Hearings will champion voices from school communities with a shared vision of growth for the City’s schools
PHILADELPHIA — Today, Councilmember Helen Gym (At-Large) announced City Council will hold hearings on the search and hiring process of the next Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia. The hearings will supplement the School Board’s community hearings and solicit the perspectives and experiences of families, students, teachers, and support staff – voices essential to shaping the future of Philadelphia’s public schools.
“This is an opportunity to start a new era for our schools and our city, led by the voices of people who have been moving our district toward growth and inclusion and away from disinvestment and neglect,” said Councilmember Gym, Chair of the Committee on Children and Youth. “A robust process that centers the voices of our city’s children, parents, teachers, and support staff — those who walk the halls of our schools each and every day — will ensure we select a leader who shares our transformative vision for public education and works to implement it in partnership with us all. These hearings will provide a critical forum for our community, and to ensure their voices are heard throughout the search process.”
“The valuable perspectives of our school communities must be at the center of the search for the next School District of Philadelphia Superintendent,” said Councilmember Jamie Gauthier (3rd District). “City Council hearings will allow the District to hear directly from Philadelphians about the vision they have for their public schools, and the qualities that are most important in our next Superintendent. I’m grateful to Councilmember Gym for her leadership, and for always being a champion of Philadelphia’s children and families.”
“For the next Superintendent to start from a position of trust, the District must engage with our school communities in every step of the search process,” said Katey McGrath, public school parent and former Chair of the Board of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook. “These hearings will provide an essential outlet for students, educators, and historically marginalized voices to share their vision for the future of our schools. Framing our search through these perspectives will ensure the District selects a leader who will be a true partner in building a more equitable district.”
City Council hearings will reinforce the District’s responsibility to publicly engage communities in meaningful conversation about the future of the city’s schools. These hearings will specifically highlight underrepresented voices and address long term racial inequities which have deepened over the last decade. They will also ensure the experiences of school communities ground the District’s search for new leadership.
“There is no shortage of challenges facing our schools. The incoming Superintendent must have the experiences and skills needed to deliver on the promise of quality public education for every student in every zip code,” said Councilmember Kendra Brooks (At-Large). “These hearings recognize that staff, students, families, and educators know best what those qualities look like due to firsthand experience, and that they must play a key role in shaping the future of public education in Philadelphia. I commend Councilmember Gym for ensuring that the voices of our school communities are heard as the search for the next Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia commences.”
“At best, the existing relationship between our community and the school district is weak, and at worst, badly fractured,” said POWER Leader Rochelle Nichols-Solomon. “Meaningful engagement in helping to shape and participate in the hiring process could, in the short run, actually help us attract a great person, and in the long run, contribute to a much needed healthier school and community relationship in this city.”
“We all have a role to play in our children’s future, beginning with the learning environment in which we place them and to whom we entrust them to teach and guide them in those environments. Therefore, it’s only fitting that the integral voices of parents, caregivers, teachers, and school administrators are heard in the process to identify a new Superintendent for the School District of Philadelphia. I support my colleague, Councilmember Gym’s, resolution on this matter and look forward to seeing the hiring process play out in a manner that accurately and thoroughly reflects the community in which our students should grow and thrive,” said Councilmember Derek S. Green (At-Large).
Hearings will be held this fall in a joint committee of Children and Youth and Education. The resolution is co-sponsored by Kendra Brooks (At-Large), Allan Domb (At-Large), Jamie Gauthier (3rd District), Derek Green (At-Large), Bobby Henon (6th District), Kenyatta Johnson (2nd District), Curtis Jones, Jr. (4th District), and Isaiah Thomas (At-Large).