PHILADELPHIA, Apr. 4, 2011 – State Sen. Vincent J. Hughes (D-Philadelphia/Montgomery) today introduced a plan that would establish a pilot program to help the lowest performing schools in Pennsylvania. The plan includes smaller class sizes, longer days, summer school and Saturday classes. The targeted schools would be referred to as Victory Academies.

“We must not endeavor to save only a few students from academic failure. Our goal must be to save each student and revitalize our poorly performing schools,” Hughes said. “My legislation would save each student. This proposal offers a real solution for our students. We have a system that is failing them, and we need evidence-based reforms that are proven to increase student achievement.”

Specifically, the pilot program, which will run for three years, would include:

  • A student/teacher ratio of 15:1 for elementary schools and 20:1 for high schools
  • A minimum of 1100 hours of instruction for elementary schools and 1190 hours for high schools per year, which will consist of a combination of lengthened school day, extended school year and a minimum six weeks of summer school and Saturday classes
  • Community/parental meetings to update on upcoming changes to the schools operations
  • Operation of the school(s) by the school district or a high performing charter school operator
  • Access to intensive social services for students
  • Intensive tutoring for students who perform below proficiency standards
  • On-going assessments

“We must not drive a wedge between wealthy and poor students — we need consistent, academic achievement for students if we are to improve public schools,” Hughes said. “All the pieces of what I propose take these targeted schools and give them proven tools they need to succeed without further widening education gaps.”

For a complete look at the entire proposal, please visit Follow the senator on Facebook and Twitter (SenatorHughes).

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