The School District of Philadelphia has made recent gains in key areas including early literacy and graduation rates. While we’re moving in the right direction, that important progress is now threatened by a looming deficit.
The Mayor’s budget proposal is focused on stabilizing the District’s finances and investing in quality programs to ensure the best outcomes for Philadelphia students.
Here are some examples of what the Mayor’s FY19 Budget supports:
Increasing early literacy
Helping children read at an early age encourages development and improves outcomes in the long run. This budget will help the District place specialized reading coaches in every elementary school, modernize 150 classrooms in 11 schools to support literacy, and expand the District’s focus on early literacy into grades 4 and 5.
College and career readiness
For our students to have the opportunities they deserve, we must prepare them for the demands of the modern workforce. The Mayor has proposed helping the District expand and improve career & technical education (CTE) programs, apprenticeship programs, IT internships and other career pathway opportunities.
The budget also calls for expanded college access through advanced placement courses, free SAT testing, and a middle-college program where high school students can earn an associate’s degree.
Finally, students would have more career exposure and work experiences throughout the year. This will include eight new 9th Grade Academies that provide academic supports and counseling, to support student success and reduce their risk of dropping out.
Creating safe and welcoming environments
For students to succeed, their school environments should feel safe and encourage learning. The District proposes new investments in school climates to enhance positive and safe school cultures. Upgrading elementary classrooms and addressing the physical building needs of our schools is also a part of this year’s budget.
Philadelphia has a student body that is highly diverse and our methods of instruction should reflect that. More bilingual counseling assistants would be hired to provide bilingual services and support to families. Additional English language-learner (ELL) teachers would also be hired to help students in acquiring needed English language skills.
High quality instruction
We also need to make sure our teachers have the support they need. High school teachers would receive training and resources to help increase student achievement and engagement. The budget would also support efforts to increase the diversity and quality of our teaching workforce.