Even in the face of a budget gap this year and a forecast for an even bigger one next year, officials at the School District of Philadelphia still must go about the task of operating schools and increasing academic standards.
Dr. Clyde Hornberger was brought in to do just that.
This week, the district announced it had hired Hornberger to be the School Reform Commission’s Career and Technical Education special advisor, and he will work directly with David Kipput in the Division of Career and Technical Education to develop a district-wide strategic plan.
“Dr. Hornberger has done some work with us on a very limited basis in the past,” said School District of Philadelphia Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon. “He was recognized for his work, he did on a CTE project in Allentown.
“He also wrote policy and curriculum for the state.”
Before coming to the school district, Hornberger served as the longtime executive director of the Lehigh Career and Technical Institute, a post from which he recently retired; he successfully created a partnership among LCTI, Lehigh Carbon Community College and Bloomsburg University, which resulted in LCTI establishing a program that offers a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science in Technical Leadership.
“This shows the district is still continuing to invest in education,” said district spokesman Fernando Gallard. “And we still want to give every student a chance.”
According to a statement released by the district, the strategic plan will be created in partnership with the Philadelphia Council of College and Career Success and the Philadelphia Youth Network.
This strategy, school officials said, will be guided by six core goals, which include workforce development, quality control for all CTE programs, and increasing the number of CTE students from 6,000 to 10,000 over the next five years.
“The committee will be responsible for reviewing the overall CTE plan, building a citywide governance and employer organizing strategy, identification of strategies that support the implementation, alignment and leveraging of resources that will support the reform,” read a statement from the district that laid out Hornberger’s responsibilities and duties. “The committee will present recommendations to the SRC for their consideration and approval.”
Nixon said Hornberger’s appointment should be greeted positively, especially among students and their parents.
“What also impressed us was that Dr. Hornberger was once a principal, so he knows the work,” Nixon said. “I do believe he has the ability to help the school district implement a series of comprehensive plans.”
Nixon said the district’s current financial malaise was taken into consideration; Hornberger’s salary will be paid through a Perkins Loan, which sets up grants specifically designed for programs such as CTE.
“As a parent, I would be extremely excited with the district bringing someone in to reform the career and technology program,” Nixon said. “And for parents and students, [Hornberger] plans to improve the quality of our technical programs, increase the rigor, add additional programs and make sure there is quality and equity for every student.
“So in terms of looking at this through the lens of a parent and student, this is exciting, because it will increase access throughout the city and allows for another pathway to college.”