What is System of Great Schools?

System of Great Schools is a strategy to support our vision of a great school close to where every student lives. Each year, the district reviews performance at all schools, and based on this data, identifies a set of schools to prioritize for additional funding and resources to support schools in meeting their goals.

What are the potential outcomes of this process?

There are two ways schools can receive additional funding and support.

  • One way is a school could enter the Acceleration Network. All schools in the Acceleration Network follow the same approach to quickly improve the school. Schools in the Acceleration Network receive additional professional development during the summer and throughout the school year, smaller class sizes in grades K-1, teacher coaches and counselors.
  • A second way is a school could develop an Academic Improvement Plan (AIP). A school’s planning team made up of the school’s principal, leadership team, teachers, and parents/family members write the plan with support from the school’s Assistant Superintendent and central office. Plans are customized to the school’s needs and resources are chosen based on data.

In school year 2020/2021 an additional option was added in which schools receive added supports through the district’s initiative to prioritize schools performing off-track in alignment with district board goals and guardrails.

What changes will I see in my school?

Schools spend the year they are announced as an SGS school planning for the following year, so you may not see big changes right away. The school year after the announcement, you should see changes in the physical building as well as additional resources such as more staff, technology, and more challenging teaching.

How can I help?

We need everyone’s help to make our schools great – including you. We’d love to have you be a part of the progress. Consider joining the School Advisory Council (SAC) at your school if you’re not already involved. To get involved specifically with SGS, we invite you to attend school community meetings to learn about the process and current school conditions and attend focus groups to share thoughts and suggestions.

What role will the principal and school staff play?

This is a collaborative process and principals and teachers are a critical component. We will engage principals, teachers, and staff at the beginning of the process to better understand their current school situation and how they think their school can improve learning opportunities for children.

Who makes the decision on what will happen to my school?

Based on input from school communities, the Superintendent will make a recommendation. The active input of families, teachers, principals, and community members is critical to helping improve schools. We want school community members engaged from the start to better understand current school conditions and how best to rapidly improve learning opportunities for children.

Why can’t my school become a community school? 

The SGS process and the community school process are two separate things. Community schools provide necessary and important social and health-related support for students and communities.  But we also need to provide additional direct academic support in some of our schools to ensure all students are prepared for college and careers. The schools we are focusing on this year may apply to become community schools if they choose, but we must also identify the academic interventions needed so students can have the learning opportunities they deserve.

Why can’t you just give my school more money, more teachers?

The District is committed to improving these schools, and in many cases will be making additional investments in the school. It is important we work with school communities to determine which are the right investments to improve conditions for students. Simply adding money or people without a solid, evidence-based plan for academic improvement will not change student learning experiences.

What is a school quality review?

A school quality review provides on-the-ground information about how a school is doing on its most important functions including providing great instruction, supporting teachers through great leadership, and engaging successfully with school families. School quality reviews also provide families with the opportunity to share feedback on their experiences at the school and ideas for improving the school.

How can I get in contact with someone from the SGS team?

You can email us at SGS@philasd.org. You can also send us a message on our Contact page.

Where can I find data for my school?
School and District enrollment and select performance data are available on our interactive School Profile page.