Tomorrow is the First Day of School Board

Today is the last day of existence for the School Reform Commission, which was created 17 years ago by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to oversee the School District of Philadelphia and to try to get it back on solid operational and financial footing.  Tomorrow, a nine-person locally appointed board, the Philadelphia Board of Education, takes over the role of overseeing the School District, an enterprise that serves 203,000 children and has a $3.2 billion budget.

I am one of those nine lucky people to serve on the School Board.  It is the public service opportunity of a lifetime, and my fellow board members and I are up for the moment even if we are sobered by the magnitude of the challenge ahead of us.

One thing that has buoyed us up as we have prepared to govern, in addition to the tireless efforts of so many people who walked us through hours and hours of orientation, is the enthusiastic engagement of people and organizations throughout the city of Philadelphia.  Parents, neighbors, teachers, principals, community advocates, spiritual heads, corporate execs, and non-profit leaders alike have taken the time to speak to us, educate us, encourage us, and yell at us.  We receive it all in the spirit that it has been offered, which is that the School District and each child and each neighborhood matters and is worth fighting for and giving our all to.

By the grace of God, and with some first-day jitters dancing in my stomach, I step into this role.  Wish me well!

PS Here's more info on us if you are interested:

About the School Board

Summary of things we learned from our listening sessions earlier this year

Agenda for first meeting on July 9

List of resolutions we will be acting on at our first meeting

No comments: