Walter Palmer Charter Abruptly Closes High School, Holds Community Meetings (VIDEO)
Written by WURD Radio on October 27, 2014
Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School, beset with troubles ranging from allegations of overspending, to controversy over whether the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) was within its rights to cap its enrollment, to the School Reform Commission suspending its charter, abruptly closed its Frankford-based high school on October 27.
News reports indicate that some families received advance notice the prior weekend via automated phone calls but for many, the closure came as a shock. Over 300 students must now scramble to find a new school home.
The last several months have been tumultuous for Walter Palmer Charter School’s students, families and administration, including school founder Dr. Walter D. Palmer. In late September he announced a plan to try to raise the funds needed to pay the SDP for its complement of students — a plan that the district did not accept. Consequently, the school agreed to cut its K-12 enrollment in half and held a lottery on October 15 to select the students who would retain spots.
WURD has covered the myriad issues faced by theWalter Palmer Charter School closely, and has had several conversations recently with Dr. Palmer personally (see podcast at left). On the day of the high school closure, Nick Taliaferro of The Nick Taliaferro Show had the chance to speak with Julian Thompson, Operations Coordinator for the School District of Philadelphia, about support that the district is providing for the displaced Palmer students:
On the evening of October 27, Walter Palmer Charter School held a meeting at its main campus (910 N. 6th St.) with families to discuss options for migrating the displaced high school students. Representatives from other schools, including other charters and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, were present. Palmer administrators had also announced during the day that West Philadelphia High School might be able to accommodate Palmer’s seniors.
Just prior to the meeting, Dr. Palmer granted WURD an exclusive interview in which he discussed the school’s financial and legal troubles — as well plans to stabilize the situation:
We were also on site for Dr. Palmer’s opening remarks to the students and parents assembled for the community meeting:
WURD’s coverage of the efforts to find solutions forWalter Palmer Charter School’s high school students continued on October 28, when Solomon Jones of Wake Up With WURD had a follow-up conversation with Julian Thompson, who discussed the school district’s Walter D. Palmer Charter School Transition Team and provided more information to our audience about how to transition former Palmer high school students to another school. Thompson also answered questions about charter school standards vs. district-run schools:
More information about the issues facing Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School is available: