As the new school year approaches, parents and community members concerned about the cap on new students in the lower grades of the Penn Alexander School (4209 Spruce St.) have started an online petition asking that all school-age children living in the school’s catchment area be admitted.
The petition follows a letter sent by the Spruce Hill Community Association to University of Pennsylvania officials last month asking the university, which manages the school in cooperation with the School District of Philadelphia, to address the cap. Options recommended for investigation include erecting temporary classrooms and moving students from the middle school grades, where classes are sometimes under-enrolled, to a different building.
The group circulating the petition, Advocates for Great Elementary Education Everywhere (AGREE) West Philly, asks Penn President Amy Gutmann, School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and Penn Alexander Principal Sheila Sydnor to “work collaboratively, and in a timely manner, with concerned community members to find a viable solution to PAS’s overcrowding problem.”
School officials have said that the K-8 school, which since its opening has pledged to maintain a lower-than-required student-teacher ratio, is overflowing with students in the lower grades. New Penn Alexander students begin to register on Monday (August 15), which will be the first indication of how many will be affected by the cap.