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Philly School District Embraces the Weeds

It has been years since the first neighbor on the 2000 block of Margaret Street came to the Frankford Civic Association meeting and complained about the maintenance of the Harding Middle School property on the Margaret Street side.

The School District mows the grass and keeps the weeds off the sidewalk on the property near the school but on that big section of the property closest to Margaret Street, it looks like a dump.  On the Ditman Street side you can barely walk on the sidewalk for the weeds that block the passage.  On the Margaret side, passersby are greeted by weeds on the lot that are three feet high or more.

In August when the neighbors on Margaret Street had a block party they cut the weeds on the lot closest to Margaret in order to make it look a little better.  They have made numerous complaints to 311 and nothing changes.

The most recent 311 case number was 10879517.  According to 311 records, an inspection was made on August 31st and a violation notice was issued.  A re-inspection was made on September 13th where no improvement was noted.  An inspection was made on September 23rd and the case was closed.  This would indicate that the problem was resolved however as you can see from the video below that these weeds did not grow this high in the last 2 weeks.

Do you think this would go on if this was private property?


When we finished the draft of this story we sent it over to the School District for comment and got an email back on Wednesday from Kevin Geary, Chief of External Relations who said ”

Thank you for sending this. We were closed yesterday due to the Jewish new year.

We will clear sidewalk and cut field today. Our field attendant has been out sick for 4 weeks…

Background: Our field attendant has been out sick for 4 weeks. Our supervisor should have caught and shifted resources but did not.

We went out to have a look on Saturday and true to his word, well take a look at the video below.

In Spring we’ll check back to see if is being maintained.  Thanks Kevin Geary for your help.

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String Theory Schools Teach Students to Perform on the Stage of Life!

Education is vital to our children to achieve their dreams and a meaningful life! We know that our educational system today is in great turmoil as we try to figure out the best way that children learn. Our ultimate goal has to be instilling a love of learning that lasts for a lifetime that affects all aspects of our lives.

Photo couresy of Alexander Iziliaev

The School District of Philadelphia identified our local H.R. Edmunds School at 1197 Haworth St. as a “Renaissance School”. By this identification, the School District acknowledges that Edmunds has been one of the lowest performing schools, thus, the School District wants to “bring about a dramatic improvement in student achievement”. 1 There are several organizations that specialize in turning around schools. So, the task becomes finding the right match for H.R. Edmunds. With input from Edmunds’ School Advisory Council, the School District decides which organization will take over management of the school. One of our contributor’s, Lea Pfeiffer, and her daughter, visited the String Theory Schools and presented their opinions about their visit to the School Reform Commission meeting in April, 2012. Lea has shared a copy of her remarks with us and we are sharing some of them with you here. Lea said, “It was what I saw, far more than what I was told, that convinced me String Theory was the best choice. I saw the compassion, respect and love that they have for every child….It was this passion and compassion that convinced me that String Theory will not stop until our students are able to achieve and succeed…”  That passion is what makes String Theory Schools believe that they will make a difference at H.R. Edmunds and help every student achieve. The School District announced that String Theory Schools, a Non-for-Profit Education Management company, was awarded the contract to take over Edmunds Elementary.

We have reached out to String Theory Schools and we would like to share with you their vision, in their words, of exciting changes that will be taking place this coming school year. “When the students return from summer recess, they will be walking through the front doors of the new Charter School for the Arts and Sciences at H.R. Edmunds, under the leadership of String Theory Schools, an education management company, whose flagship model is the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School. Performing Arts is one of the most successful charter schools in the city of Philadelphia with 11 years of academic excellence.

On June 5th,  H.R. Edmunds hosted students from Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School, who presented excerpts from their spring concert at the Kimmel Center, which included orchestral selections, ballet, and choral music.

Courtesy of Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School

String Theory Schools is being recognized locally and nationally for its STEM+ Arts (STEAM) educational model, which encourages the collaboration of the arts (performing, visual, and literary) with the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

The new Charter School for the Arts and Sciences at H.R. Edmunds will feature an engaging, art-infused curriculum with a strong focus on academic excellence. Every student in grades Kindergarten through fifth will be given a violin and taught to play. Each young student will also study ballet, vocal music, and visual arts. Science Lab, French language, and the art of creative writing will also be included in the curriculum. In grades sixth through eighth, students have the opportunity to choose to major in either academic or arts subjects. Students will spend 90 minutes each morning on their selected major. Majors include: Creative Writing, Innovations in Science, French, Ballet, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, and Visual Arts.” 2

All current Edmunds’ families must enroll their children (including incoming Kindergarten children) to attend the Charter School for the Arts and Sciences at H.R. Edmunds in September, 2012. Packets were sent home with all currently enrolled students. Please see the flyer below for more information!

We wish all involved in this effort much success in the coming year!


  1. Renaissance Schools
  2. Angela Corosanite, CEO of String Theory Schools
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The Mayor Has Spoken! What Do You Think?

Tonight, Mayor Nutter addressed the citizens of Philadelphia regarding the $645 million deficit in the School District’s budget for the 2011-2012 school year. Listen to his address here. Because you are reading this, we know you are concerned, too! What do you think?

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It All Adds Up For Frankford High School Math Teacher!

Here at the Frankford Gazette, we applaud all those who choose to teach! Dedicated teachers are inspiring dreams and shaping the future! We would like to especially congratulate Mr. Linwood Stevens, a Math Teacher at Frankford High School, who was one of the recipients of the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The Lindbacks wanted to promote teaching excellence so they established a foundation which awards distinguished teachers in our area. Mr. Stevens received his award on May 10, 2011. Perhaps some of our readers are familiar with Mr. Stevens. We would love to hear from you!

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Are You Concerned About School District Budget Cuts and Your Child’s Education Future?

If you are a loyal reader, you are knowledgeable about Frankford and current events. Across the country, funding for schools is decreasing dramatically. The School District of Philadelphia has released its budget for the 2011-2012 School Year. You can read the Budget in Brief. This budget reflects a loss of $600 million or, roughly, 20% of the School District’s budget. Here is an article about the first budget hearing at Meredith School. To be fair, we at the Frankford Gazette will give you both sides of an issue. Just as school districts are preparing bare bones budgets throughout the commonwealth, PA Department of Revenue has projected an April surplus of $506 million in its collections, more than 6 times what was projected. This may help to ease some of the drastic cuts.

However, parents need to demand a top-rate education for their children and they need to express their desires at one of the upcoming community budget meetings – see the flyers below! We have encouraged all parents to get involved in their child’s school and to ensure that their child gets the education they are deserving of – it’s the greatest, greatest gift you can give your child! Education enables and empowers us to reach our potential and fulfill our dreams! Isn’t this our greatest wish for our children? Plan to attend a meeting – take your friends!