dance instruction: Philadelphia Metropolis
With the fall semester underway, reporter Connie Langland visited two Philadelphia high schools to take a measure of how the schools and teachers were doing early in the semester. The two schools -- University City and Gratz -- have undergone major changes in recent years, each taking a different approach to the same end: improving student performance. The story opens with a day in the life of UC teacher A.J. Schiera.
A new school year is underway in Philadelphia and we sent reporter Connie Langland to oberve the work of two teachers at two different schools. Gratz High School is a former public school that was turned into a charter school by the district. JacQueline Palmer has taught there for three years -- both before and after the change was made. We look into the classroom of Palmer to get an insight into the everyday life of a teacher in an urban school.....
Olney High School was a troubled school: plagued with suspensions, fights, chronic absenteeism and dismal performance in math and reading. Then, the school district asked the Latino educational group Aspira to take over the school this year with a goal of turning a failure into a success story. Reporter Connie Langland has spent weeks at Olney and offers this special report from the front lines.
By Kathleen Skirkie»
He asked me to be on time when I set up the appointment, and to call for instructions on how to enter his home when I arrived. I thought: How did he know I was perpetually late? Why couldn't I just knock loudly on the door like I had been trained to do at every other client's home? I told him I would be there at 2 p.m. I was new to my job and wanted to be on time. I did got a little lost on the way to his ancient home in Mount Airy, but somehow managed to park in front of his house with one minute to spare.
I followed his orders and called, feeling his eyes on me from the third-story window. He answered, and instructed me to lift a small soiled flowerpot on the creaky wooden porch to find a key. His home was dark, damp and desolate. It was
Just a year ago, John B. Stetson Middle School was in deep trouble. Assaults. Suspensions. Disruptions. Its students among the lowest performing in the city. Labeled "persistently dangerous."
The School District of Philadelphia acknowledged as much - and turned over the keys of the mostly Latino school to a charter group, ASPIRA of Pennsylvania. Stetson was a problem child in need of reform school, and that's what it got - reforms and renovations that stretched from fresh paint and new desks to a longer work day for teachers to a strictly enforced code of conduct for students.