SIGN UP TODAY: Community Schools Ambassador Program

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The Community Schools Ambassador Program is designed for parents, students, community members, principals, teachers, and other school staff who are involved in district public schools.

Would you like your public school to offer more of the following?

  • Opportunities for challenging, culturally relevant and hands-on academic learning in and beyond the classroom that are available before, during and after school?
  • Positive discipline and behavior programs that promote healthier school climate and safety?
  • School based health and wellness services for students, families and community members?
  • GED programs, work placement, and career training programs?
  • School based resources that help families in need to access benefits for food, housing, childcare and utilities?
  • Supports for families of English Language Learners?
  • A place where young people, families and neighbors can connect and enjoy programs together beyond the school day and on weekends, and work together to build a stronger and healthier community?
  • A new staff position whose role is to coordinate these programs and services?


Would you like to be part of helping to design a Community Schools Model that works for your school and neighborhood?

You will leave the program with:

  • Surveying and planning tools and other Community Schools resources to help your school community to identify needs and actionable solutions and organizational partners, using the Community Schools framework.
  • Skills and tools to advocate for and promote your school, and the Community Schools model.
  • An expanded network of people who are committed to strengthening their public schools and communities.
  • A small budget, if needed, for hosting school community engagement events.

The pilot program will run from October 2015 to January 2016. We are asking participants to commit to a monthly 2-hour workshop as well as an additional 5-7 hours per month putting the workshop tools into practice with your community.


To sign up for the Community Schools Ambassador program fill out this short informational questionnaire online, by October 9th, 2015:

If you have questions or prefer to sign up by email or phone, please contact the Community Schools Task Force Co-Chairs, Rebekah Phillips: 215-913-7167, and Evette Jones

 We will follow up with you by October 14th.

 Questions & Answers

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Q: What is a community school?

A: Community Schools are public schools designed as neighborhood hubs for academic learning, enrichment, programs for families and communities that extend beyond the school day, and health and social services. You can learn more here: Coalition for Community Schools


Q: How does this affect my child’s academic development?

A: Community Schools promote academic excellence and build stronger neighborhoods. This model has improved student academic outcomes and re-investment in attending in urban schools across the country, including Cincinnati, Portland, New York City and Baltimore.

Community Schools also open their doors to partnerships that help students to embark on real-world projects, internships, and other learning opportunities outside the school building.

You can learn more here: Community Schools Research

Q: How will Community Schools help with staffing and funding issues in Philadelphia?

A: Though these partnerships will not solve the School District’s budget crisis, they will enable schools to do more with the little they have and to engage their surrounding communities in the development of meaningful solutions and a renewed vision for public education, while continuing to advocate for full funding for all public schools. Community Schools are meant to complement the work of existing staff, not to replace them or to add more responsibilities on top of their existing workload.

Q: Who is in charge of this program?

A: The Community Schools Task Force of the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) is hosting the Ambassador program. The Task Force is a collaborative working group that is open to all interested parents, teachers and advocates for full-scale Community Schools in Philadelphia.

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Taking it to Comcast – Pay your share, fund the schools


A hundred people rallied at City Hall, marched to Comcast and delivered a message demanding technology funding for public schools and expanded internet access. Pictures from the immortal Harvey Finkle

and these from Ben Sears

And these from TWU234’s Ralph Branch

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back to school

Join with PFT members, students and parents.

• Tuesday, 9-8. 3:30 pm Lincoln High School , 3201 Ryan Ave.

• Wednesday, 9-9, 7:45am, Cramp Elementary School, 3449 N. Mascher St.

And don’t forget…

 MAKE COMCAST PAY ITS FAIR SHARE AND FUND OUR SCHOOLS FRIDAY, 9-11 Gather at City Hall at 4:00PM, March to Comcast tower for rally 

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Solidarity With Dyett Hunger Strikers!


As the hunger strike to save Dyett High School from closure and reopen it as a community school enters it’s third week, we want to appeal to education justice supporters in Philadelphia and elsewhere to demonstrate support on social media. Following the SRC’s cancellation of the PFT contract, hundreds of people posted “solidarity selfies” on our website and on FB and Twitter. We want to mount a similar effort in support of the hunger strikers as they travel to Washington to ask the Secretary of Education “to do the right thing.”

Some suggested slogans:

Use hashtag #FightForDyett

From Philadelphia to Chicago
School Closures punish poor families of color

Fight for Community Schools, the schools our children deserve

Chester Upland, Philadelphia, Chicago
Same struggle, same fight

Closure and privatization not the answer
Sustainable Community Schools Now!

Hey Rahm and Arne
Black Lives Matter



Please share your solidarity selfie with PCAPS via our FB page or email it to us and we will post them all on our website.


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Our schools, once again, are opening with uncertain funding and without the resources to offer all children a quality education.   One front in the struggle is getting corporations to pay their fair share.   In Philadelphia that fight is now centered on COMCAST which has made huge profits from it’s cable franchise while avoiding paying millions in  school property taxes, thanks to tax abatements.

Comcast’s 15 year franchise is up for renewal this year and  CAP-COMCAST, a city wide coalition that includes PCAPS,  is fighting for an agreement that will include up to 35 million dollars in funding for a school technology teacher in every school and computer access for all students.   We are asking the Mayor and City Council to endorse this demand.   And we are asking parents, school workers, students and the whole community to support this fight.




Friday, September 11th

Rally at City Hall, 4:00 pm

March to Comcast Tower, 17th and JFK

MMP_CAPComcast_Logo_WEBPCAPS logo revised

flyer available here

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PCAPS Planning First Week of School Actions

back to school

Philadelphia schools will open in several weeks, that much seems certain. But, once again, adequate funding is uncertain and we are a long way from creating the kind of schools our children deserve.

