A Holiday Message from Superintendent Watlington
Dear School District of Philadelphia Families,
As the end of 2023 approaches, I think it is fitting to close the year by reflecting on the accomplishments and progress we’ve made as a community. From reducing the student dropout rate, increasing the number of students passing state tests while decreasing the number of students scoring at the lowest levels, and increasing student and teacher attendance — we are Accelerating Philly.
Our schools and students have accomplished some remarkable things this year. Here are just a few examples:
- T.M. Peirce School: opened a brand new building – the first school built in North Philadelphia within the last 50 years.
- Kensington High School: saw its students go to Nationals for SkillsUSA for the first time in District history.
- Marian Anderson (formerly Chester A. Arthur) Neighborhood Academy: named in T4 Education’s World’s Best School Prizes top 10 shortlist in the Supporting Healthy Lives category.
- George Washington High School: cheerleaders went to the Nationals competition.
- SLA Beeber Academy: launched its new Career and Technical Education program in K-12 Teaching.
- John S. Jenks Academy: launched a new International Baccalaureate program.
- Anna L. Lingelbach School: PSSA growth earned them a visit from the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
- Gloria Casarez Elementary School: launched a brand new Dual Language program.
In addition, U.S. News & World Report recently released the 2023-2024 Best High Schools and Best Middle and Elementary School rankings. High schools were evaluated based on state assessments, underserved student performance, college readiness and graduation rates, while middle and elementary schools were evaluated based on state assessments and publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Education. The following School District of Philadelphia schools were ranked both statewide and nationally:
- #1 high school in Pennsylvania and #33 nationally
- #1 middle school in Pennsylvania
- #3 high school in Pennsylvania and #238 nationally
- #13 high school in Pennsylvania and #551 nationally
- #29 high school in Pennsylvania and #995 nationally
- #25 middle school and #66 elementary school in Pennsylvania
- #36 middle school and #189 elementary school in Pennsylvania
- #49 elementary school in Pennsylvania
- #77 elementary school in Pennsylvania
I am profoundly proud of the achievements of the schools above and the progress that we are making across the board in Philadelphia. And I am optimistic as we look ahead to 2024. Together – every staff member, student and District family – we will continue to build on our progress in pursuit of an even brighter future.
Indeed, we have a lot to look forward to next year. Until then, I hope everyone will take advantage of the holiday break to spend quality time with loved ones, relax, enjoy things that bring you joy, eat delicious food, participate in traditions and have new experiences. Remember that all District schools and administrative offices will be closed from December 26 through January 1, 2024. Staff return on January 2 and students return on January 3. Let’s all come back renewed, ready to continue preparing our children to imagine and realize any future they desire.
Have a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year! In partnership,
Tony B. Watlington Sr., Ed.D.
The School District of Philadelphia