the highlights below!

This is by no means an exhaustive list of everything spoken about during the school board meeting rather just some of the items/topics that stuck out to us here at UrbEd.

Preparation for Standardized Tests

Multiple students including the current student board representatives spoke about how they feel incredibly unprepared for standardized tests required to graduate (keystone assessments) or required for college admission, such as the SATs or ACTs. One student spoke about how she is an honors and AP, advance placement student but still struggled to answer any of the questions on the keystone exam, a test she has to pass to graduate. The students also emphasized that there is no SAT preparation in schools, including so-called “college preparatory” schools.  

Attendance of Students and Teachers

An immediate goal of the board is to increase student and teacher attendance. Compared to previous years there has been significant higher teacher absenteeism. To a lesser extent there also has been a decrease in student attendance. After speaking with school leaders, the district is considering reducing the number of ½ days because attendance is lower on ½ days.

Pools and LifeGuard Training

Multiple students and adults testify about the lack of indoor pools in the winter and safe outdoors pools in the summer. Right now aspiring lifeguards can only be trained at the Lincoln  — pool in the farther northeast. Because of this far location many students will not travel to be trained leading to the lifeguard shortage we had at public pools this summer. One student who worked as a lifeguard this summer also spoke about how unsafe the current situation of outdoor public pools feel. She experienced multiple instances of gun violence at or adjacent to the outdoor pool. These speakers emphasized the importance of exercise and swimming for Philadelphia students as swimming can have larger impacts on mental health and safety.

To watch the recording of the full school boarding meeting or read the minutes you can go here:

And sign up to testify at the next meeting here:

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