WE NEED A STATE BUDGET TO FULLY AND FAIRLY FUND EDUCATION. The School District is counting on a major infusion of revenue from the state that could restore many of the cuts made during the Corbett years. Governor Wolf has proposed a budget that includes new revenue for schools coming from an extraction tax on oil and gas drilling and increasing both the income and sales tax with protections for low income resident and property tax relief for local communities. But the Tea Party Republicans want another Corbett style budget that would starve education and human services. We need to do everything we can to support the Governor and move enough Republican legislators to get his budget passed.

WE NEED COMCAST TO PAY ITS FAIR SHARE The Comcast corporation has received generous tax abatements and avoided paying school property taxes for years. Now they need to renew their franchise agreement with the city that gives them a near monopoly position. A broad coalition is demanding the City make dedicated funding for school technology and staffing part of the agreement, something that could raise 35 million dollars a year for the District.

WE NEED A CONTRACT THAT IS FAIR TO SCHOOL EMPLOYEES AND GOOD FOR STUDENTS The SRC and the District refuse to bargain with the PFT and, instead, have claimed the power to void their contract. Historically that contract has provided valuable protections to teachers and students, like limits on class size and staffing ratios. Attacks on the living standards and union rights of school workers will not attract the best teachers into our schools. The District needs to get back to the bargaining table.

WE NEED SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY SCHOOLS Our schools should be fully staffed with full time nurses, counselors and certified librarians. We need engaging instruction, including art, music and service learning, not drill and kill test prep. We need positive behavior supports, not punitive discipline. We need a real voice for parents, community and school staff, including democratic, local control.  And we need wrap around services that can meet the needs of families living in deep poverty. Jim Kenny has signed on to 25 new community schools his first term, but the District’s 3.0 Action plan doesn’t even mention them.

To raise awareness of the continuing education crisis and press our demands we’re planning several actions the first week of school:


LABOR DAY ACTION Monday, 9-7 – We will be at the traditional Labor Day march from the Sheet Metal Workers Union Hall to Penn’s Landing to leaflet and talk to union members and supporters about the need for a fair budget and support for public education.  Join us at 9am at the march staging area at Sheet Metal Workers.

SCHOOL RALLIES FOR FULL FUNDING AND A FAIR CONTRACT Join with PFT members, students and parents.

• Tuesday, 9-8. 3:30 pm Lincoln High School , 3201 Ryan Ave.

• Wednesday, 9-9, 7:45am, Cramp Elementary School, 3449 N. Mascher St.

COMCAST ACTION Thursday, 9-11, 4:00pm – Rally at City Hall, March to Comcast Tower ( The CAP Comcast coalition will be highlighting its demands for a franchise agreement that supports schools and internet access for low income Philadelphians.

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The Fight For A Fair Budget Continues!


photo credit: Garret Ettinger

Following a bus tour for education funding that visited more than a dozen communities across the state, over fifty people, beginning on June 29th,  staged a week long occupation in Harrisburg demanding the Republican dominated legislature tax the shale and adopt a fair budget that can give us the schools we deserve.

Spearheaded by SEIU Healthcare, the occupation included people from Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie, Altoona, Williamsport, the Lehigh Valley, Johnstown and communities across the breadth of the state, PCAPS was well represented by ACTION United. Philadelphia Federation of Teachers brought out over a hundred teachers for a rally in the Capitol Rotunda that kicked off the week long occupation. Fast food workers from the fight for 15 and a union also joined in. Raising the minimum wage was one of themes of the occupation.

Occupiers camped out on the capitol steps and slept on the floor in a near by church. Over the course of the week rallies were staged in the Senate corridors and at the offices of Scott Wagner in York, Rep. Cox near Reading. Occupiers also demonstrated at the state Chamber of Commerce and the offices of lobbyists for the Oil and gas industry and the Restaurant owners.

On Thursday Governor Tom Wolf, after vetoing the budget passed by the legislature, came out on the Capitol steps to express appreciation for the support for his budget and to talk with the demonstrators.

Clearly the battle is far from over. Occupiers, now back home, are planning more actions in their local communities to build support for a fair budget and influence legislators in key districts.

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Faces of the State Tour for Education Funding

For the last week the PA Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools has gone to seven communities to rally for a state budget that will provide funding for the schools our children deserve.  The tour continues this week, ending in Harrisburg on the 29th.  Some highlights are shown below:

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Day One of the Bus Tour for the Schools Our Children Deserve


The bus sprung a gas leak, the clouds threatened rain, but the Pennslyvania Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools bus tour launched anyway at Spring Garden School.

Speakers including Pastor Mark Tyler from Mother Bethel AME Church and POWER, Jerry Jordan, President of the PFT, Sheila Armstrong, Spring Garden parent and POWER leader, and Kia Hinton, Chair woman of ACTION United, spoke about the state of our schools and the need for full, fair, funding now. Passing a tax on Marcellus Shale and a funding formula that ends the racial and class disparities in the way education is funded in Pennsylvania were common themes.

The tour will go to over a dozen different communities across the state, culminating in Harrisburg on June 29th when an occupation of the capitol focused on getting the state legislature to pass a budget. will begin.

For regular updates on the tour and the fight for the state budget go to:

Pictures from the incomparable Harvey Finkle

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Comcast Needs To Pay It’s Fair Share

A broad coalition, including PCAPS, held a press conference yesterday at City Hall, then spread out to lobby Council members to press Comcast to extend internet access and support our schools as part of a franchise agreement with the City. One of the coalition’s demands is for Comcast to pay for the staffing of a technology teacher and leader at District schools.

For more information on the campaign go to:

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