Posted on February 5, 2024
Categories: News from SDP

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Dear School District of Philadelphia families,

Last week, the School District of Philadelphia received exciting news. Last Wednesday saw the release of the Education Recovery Scorecard – a report released by Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research and The Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University. This report researched the impact of the pandemic on student learning and the rate of recovery in school districts across 30 states, representing about 60% of the national school-going population.

According to the research, the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) is outpacing other large urban districts nationwide, and similar districts in Pennsylvania, in recovering from the pandemic. In math, Philadelphia students recovered nearly half a grade level of learning during the 2022-2023 school year. In reading, Philadelphia students recovered smaller gains over the same period. Here is how SDP compares:

  • Compared to other large urban districts nationwide:
    • In Math, compared to the largest and poorest of the participating urban Districts that take the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test, SDP is the fastest to come close to pre-pandemic Math achievement levels. The Los Angeles Unified School District was the next closest.
    • In Reading, SDP surpassed pre-pandemic reading levels and showed more growth than most other participating large urban districts from 2019 to 2023, and only Chicago Public Schools showed more growth.
  • Compared to similar districts in Pennsylvania:
    • In Math, SDP is closer to pre-pandemic achievement levels compared to the state and similar districts in PA (Pittsburgh Public Schools, Bethlehem Area School District, Erie Public Schools, Scranton School District, Wilkes-Barre Area School District).
    • In Reading, SDP is above pre-pandemic levels compared to the state and similar districts (Pittsburgh Public Schools, Bethlehem Area School District, Erie Public Schools, Scranton School District, Wilkes-Barre Area School District), which are still behind.

In addition, last week I was honored to deliver the first School District of Philadelphia State of Public Education address. The event offered a valuable opportunity for the School District and Board of Education to stand united with the City of Philadelphia, and publicly share the progress we’ve made, our strategies for further accelerating academic achievement, and a call to action to continue investing in Philadelphia’s children. If you missed the event, you can watch the recording here.

The data from the Education Recovery Scorecard proves that together, we are Accelerating Philly! Yet while we are celebrating this progress, as a community we still have a lot of work to do. We will continue to align our resources to further improve student outcomes and become the fastest improving, large urban school district in the nation. I ask for your continued support and partnership as we continue working to prepare every student to imagine and realize any future they desire.

In partnership,

Tony informal signature

Tony B. Watlington Sr., Ed.D.
The School District of Philadelphia