New school year, new fancy school building

    The new Willard Elementary School in Kensington cost $30 million.

    School is once again in session in most districts in the region including Philadelphia.

    Philadelphia Superintendent Arlene Ackerman escorts Shermya Ancrum-Brown

    The opening bell was hand-rung at the Willard Elementary School in Kensington, a $30 million facility that Superintendent Arlene Ackerman says has been in the planning stages for three decades.

    “The beginning of the school year is a new start, not only for the teachers the students all of us.”

    Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Head Jerry Jordan says there’s no comparing the new facility to the old Willard School.

    “It was an old building it was overcrowded, teachers were teaching everywhere even in a hallway on the first floor.”

    But even with an new building there was still the old separation anxiety between parent Arvilla Holiday and her first grade son Robert.

    “He’s not happy about to end the summer so fast but it’s time and I’m ready anyway (laughs).”

    Seven under-performing schools where converted to charter schools and six more have had their staffs overhauled as part of Philadelphia’s promise academy program.

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