Two bits on the education front
For-profit Victory Schools, which manages six schools in the city, is converting FitzSimons High - a traditional, albeit underachieving, school in North Philadelphia - to a 750-student boys school, to be known as the Young Men's Leadership Academy, for grades 6 through 11. A 12th grade is to be added in the fall of 2006.There are other plans for gender-segregated schools as well. Again, not something that everyone will be excited about, but prospects for reaching a group of students that aren't being well served by the current system.
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"We'll be able to personalize our education to that population. Everything we do, everything we walk, talk, sleep and drink is all about African American boys, to save a nation of kids who are being lost," said Benjamin Wright, who runs Victory's Philadelphia operation.
Also in September, the company will convert nearby Rhodes High to a girls' school, Young Women's Leadership Academy, offering a similar intensive focus. It will be the city's second girls school, along with Philadelphia High School for Girls, a magnet school. Victory also will run single-sex classes in two of its three elementary schools and its middle school.
Meantime, Mayor Street is continuing the battle to get Philadelphia's schools back under the city's care and away from state control. However, extra money continues to come into the system from state coffers, and many worry about a disruption to the progress of recent years, so the time may not yet be quite right.