ABOVE PHOTO: SDP Superintendent Tony B. Watlington (Photos/SDP)
Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Ed.D. has announced a transition team as phase two of his three-phase approach to laying a strong foundation to improve outcomes for all students and achieve the Board’s “Goals and Guardrails” initiative. Phase one “Listening and Learning” sessions, together with the output from the transition team, will inform phase three, the development of a new strategic plan for the School District of Philadelphia.
“Through this transition team, I am intentionally bringing more than 80 members of the Philadelphia community, including Philadelphia parents, teachers, principals, unions, educational, city, business, non-profit and grassroots leaders and SDP staff, together with non-SDP educational and industry leaders to discuss complex issues that will help me assess five specific areas of the School District of Philadelphia,” Watlington said. “I am excited about the work that is well underway and the work on the horizon toward our collective goal of improving outcomes for all of our diverse learners and achieving the Board of Education’s “Goals and Guardrails.””
A transition team is an organized approach, composed of a group of local and national education and industry leaders who assemble in sub-committees to address specific education challenges. The team will review trend data and apply research and best practices to provide short-term and long-term recommendations for progress in those areas.
The transition team will be co-chaired by two respected Philadelphia leaders:
• Andrea Custis, president & CEO of the Urban League of Philadelphia
• Dr. Guy Generals, president of the Community College of Philadelphia
There are five sub-committees, co-led by an SDP leader and a non-SDP education or industry leader with expertise in that specific area of work, all of which are aligned to the areas outlined in the “100-Day Priorities.”
The Student Achievement sub-committee will work to advance learning opportunities, especially for students who have not yet achieved the level of success needed to access meaningful career and college opportunities, and be led by:
• Dr. Sheila Brown, former deputy superintendent, Boston Public Schools
• Dr. Malika Savoy-Brooks, Chief Academic Officer, SDP
The Operations sub-committee will assess the current status of organizational, and logistical operations crucial to the effective day-to-day functioning and success of SDP, and also consider organizational capacity to recruit, onboard, develop, energize, recognize, reward and retain top talent, and be led by:
• Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr., former superintendent, New Orleans Public Schools
• Uri Monson, Chief Financial Officer, SDP
Note: a special advisor will bring business and industry expertise to this sub-committee.
The Anti-Racist District Culture sub-committee will investigate and consider elements that impact an anti-racist school culture and teaching environment, both positive and negative, and factors which impede progress, and be led by:
• Dr. Camika Royal, associate professor of urban education, Loyola University
• Dr. Sabriya Jubilee, chief of the office of diversity, equity, inclusion, SDP
The Community Engagement and Communications sub-committee will provide information that will strengthen community engagement in support of our students and their families, and be led by:
• Dr. James Earl Davis, interim dean, School of Education, Temple University
• Kathryn Block, Chief of Communications, SDP
The Enriching and Well-Rounded School Experiences sub-committee will explore the extent to which the District is providing a well-rounded education that affords students many opportunities for enrichment, exploration and talent development, and be led by:
• Dr. Andrea Kane, professor of Practice, University of Pennsylvania
• Dr. Evelyn Nuñez, Chief Schools Officer, SDP
Each sub-committee will have members consisting of Philadelphia parents, teachers, principals, unions, city, business, non-profit and grassroots leaders and SDP staff. The work will span several weeks, with each committee generating findings and recommendations that will be shared in a comprehensive report to the Board of Education and the public this fall and will inform the third phase of Superintendent Watlington’s approach, which is the development of a strategic plan in Spring 2023.
In order to ensure focus and coherence, Dr. Shawn Joseph (a former Met Life “Principal of the Year” in Maryland, former superintendent and co-director of the American Association of School Administrators (AASA)/Howard University Urban Superintendent Academy), and Dr. Elizabeth (Betty) Molina Morgan (who has extensive background working in urban schools and was the American Association of School Administrators’ 2010 “National Superintendent of the Year”) will provide facilitation support for the many people involved across all three phases of this important work.
More information about the transition team, as well the list of sub-committee members, is available at: www.philasd.org/100days via the “Transition Team” button.