Mayor Parker says 25 Philadelphia schools will pilot ‘extended day, extended year’ program

The voluntary program is designed to give students additional help and tutoring when an extended break results in educational regression.

Cherelle Parker speaking at a podium

Mayor Cherelle Parker announced the schools participating in the year-round school pilot program at City Hall, June 27, 2024. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

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Five charter schools are joining the 20 Philadelphia public schools that will offer extra educational opportunities for students beginning in the fall. Mayor Cherelle Parker said the goal is to provide students and parents with a brand-new opportunity.

“We will be working with principals and families in the pilot schools to find the enrichment programs that support the learning and are of interest to students and families,” Parker said at Thursday morning’s announcement at City Hall.

“The schools will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., including during winter and spring breaks to accommodate families that don’t have childcare available,” she said. The extra hours will be offered five days a week throughout the school year and for six weeks during the summer.

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Penny Nixon, head of the Universal Charter Schools, said the expanded opportunities for young people will help in their quest for excellence.

“This new initiative would allow us to provide academic enrichment rather than having scholars wait in the auditorium or lunchroom until the school day officially starts,” Nixon said.

Debora Carrera, the city’s chief education officer, stressed that participation will be voluntary, and the programs will be offered to enhance the educational process.

“We are not doing things to people. We’re not doing things for people. We have to build with people,” Carrera said. “Students will have access to an evidence-based academic support program through external partners.”

Mayor Parker said they will look at the return on investment after a year to see if the program will proceed.

The district schools participating include:

  • Vare-Washington Elementary School
  • Southwark Elementary School
  • Thomas G. Morton Elementary School
  • George Childs Elementary School
  • Add B Anderson Elementary School
  • Alain Locke Elementary School
  • Samuel Gompers Elementary School
  • Overbrook Educational Center
  • Richard R. Wright Elementary School
  • Solomon Solis-Cohen Elementary School
  • John H. Webster Elementary School
  • Juniata Park Academy
  • William Cramp Elementary School
  • Thomas M. Pierce Elementary School
  • Joseph Pennell Elementary School
  • Franklin S. Edmonds Elementary School
  • Laura Carnell Elementary School
  • Louis Farrell Elementary School
  • Joseph Greenberg Elementary School

The participating charter schools include:

  • Belmont Charter School
  • Northwood Charter School
  • Pan American Charter School
  • Mastery Pickett (grades 6 to 8 only)
  • Universal Creighton Charter School

The funds for the experiment will come from a partnership between the city and the School District of Philadelphia.

The programming will be provided by what the city calls “trusted partners” with existing relationships with the schools. It will not require any changes to union agreements.

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Each school will have enrichment programs determined by the individual institution and based on the needs and interests of the particular school community.

The pilot will not impact the district’s current out-of-school time programs.

Superintendent Tony Watlington believes the number of schools will grow in the near future.

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