Paul Vallas talking to interested parents (KP)
Philly schools CEO Paul Vallas met with 34 parents in our home, last night. I'll post a more complete discussion over the weekend. As might be expected, Mr. Vallas deals mostly with district-wide issues, so that's where he spoke. With him were Linda Grobman, regional Superintendent, and Caren Trantas, Henry Principal, to fill in Henry-specific details. Some highlights:
- Vallas wants to turn more decision power over to schools with strong parent/community networks. For example, schools with strong school councils will have "broad latitude" in selecting new principals. Likewise, regional offices that "have their act together" will have more autonomy - the Northwest Region under Linda Grobman is an example of such a together region.
- The Mastery Charter High School (originally High Tech High) folks are proposing additional Mastery schools, including at Pickett Middle School in Germtanown.
- Vallas is working to restore foreign language classes in all high schools, eventually requiring Mandarin Chinese and Spanish, with school options for up to two other languages. Current budget constraints won't allow foreign language classes in all schools, but Vallas is encouraging language opportunities by funding less expensive after school clubs focusing on foreign languages.
- Vallas is working to recruit more of the 10,000 annual graduates of Pennsylvania's colleges of education to serve as student teachers, interns, and full-fledged teachers into Philly schools. Part of this goal is to have such student teachers/interns/volunteers in every classroom, effectively cutting student-to-teacher ratios in half across the district.