September 7, 2016 |
When 130,000 students report to Philadelphia public-school classrooms Wednesday, they will be greeted by a novelty in city schools: brand-new textbooks. For the first time in years, the Philadelphia School District is providing fresh reading and math materials for students citywide. That $35 million investment is no small thing for the system routinely rocked by financial crises. "This is the most optimistic I've been since I've been superintendent," William R. Hite Jr. said of the 2016-17 school year.
August 17, 2016
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes made waves in 1977 with their hit record, "This Time It's For Real. " Superintendent William H. Hite Jr. may be humming a similar tune when Philadelphia schools open in three weeks. He's much more certain that the district won't have to beg for another large infusion of cash to make it through the school year. "While we continue to have work to do, the Philadelphia School District begins the 2016-17 school year more optimistic than we have been in years as we work toward our goal of great schools close to where children live," Hite told the Inquirer Editorial Board.
July 1, 2016 |
Philadelphia School Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. announced Wednesday that the School District had filled 99 percent of its teaching positions and was on target to have all filled by the start of the school year. "These classrooms are empty right now for the summer, but come September, they will be full of teachers," Hite said at a news conference at Roxborough High School. "Last year there were too many vacancies in our schools," he said. "We recognized the problem; we took action with an aggressive recruitment and hiring strategy.
March 12, 2016 |
, Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. pledged Thursday to have a full-time nurse and counselor in every Philadelphia district school next fall. But the plan, presented at a principals' meeting at Martin Luther King High School, is contingent on approval of Gov. Wolf's proposed 2016-17 budget. Wolf's $33.3 billion spending plan calls for a substantial increase in funding for schools, said Fernando Gallard, district spokesman. Republican leaders have said the budget has "no chance" of passing.
February 20, 2016 |
Does the new reality handed him this week by the state Supreme Court trouble William R. Hite Jr.? "Absolutely, I'm worried about what it means," the Philadelphia school superintendent said Thursday night of a court ruling this week striking down some of the special powers the School Reform Commission has used in times of crisis. "A lot of the tools that the governing body had have been removed. " The decision could affect how teachers are assigned, how schools are closed, and, most significant, how charter schools might grow.
December 22, 2015 |
Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. referred to a recent education bill passed by the Pennsylvania Senate as a "recipe for disaster. " That phrase also describes the School Reform Commission's decision to extend Hite's contract by five years, with two years remaining on the original. In a statement, SRC Chair Marjorie Neff said it was the right time to lock in Hite for the long term, lauding him for demonstrating "strong leadership through an extraordinarily difficult time. " I wonder if she feels the same about losing scores of superb classroom teachers who left to work somewhere they feel valued and respected, or the many more who retired because they couldn't take the conditions and mistreatment in the School District of Philadelphia anymore.
December 19, 2015 |
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted Thursday night to lock in William R. Hite Jr. as superintendent for five more years. Hite, who is paid $300,000 a year, is now under contract through August 2022. The vote was 4-0, with Chair Marge Neff absent. He will receive raises only if Philadelphia School District teachers do, and at the same rate. Teachers have been without a contract since August 2013. The superintendent has generally earned plaudits - Mayor Nutter said Thursday that "stability and sound leadership is precisely what the district needs to move forward and continue to make improvements in the quality of education it provides to our city's children," and praised Hite's leadership.
December 17, 2015
THERE ARE MANY GOOD reasons for the School Reform Commission to extend the contract of Superintendent William Hite for another five years, and we strongly recommend the SRC approve the extension at its meeting today . We can boil down all those reasons into six: * Continuity: Frequent turnover in leadership has been the bane of every urban district. The average life expectancy for a superintendent is a little over three years - and Philadelphia mirrors that fact. The names Hornbeck, Vallas and Ackerman come to mind.
December 15, 2015
ISSUE | MOSQUE ATTACK Sisters and brothers It was with profound sorrow that I read of the desecration of the sacred mosque of the Al Aqsa Islamic Society by a cowardly and ignorant person last week ("Pig's head left at N. Phila. mosque," Tuesday). I have attended interfaith worship services and been joyfully received as a guest at the breaking of the Ramadan fast there. I have personally experienced these folks to be among the best of humankind. Our world and city would be diminished were they not among us. It is our duty and our obligation to protect them and their sisters and brothers in the Muslim community.
December 14, 2015 |
In a town that loves pro football, most Philadelphians have learned over the years that you can't win the game without giving your best player the ball. That's what the School Reform Commission would be doing by extending Superintendent William R. Hite Jr.'s contract. The SRC plans to formally approve that extension when it meets Thursday. Any mistakes Hite has made since coming to Philadelphia from a suburban Washington school district in 2012 are far outweighed by the caliber of his performance in the midst of a fiscal firestorm, which has been exacerbated by the state legislature's inability to pass a budget.