Media alerts and updates - October 2007


October 15, 2007

Official notice: Changes to the high school selection process 

Chief Academic Officer Cassandra Jones has issued a letter to all parents and students (text below). Communications should also be made to all school and district offices about the change in policy. You can help spread the news by forwarding this to all relevant contacts. Parents United only has a several hundred member listserve which is by request only. Thanks to all parents and the District for responding promptly to this urgent matter! 

"October 5, 2007 

Dear Parents and Guardians:
In response to several expressions of concern from various stakeholders regarding the proposed changes to the Student Admissions and Transfer Process, the District will change this year's filing deadline from November 2 to November 16, 2007, and maintain the existing multiple acceptance process for the current school year.

Should you have any questions about the District's Voluntary Transfer and Admission Process, please contact the Office of Student Placement at 215-400-4290 or email

Thank you for your cooperation and support of The School District of Philadelphia.


Cassandra W. Jones, Ed.D.
Interim Chief Academic Officer
cc:    Thomas M. Brady
       Claudia Averette
        Regional Superintendents
        Albert Bichner
        LeTretta Jones"

October 4, 2007
Parents join together for resolution on high school selection process

On Thursday, October 4, Chief Academic Officer Dr. Cassandra Jones spoke with Parents United for Public Education and agreed to revise the timeline for the application of high schools. Dr. Jones also said that, for this year, the District will permit multiple acceptances for students. She indicated that students will be able to make their final selection in the spring. 

Dr. Jones said District offices had done important and compelling work on the reasoning for the changes, particularly the elimination of multiple acceptances. She explained that part of the reasoning was due to the timeline regarding high schools' enrollment and budget timelines. 

Parents United thanks Dr. Jones for her prompt attention to the urgency around this issue. We intend to follow up with Dr. Jones about expanding that dialogue to include parents. We believe there is great importance in having multiple acceptances and putting the final choice of high schools in the parents' and students' hands. We will be requesting a meeting with Dr. Jones on this issue and welcome concerned parents to join the discussion. 

Parents United for Public Education thanks all the parents, principals, schools and organizations who succeeded in working together on the issue of the changes in the high school selection process. In the past 48 hours, 15 organizations and Home and School Associations as well as dozens of parents citywide joined collectively on an issue that would impact thousands of 8th grade families across the district. At least one parent has been laboring heroically on this issue since June. 

We want the District to know that an open and constructive dialogue with parents and committed citizens is essential. Even "administrative" changes in a process can have a drastic impact on families and children. Had parents not gotten involved, this process would have moved forward with almost no input from those most critically impacted. 

Parents are an organized, committed and engaged partner in the education of our children. Parents United for Public Education is proud to be a partner with all the active parents and supporting groups in the district. Please email if you are interested in joining our November citywide meeting. 

Helen Gym, Parents United for Public Education

Leadership Collective: Helen Gym, Alison McDowell, Aissia Richardson, Paula Tavares, Rev. Brian Robinson, Ulrike Shapiro, Rev. LeRoi Simmons, Pat Toy, Rev. Paul Weeks, Gerald Wright, Irma Zamora 

Supporting Committee on High Schools: Pamela Blanding-Godbolt, Gretchen Cowell, Mara Natkins

Endorsing groups on high schools: AMY 5 James Martin HSA, Bache Martin HSA, Greenfield HSA, C.W. Henry HSA, Nebinger HSA, Overbrook Education Center HSA, Project Learn, E.M. Stanton parent group,  ACORN, Germantown Clergy Initiative, JUNTOS, Parent Leadership Academy, Parents United for Public Education, Philadelphia Home & School Council, Philadelphia Right to Ed Task Force.