AROS Newsletter - April 24, 2015

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools Newsletter
April 24, 2015

Welcome to this week's AROS newsletter! Special shoutout this week to all the advocates and organizers in Pennsylvania who we're featuring in this edition.

Have news from your city or state? Share it with us on Twitter and Facebook! And tell your friends and colleagues to sign up for our newsletter here.

Youth United for Change Rally
Youth United for Change members rallied in support
of Kensington Urban Education Academy.
Picture via Media Mobilizing Project

The vision for transforming schools into full-service Community Schools is gaining traction across the country and in Philadelphia, where Youth United for Change is leading a fight to prevent the closing of Kensington Urban Education Academy and to instead make it a pilot for providing wraparound student supports. The city's School Reform Commission voted last week to expedite the process of closing the school, allowing them to rush forward with little opportunity for community members to voice their concerns. Read more here.

Over the next week there are two other community schools-related events in Philladelphia:

  • Action United will host a rally for community schools at Comegys Elementary School on Monday, April 27 at 3:30 pm. Details here.
  • The PCAPS Community Schools Task force will hold a strategy session with parents, educators, service providers and advocates on Wednesday, April 29 at 5:30 pm at Arch St. Methodist Church. Details here.

A Pennsylvania appeals court ended a months-long push to privatize the York City School District. The struggling district was nearly put under state receivership with plans to hand control of the schools over to a charter group. Though city officials still have work to do to ensure all of York's children get a high quality education, this court order is a victory for those fighting to keep schools in the hands of their local communities. Read more here and here.

School discipline reform got a big boost this week in Pittsburgh where 23 schools were selected to take part in a program with the U.S. Department of Justice to reform harsh, discriminatory school discipline codes and implement restorative justice practices instead. The program will be funded by a $3 million federal research grant. Read more about the grant here and read about a recent workshop on school discipline reform hosted by Great Public Schools Pittsburgh and the Education Law Center of Pittsburgh here.

The East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers is leading a petition drive to reopen a local school, Istrouma High, which was taken over by the state in 2012 and shuttered two years later. The teachers, along with the local NAACP chapter and Istrouma alumni, are also seeking to return control of the school to the local parish board and, eventually, to transform Istrouma into a community school with wraparound services for students and their families. Read more here.


May 1-3: Journey For Justice Alliance National Conference in Newark, NJ. Click here for details or contact Maria Fernandez (

May 12: AROS Southern Regional meeting in Little Rock, AR. For more information contact Evie Frankl at

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