Posted on June 20, 2023
Categories: Operations

Dear School District of Philadelphia Community,

The District’s Operations team has a full summer of work planned to improve and maintain our facilities in preparation for our return to classrooms in September, and to support the seasonal learners occupying our buildings in the next three months.

In Operations, we work under the mindset: “Be brilliant in the basics.” This means every day we work to support students and staff in the District by being grounded in policy, working as a team, planning for what we can anticipate and adapting to the unexpected. Each school year brings new lessons and opportunities, and we are using what we have learned throughout the year, during our summer work.

Though we call this a summer break, many of our buildings will be bustling. Food Services is ready to make breakfast and lunch available daily for 18,780 students enrolled in 140 programs in 108 district buildings. Transportation Services is also gearing up to transport students to and from school. We are creating route tiers to maximize resources and efficiency and preparing fare card delivery to schools.

With more than half our buildings largely unoccupied in the summer, Operations is maximizing our opportunity to make necessary repairs and improvements. We are delighted to have dozens of projects planned to enhance learning environments, including the addition or upgrade of air conditioning systems in 20 schools. We have several major projects expected to be substantially completed, including roof replacement at Anna B. Day, HVAC replacements at Lewis Elkin and Wright, and other school projects including window, door and modular renovations.

The District’s environmental challenges have come into sharper focus in the past several months, as the increased cadence of asbestos inspections enabled the Office of Environmental Management & Services (OEMS) to more readily identify areas of concern. As we enter the summer months, nearly all 293 facilities in the District’s asbestos management program have completed their rigorous 3-year inspections, and six-month check-ins are underway. Repairs and inspections will continue throughout the summer, as they do through the regular school year.

Support for the Frankford High School and Mitchell Elementary communities will be a top priority this summer, as we work to identify and prepare suitable swing spaces while developing a comprehensive plan to address concerns.

Gymnasiums across the District are getting a special look this summer as we begin a program to remove asbestos pipe wrap from gyms. Though not damaged, replacing this wrap with fiberglass and PVC will prevent the wrap from becoming a future issue. That work is planned for  Batram, Catherine, Dobson, Henry, Kirkbride, Patterson, Pennell, and Martha Washington.

OEMS is also planning stabilization of lead based paints at several locations including Beeber, Building 21, Conwell, Frankford Field House, Harding, Roxborough, Spring Garden, and Tilden.  In addition to the above active lead based paint projects, lead paint assessments are planned for Ethan Allen, Bartram, Kensington High School, and Sullivan.

And – refreshing news in the heat of summer – we anticipate implementation of the grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the installation of hydration stations and testing of water for lead content, further bolstering the existing lead in water program currently in operation at the District.

The Operations team is dedicated to maximizing the summer so our children and staff return in September to healthy, welcoming learning environments. Have a great summer!

The School District of Philadelphia
Division of Operations