The City of Philadelphia has announced that they “will support three Philadelphia Great Schools Compact initiatives aimed at improving school leadership, strengthening teacher training and creating benchmark assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards. The initiatives will be funded in part through a $2.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which will be managed by the Philadelphia School Partnership.”
The initiatives will allow all city schools (district, charter and Archdiocesan) to deepen their collaboration, and “strengthen existing work and partnerships to advance college readiness and student success throughout the city.” The three initiatives are:
>>> The creation of the Urban Leadership Academy, a principal pipeline development program which will assist 40-50 aspiring principals to obtain administrator certification annually
>>> The expansion of the “Train the Trainer” Teacher Effectiveness Program of Mastery Charter Schools’ program to develop teachers in District, charter, private and Archdiocese schools
>>> The construction of benchmark assessments aligned to national Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts
The Director of Education, College Ready for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Vicki Phillips, said, “The goal is to support these communities in significantly boosting the number of students enrolled in high-performing schools. These cities understand that opening the lines of communication and sharing best practices across schools are an effective way to do that. They have moved beyond the question of whether charters or district schools are better and are working together to benefit all students in these communities. These cities serve as models for what collaboration can do, and we applaud these local leaders for their commitment to advancing college readiness.” And you know what? You can’t argue with that. The school system in our city is … uh … flawed (and broke), and any help or new idea is good news.