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Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commision;
This study examines the potential for passenger rail service at the Philadelphia Zoo. The report includes a synthesis of previous planning studies, concepts for five future scenarios, and ridership forecasts using the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission's Regional Travel Demand Model.
Consortium for Policy Research in Education;
The report details a two-year exploratory, mixed-methods research study on the disciplinary practices and climate of schools serving Kâ8 students in the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). Findings reveal that SDP schools are making efforts to reduce suspensions and improve climate, but critical barriers to these efforts include resource limitations and philosophical misalignments between teachers and school leaders. The study identified three profiles among SDP schools serving Kâ8 students based on information about disciplinary practices and climate, and found that these profiles are predictive of suspension and academic outcomes. Students attending schools with collaborative climates and less punitive approaches to discipline have lower risk of being suspended and better academic outcomes. The report offers a series of recommendations for strengthening the implementation of climate initiatives, including Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), in challenging urban settings.
William Penn Foundation;
Summarizes an evaluation of the Culture Builds Communities initiative, conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work.
University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work;
Evaluation of the 1997 William Penn Foundation initiative, Culture Builds Community, which sought to link the foundation's commitments to urban communities and to the arts and culture in the Philadelphia region.
Nonprofit Finance Fund;
Analyzes the space and capacity building needs of the Philadelphia dance community. Prepared by AEA Consulting.
Research for Action;
In an era of high-stakes accountability, school leaders often face contradictory pressures as they strive to improve student performance. They must meet the federal mandate of NCLB for student achievement; at the same time, many believe that NCLB constrains their professional judgment about how to best teach and assess students in the context of their own schools. The case of Baker, a K-8 school in Philadelphia, is illustrative. The case study discusses the complicated choices school leaders made as they attempted to meet the needs of all students. As Baker implemented the school district's highly prescriptive approach to curriculum and instruction, using a Managed Instruction System, it struggled to maintain its progressive educational philosophy and 'best' practices. The school's pedagogical goals included: student-centered and project-based learning, teaching for life-long learning, performance-based assessments, and an emphasis on higher order thinking. Baker was a successful learning community for students and adults, whose significant accomplishments were obscured by the fact that it never had made AYP. If the U.S. Department of Education had permitted the state to use its valued-added growth model, the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment, as an alternative to the status achievement metric that focused on the percentage of proficient students, Baker would have made AYP in 2006-07, the last year of this research.
Research for Action;
Following the 2001 state takeover of the School District of Philadelphia, a new governance structure was established and an ambitious set of reforms went into effect, generating renewed public confidence in the district. Despite this, maintaining reform momentum continues to be difficult in Philadelphia. This can be traced to on-going challenges to civic capacity around education. Defined by Stone et al (2001), civic capacity involves collaboration and mobilization of the city's civic and community sectors to pursue the collective good of educational improvement. Using interviews conducted with over 65 local civic actors and district administrators, and case studies of local organizations involved with education, the authors examine civic capacity in the context of Philadelphia. The authors find that while many individuals and organizations are actively involved with the schools, there are several factors that present unique challenges to the development of civic capacity in Philadelphia. Despite these challenges, the authors conclude that there are many reasons to be optimistic and offer several recommendations for generating civic capacity -- the kind that creates and sustains genuine educational change.
In 1999, seeking to reduce Philadelphia's homicide rate and put youthful offenders on the path to a productive adulthood, various Philadelphia agencies and organizations, including Public/Private Ventures, partnered to form the Youth Violence Reduction Partnership (YVRP). The projects goal is to steer youth, ages 14 to 24 and at greatest risk of killing or being killed, toward productive lives through increased support and supervision. This report describes YVRP and presents early evidence the initiative may be reducing homicides.
This first issue in P/PV's In Brief series focuses on the Amachi program, which partners faith-based organizations with public agencies and nonprofit service providers to identify the children of prisoners and match them with caring adult volunteers.Amachi In Brief touches on the program's development and recruiting strategies, its early results and its expansion into new cities.
To determine the impact of the Summer Career Exploration Program (SCEP), a privately funded summer jobs program for low-income teens, P/PV examined the lives of over 1700 applicants. These youth were randomly assigned to participate or to not participate in SCEP in the summer of 1999, and their outcomes were compared at four and twelve months after program application. Researchers found that implementation was strong, but program impacts were less impressive. While SCEPs participants got summer jobs at a substantially higher rate (92%) than the control group (62%), the programs ability to translate this large and immediate summer employment impact into intermediate gains (in terms of future plans, college enrollment, work success, sense of self-efficacy or reduced criminal activity) proved to be negligible. Although impacts were short lived, the report concludes that SCEP and similar programs have an important place in the larger mosaic of supports, programs and opportunities for young people.