We wanted to share with you some of our thoughts and our classmates' thoughts on the Renaissance List. As some may know, West Philadelphia High School is on the list. We think this is not a good idea for many reasons. We don't see the students coming to school for an hour longer and two Saturdays a month. There are more students going to drop out. They should not transfer teachers, because they really help students deal with problems at home. Our teachers are nice, and they know what they are doing. Momo and I are really excited for college. We are also very nevous, but we want to make sure that our high school is still the same place we left it. We loved being in Auto and do not want that program to go away.
Below are two lists of ideas from the junior class in the Auto Academy. A couple of the seniors ran a group filled of five to six juniors and asked the group two questions, "What are your concerns about West becoming a Renaissance school?" and "How would you create your ideal school?"
Momo and Khaleda
Concerns about West Philadelphia High School becoming a Renaissance school.
1. Will there be a raise in the drop out rate because students do not want to go to school longer or on Saturday?
2. Our trans-passes do not work on Saturdays, how will we get to school?
3. Who decides and what criteria will be used to pick the teachers that stay? When will that happen?
4. Due to the longer day, will the length of the classes change?
5. If we are a Renaissance school, what will our uniform look like?
6. Lack of motivation to stay longer and come to school on Saturdays
7. Is this a violation of student rights to not allow transfer?
8. What will the graduation date be for seniors and will that interrupt summer programs offered by college and universities?
9. Was the walk-through a formality for Arlene Ackerman and does the superintendent have personal ties to this school and the school district?
10. What is the response from the alumni of West?
11. What does the classroom size look like in a Renaissance school? How many new transfers will West receive since it is a community school and will that change the safety climate in the classroom?
12. Will colleges and universities not accept students from West because it is a Renaissance school with a negative tone?
13. There is not a clear standard for any aspect of a Renaissance school: longer school day, two Saturdays a month, teacher transfer? There is not a clear standard or criteria for anything about a Renaissance school.
14. What does a Promise Academy look like?
15. Are we really going to have 50% of our teachers back or will teachers decide to leave and close to 70 to 80 % of the staff will not be here?
16. Why the extra hour and not a complete change of the curriculum?
17. Why get rid of the teachers? What data supports that it is the teacher's fault for low test scores and poor climate?
1. Able to leave the building for lunch.
2. No uniforms
3. Art classes
4. Allow electronics
5. Upperclassmen receive laptops for the school year
6. More Outward Bound trips and field trips
7. No hall-passes needed
8. Rotating Block Roster
9. 7:45 am start to the day, 2:30 p.m. end of the day
10. More trade courses
11. Work rosters for upperclassmen
12. Trans-passes given to each student
13. More active science lab. We want to actually do experiments and dissections.
14. Early dismissal every Friday.
15. Better and more nutritious food in the cafeteria
16. Partnerships with local city universities