Mayor Parker outlines extended-day program for 25 district, charter schools

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — City officials have officially announced a pilot for year-round extended-day programs at 25 district and charter schools.

At first, the School District of Philadelphia said it would launch extended-day programs at 20 area schools. But Mayor Cherelle Parker announced at City Hall Thursday, that five charters were added to the list, bringing the total to 25.

Starting this fall, those schools – all elementary-level – would be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with academics, arts, and activities before and after the school day. Schools in the pilot would also be open during the spring and winter breaks and for six weeks in the summer.

But Mayor Parker wants to make it clear – while it may be her vision for the future, this does not mean classes will be in session literally all year round.

“It is not mandatory for students to participate,” she said. “We are not asking anything more of our incredibly hard-working educators.”

In a statement to KYW Newsradio, President-elect of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers Arthur Steinberg says its members were not consulted about this pilot, saying in part:

We have requested more information about the pilot and its potential impact on our members from Superintendent Watlington’s administration. As we await communication from the District, we intend to have more information to share with our members in the very near future.

The mayor’s education secretary said the program would not require changes to the teachers’ contract. Superintendent Tony Watlington says the district is working with its unions.

“We are not going to burn out or overburden our hard-working, well-supported teachers,” he said.

Parker wouldn’t get specific about the future of the program but assures the pilot is just phase one.

List of participating Charter Schools:

Belmont Charter School 
Northwood Charter School 
Pan American Charter School 
Mastery Pickett (6-8 only) 
Universal Creighton Charter School