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Conversations With Charles: The New Philadelphia School Board

What does the School District of Philadelphia's switch to local control mean for the future of TFA - Greater Philadelphia?

Conversations With Charles: The New Philadelphia School Board

By The TFA Editorial Team

April 6, 2018

A few days ago, the new nine-member Board of Education for Philadelphia was announced. Find out what our Executive Director, Charles Adams, thinks about the switch and its potential impact on TFA - Greater Philadelphia.

How does the transition to local governance align with TFA’s mission?

Our life-long vision is for students in every community of Greater Philadelphia—especially the 60,000 living in deep poverty—to have access to schools that honor, cultivate and promote their inherent potential. Recently, we’ve refocused our school partnerships, both in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) and amongst the charter sector, so that we are a clear part of the push for equitable and excellent schools for our most vulnerable children. We hope and believe that the nine members of the Philadelphia Board of Education will join us in our mission of serving students by beginning their work with a particular focus on our city’s most overlooked and underserved young people.

Considering this announcement, what’s next for TFA-Philly?

The transition itself has no immediate effect on our work in Philadelphia. TFA Philly will continue to provide our K-12 public education sector with a supportive and thriving community of new and seasoned teachers, principals and assistant principals, not-for-profit leaders and impactful change-makers across the public and private sector. However, we’re looking forward to working with the new Board in a formal capacity, as we’ve done with SDP for years. We have an opportunity for an impactful thought partnership. We are excited to see that several, if not most, of the new board members have deep experience(s) with students and families.  It’s always a plus when the children of the decision makers are in our schools.

What would you want the new Board to know about TFA- Greater Philly and your work?

I’d want the new Board to know that since 2003, TFA- Greater Philadelphia has played an important role in the city's education ecosystem. We do three things really well. First, we find promising leaders. Next, we develop and cultivate teacher leaders who make a daily impact in their classroomsLastly, we support the leadership and learning of those in our network throughout their professional lifetime 

Our numbers are large and our impact is deep. For example, by the 1st day of school this August, we’ll have 100+ of our newest teachers in district and charter schools. These corps members will join not only the 400+ alumni teachers who have remained in the classroom, but also the force of 1300 alumni in Philadelphia who are working across all sectors to increase educational equity for every student. Our corps members and alums serve roughly 36,000 Philadelphia students, empowering and encouraging them to unlock their inherent potential.

P.S. - You can find out who the nine new members of SDP’s School Board are here. Additionally, I would encourage anyone to check out this podcast, Questions for the School Board (posted on March 6), for a more nuanced picture of this switch to local control. 

For more thoughts about the new Board of Education, check out this edition of #AlumniVoices.