Are you interested in additional peer-to-peer discussions regarding in-person learning?
CSO Winter Solstice Convening Recap
During our Convening, we discussed the various ways in which the CSO provides meaningful supports and our evolving work to enhance these efforts. Some highlights of topics covered include: internal and external initiatives within the space of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI); updates on levEL up!, the English Learner Professional Learning Community (PLC); the expansion of our external engagement to support building community collaboration; CSO website resource enhancements; and family-related updates. The CSO also presented on general sector updates, compliance data and trends, how we intend to support the sector in meeting compliance, and the latest framework updates and proposals.

We want to thank Debi Durso and John Polk (Green Woods Charter School), Pamela Evans (Jacquelyn Y. Kelley Discovery Charter School), and Earl Sissell, Ellisa Lofton, and Joy Karsner (Philadelphia Montessori Charter School) for presenting at the Convening and sharing some great insight regarding in-person learning amid the pandemic.

We also highlighted family engagement data. As a reminder, if you wish to receive information (e.g. the number and category) of calls that the CSO has received between September 1st and December 18th pertaining to your school, please email

Note: Convening materials have been shared directly with attendees, school CEOs, and Board chairs.
"PHLConnectED Week" ends today, Friday, December 18th. The City was excited to partner with Global Citizen, a nonprofit dedicated to civic engagement. Global Citizen provided hotspots to families that have been deemed eligible but haven't been able to pick them up.

As a reminder, the PHLConnectED tab in Infinite Campus (IC) allows schools to assign voucher codes from a drop-down menu that is updated in real-time. There are no limits on the number of codes that a school may provide. Please review the stepper linked here for specific directions. Global Citizen will provide schools with sign-out forms so that schools can also enter hotspot IMEI numbers.

Lastly, if you need to pick up hotspots because your school is within 10 remaining, please fill out this form.
SPR Updates
As a reminder, the District is developing a new report on student and school performance, which would replace the existing School Progress Reports (SPRs) beginning for the 2020-2021 school year. This report will align closely to the Board of Education's Goals and Guardrails. Please contact with any questions.
Epicenter Office Hours
Epicenter is introducing their ‘Epicenter Office Hours, which will be a monthly, hour-long virtual meeting. Their support team will highlight a few tips-and-tricks at the beginning of each session, followed by an open Q&A. Participants will have the opportunity to ask Support Specialists any questions regarding topics discussed, or other general Epicenter questions. 

The first session is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12, 2021 at 3:00 PM. Registration details can be found here. Additional questions should be directed to
SY 2020-21 Calendar of Collections
Thursday, December 31, 2020

Please refer to the following upcoming Calendar of Collections deadlines:
  • Audited Financial Statements for FY20: Thursday, December 31, 2020
Preliminary Report Review Window
Past Due as of December 11, 2020
The CSO shared a Preliminary Report that contains findings in the Organizational Compliance and Viability Domain that will be included in the 2020 Annual Charter Evaluation (ACE). The CSO will endeavor to provide a response to all feedback prior to the final ACE Preview Window in late 2020. Responses were due December 11th via Epicenter. Please reach out to Roger at with any questions.
Ad Prima Charter School
The CSO would like to congratulate 6th grade student Joshua Bakali of Ad Prima Charter School who won the “Thankful for my Academic Home: My Charter School” essay contest that was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools (PCPCS) and Conrad O’Brien. Students were instructed to write about why they value their charter school, and Joshua's work was selected out of a competitive pool of exciting essays. In addition to being recognized by PCPCS, Joshua was also recognized by his peers and will have his essay featured in the school’s Literacy Magazine. His essay can be viewed via the school's website here!
Minds Matter
Deadline Extended to Friday, December 18, 2020

Minds Matter, a four-year college access program that begins in students’ freshman year of high school, has extended the application deadline for its Freshman Bridge Program to Friday, December 18, 2020. Minds Matter offers its students a combination of individualized mentor support and group tutoring that provides students with the resources, information, and guidance they need to gain admission to, enroll in, and graduate from four-year colleges. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and meet Federal Income Eligibility Guidelines for free or reduced-priced lunch. Additional requirements can be viewed here.

Interested students are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible, as seats are limited. Students and parents/guardians must both complete separate applications. For more information about Minds Matter, click here. The application can be accessed here. Direct questions should be directed to Catherine Qiu at
UPenn College Access Workshop
Monday, January 18, 2021
1:15 PM - 2:30 PM

The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) will be hosting a free virtual workshop on Monday, January 18, 2021 for students entitled, “College Admission Process during COVID-19”, on behalf of their Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr “Day of Service” committee. The workshop, facilitated by expert staff from UPenn’s Admissions and Financial Aid offices, will explore how to successfully complete the college application, admission and financial aid processes. Students will also have the opportunity to earn community service credits needed for graduation by participating in the City-Wide Donation Project.

The entire high school community and their parents/guardians are invited to attend. Interested students are encouraged to register here via Eventbrite. School personnel can also register students by contacting Associate Director of UPenn’s African American Resource Center, Darin Toliver, at and providing the names and email addresses of students, as necessary. Please feel free to share the flyer linked here. Questions should be directed to Darin Toliver.
Catto Scholarship
The Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) is excited to share with students its Octavius Catto Scholarship, which is an economic recovery strategy that ensures more equitable access to postsecondary degree programs. The Scholarship will provide for tuition, books and food; access to success coaches and advisors; and connection to existing resources, like housing supports and child care. More information about the Scholarship and requirements can be viewed here.

CCP has designed a social media toolkit, in addition to an official Octavius Catto Scholarship flyer, which can be viewed here to support with outreach. Please contact Megan Lello with at with any questions.
Fresh Artists
Fresh Artists, a Philadelphia-based non-profit with the mission to empower K-12 children through the power of art-making, is encouraging all registered art teachers in the charter sector to apply for annual grants. The grants are designed to help schools struggling with cuts in art funding by providing free classroom art supplies. 

If your school has art teachers, please encourage them to click here to learn about registration criteria as well as additional announcements and upcoming giveaways such as Surprise Supplies and Fresh Artist's pop-up give-away of bulk materials. For more information on Fresh Artists and offered opportunities and programs for students and teachers, visit the website here. To be connected directly with Fresh Artists, complete the form here.
Family Newsletter
We recently released our Winter Family Newsletter for students and families, which can be accessed via our website here. Please encourage your families and students to read our Newsletter, where they can learn more about upcoming city-wide events and opportunities that are being offered to them, in addition to general information about the charter school process.
If you have exciting updates that you would like for us to share in this Family Newsletter, please contact Cherron at
Free Classes Offered by Kimmel Center
The Kimmel Center has announced that it will be offering free digital arts education to schools throughout the City, including charter schools. Students will have the option of choosing between multiple free creative art programs that will be taught by an experienced teaching staff. School teachers will also have access to these “Creative Stages” programs online. To learn more about the Kimmel’s free creative arts education programs, click here, or contact the Kimmel Center via email at