PHILADELPHIA – The Mayor’s Office of Education today released a report summarizing the incoming Board of Education’s listening tour, which took place during April and May 2018. The report was written for the Board of Education by the Penn Project for Civic Engagement (PPCE), which worked with the Mayor’s Office of Education to organize the tour.
The goal of the listening tour was for the new Board to hear from students, educators, parents and community members before assuming governance in July. Between April 25 and May 23, more than 400 Philadelphians attended five public listening sessions and participated in small group conversations, which PPCE documented and analyzed for the report.
“The conversations summarized in this report will inform what local control looks like in Philadelphia,” said Chief Education Officer Otis Hackney. “The listening tour was a key part of the Board appointees’ preparation for governance, and has laid a strong foundation for future public engagement. The success of our schools affects everyone who lives in the city and requires a broad, diverse coalition of supporters, so we appreciate the hundreds of residents who took the time to attend the listening tour and participated in earnest. We thank PPCE for this thorough and thoughtful report, and for designing the listening sessions to ensure that all participants were heard.”
“It was a privilege to work on this initiative with the fine team in the Mayor’s Office of Education and the public-spirited group of Board of Education appointees,” said Harris Sokoloff and Chris Satullo, Co-Directors of PPCE, in a statement. “Most of all it was a honor to help amplify the voices of the hundreds of parents, students, educators and advocates who attended the forums. We hope some day soon they will conclude that their participation in the Listening Tour was time well-spent, because they will be able to see that their input made a difference in how the School District of Philadelphia works.”
The report identifies key themes that came up repeatedly during the tour, and details the specific concerns and ideas that participants raised:
- Community engagement
- Funding and equity
- Charter schools
- Climate and culture
- Educational quality and programs
- Behavioral health, discipline and bullying
- Special education
- Supports for immigrant communities
Board members will discuss the listening tour at their first public meeting, which will take place on July 9 at 5:00 p.m. at the School District Auditorium (440 N. Broad Street).