Comprehensive Directory of Philadelphia Charter Schools

directory coverThe Philadelphia School District’s Charter School website is helpful, but the Directory of Philadelphia Charter Schools (PDF) published by the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition is much better. It contains a lot of great school data, including the mission of each school, demographic/test score data, contact information, and more. It also has special sections on cyber charter schools, a charter school FAQ, a checklist of things to look for when visiting a school, a charter school map, and more.


More On Language Immersion

After my post last week on language immersion programs in the area, an Independence Charter parent emailed me a list of resources on the philosophy of language immersion.  This list is from the Independence Charter website.

Recommended Websites

Research on language acquisition
Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL)
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)

Parent/teacher resources
Ñanduti: Foreign language learning for grades K-8 (run through CAL)
Contains section on learning benefits of early language acquisition.

Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)
A collection of newsletter articles, including “Immersion 101” and “Points for Parents.”

Additional parent resources are listed in the Parents section.

Specific articles
“Why Immersion?”
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition
“What Parents Want to Know About Foreign Language Immersion Programs”
Center for Applied Linguistics
“Homework in an Immersion Classroom: Parental Friend or Foe?”
Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition

MAPN Annual Kindergarten Discussion Group

The Mt. Airy Parents’ Network (MAPN) has been mentioned already on this blog. You should also be familiar with the group’s Annual Kindergarten Discussion Group. For three years, MAPN has sponsored a discussion group for families exploring their education options (despite the name, it’s not just limited to kindergarten discussions). Notices are usually posted on the MAPN discussion board in May, June, and July. Any interested member may join. The discussions take place via email usually between August and November. The direction that the group takes and how active it is depends totally on the make-up of the group. For example, the 2007 and 2009 groups were very active and busy, while the 2008 group really wasn’t. If you’re interested in learning more, please join the MAPN list or leave a comment on this post.

Best of luck!
Catherine Collins
MAPN Moderator & Co-founder

Great Resource: PhillySpeaks Forums

By Anonymous

I don’t know whether you ever get on (formerly phillyblog), but there seems to be a post at least every couple weeks about people dealing with school choice issues. Here are some recent discussion threads:

New Philly Teacher Contract Has Performance Incentives

The new teachers contract includes additional pay and pretty draconian measures for schools that aren’t up to snuff.  The Inquirer reports:

In schools targeted for the “Renaissance Program,” the entire staff can be forced to transfer out and only up to 50 percent rehired at the school by its new management. Teachers working in those schools, which are to be identified in the coming months, also will earn more Read the rest of this entry »

Another Argument for Going Local for Education

Back in one of my original posts, I wrote about how community is an important factor that my family is considering in our selection of a school.  It turns out that another Philadelphia blogger who writes about their public and private school experiences agrees.  Here’s what “A Very Public Education” has to say on the subject.

Great Resource: GreatSchools.Org

A great quick and dirty source for test score data is on  They free resource that helps parents evaluate schools for their kids.  They have a lot of great articles and resources on researching schools as well as general .  What I like the most is that they actually provide tools to evaluate schools. allows users to bookmark schools that they are considering for an easy-to-retrieve list.  Plus, they provide parents with maps, parent reviews, a school comparison tool, and school statistics like test scores, parent-teacher ratios, and ethnic breakdown.