Support for public education

Join Philly School Parents' Trip to the Capitol

posted Jun 7, 2013, 1:41 PM by Clara Jerez

On Wednesday, June 12th, please join us in Harrisburg to tell Pennsylvania legislators exactly what the current state education budget proposals will do to your public schools and your children, and to demand that they properly fund public education in our state.

At 8:30 am on June 12th, we will meet in Harrisburg, in the Cafeteria on the East Side of the Capital Lower Level and then split up to go to legislators' offices, which are located in different buildings in and around the main capitol building. (If you don't know where the cafeteria is, go through security at the Capitol Building's east side entrance, and then ask for directions at the information desk.)

In addition to contacting our respective local legislators, we can work together to reach key power brokers in Pennsylvania's state budget process.

There is no time for fear or further delay. The budget process is already in motion, and many school districts, such as Philadelphia's, are in crisis.

SO we urge you to spend the next several days working with like-minded parents and guardians, to organize information specific to your school's needs into a talking points memo for your spokespeople and also hand-outs for the legislators.

Then early Wednesday, June 12, pile into cars or get on the train or the bus to join us in Harrisburg.

We plan to talk with legislators and their staffs in the House and in the Senate to persuade them to fight or support them in their fight for increased public education funding. In some cases, we may speak with legislators outside our home districts.

CLICK HERE to register!

Join our effort to deliver 1,000 hand written letters from children to Harrisburg on June 12th.

posted Jun 4, 2013, 6:42 AM by Dawn Levi


Sit down with your child and each write a letter to our elected leaders Harrisburg (we pay their salaries). Tell them what you love about your school, what matters and is wonderful that you can’t afford to lose. Don’t forget to include the name of your school, your name and address. Hand written letters from kids are MOST IMPORTANT because our kids have the most to lose.


Then send that letter to us c/o PCCYPublic Citizens for Children & Youth | 1709 Benjamin Franklin Parkway 6th Fl. | Philadelphia, PA 19103; postmarked by June 7th or hand delivered by June 10th. (Or email it to Sarah C. Stuart


We will HAND DELIVER all the letters to Harrisburg on Wednesday June 12th. Want to be part of the Harrisburg delegation? You can car-pool or train out there with us. (Just let Sarah know


Can you do more? Phone Bank.

You call people throughout the state who care about public education. They help us by making calls so that state senators and reps hear from people outside Philadelphia. This is very powerful and a great opportunity to have your voice amplified.


If you can phone bank, just email with days/approximate times available. You need internet access and a phone to do it from home, and there will be some opportunities to do it from the PA Ed Voters office as well. June 7th will be the first target date.

ALSO Call YOUR City Council member and express your support for two bills that will raise funds for the School District: the "Liquor by the Drink"  and the "Use & Occupancy" bills.  Or attend the June 5th City Council session at 10 am when these bills will be voted on.  The restaurant and business lobby is fighting hard against these two bills. Make sure your Councilmember (and At-Large members) hear from you.


 Keep in touch. Put your outrage to good use.

·       Friend the IMAGINE A SCHOOL Facebook page and post your updates so everyone knows

·       Use the PCCY  and ED VOTERS OF PA websites to get information and take action

·       Get your kids to use their FACEBOOK, Twitter and Instagrams to get their friends involved.



posted May 29, 2013, 7:27 AM by Masterman HSA Webmaster   [ updated May 29, 2013, 11:41 AM by Dawn Levi ]

It’s not over. These next few weeks are crucial, as City Council members and Pennsylvania legislators discuss, debate and vote on funding for the next fiscal year.

Two groups of Masterman parents met last week with City Council Member Blondell Reynolds Brown and with a staff person from Council President Darrell Clarke’s office. Now the rest of us need to carry on…and loudly!

City Council is considering various ways of raising the $60 million the School District has requested—through increases in the city’s use & occupancy tax and hikes in “sin taxes” on liquor-by-the-drink and cigarettes. These are not popular with the business community, and the “sin taxes” need approval from state legislators.

Here’s what you can do right now:

  • Write to Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce president Rob Wonderling (link to letter) and African American Chamber of Commerce president Steven Bradley (link to letter). Personalize the letters with anecdotes about how school funding cuts would affect your child
  • Write to state legislators on the appropriations committee and the education committee, as well as majority and minority leaders of both the General Assembly and the Senate (link to name/address list)
  • Keep talking to everyone you know—friends, colleagues, neighbors, relatives, your faith community—about how important it is to speak out NOW about the need for stable and sustainable school funding



posted May 3, 2013, 3:57 PM by Clara Jerez   [ updated May 3, 2013, 4:16 PM ]

Dear Staff Luncheon Volunteers,

There are no words for how much grateful we are for your generosity. Yesterday was a very happy day for our staff and teachers and the event was a complete success thanks to you.

There were prizes for everyone, an incredible variety of delicious food that represents the wonderful diversity we have in our school and a wonderful and helpful workforce behind the organization during the whole day that made the event run in a very smooth and fun way for all the people that attended yesterday.

If you donate, gifts, money, food, time or all of the above or something else, thank you! This event was only possible because of you. You make the Masterman community a great place to be part of.

We hope you had a great time making our teachers and staff happy and we look forward to keep working with you in the future.


Barbara Dallao and Clara Jerez

Note: If you donate food and you still have serving items to pick up, they will be in the front office until Wednesday. Please stop by and take yours home. After that, the items left will be donated to the Home and School to be used in future events.

Thank you again.

Ballots 2013!

posted May 3, 2013, 7:42 AM by Dawn Levi


posted Apr 25, 2013, 5:25 PM by Clara Jerez   [ updated Apr 25, 2013, 5:49 PM ]

Dear Masterman Families,

Picture a school with nearly 1200 students and no guidance counselor. No librarian. No office staff to answer phones, take applications, handle absentee notes or balance the books. No after-school sports, no orchestra or choir, no school musical. No new books or computers. No lunchtime or recess supervision. No assistant principal. No MG classes.

That could be reality, come September, with the Philadelphia School District's bare-bones budget. Every school in the city would take a hit with a budget that funds a building, a principal, the number of teachers mandated by class-size limits...and not much else.

If this is not the school you want for your kids, or for any Philadelphia student, if you believe a quality education demands more than this stripped-down scenario, NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT. Here's what you can do:

* CALL YOUR CITY COUNCIL MEMBER and make an appointment to speak by phone or in person about the need for adequate school funding. The School District is seeking $60 million from City Council. You can find your Council member's name and contact information at Also call Council President Darrell Clarke and the at-large members: Wilson Goode, Bill Green, Jim Kenney, David Oh, Bill Greenlee, Dennis O’Brien and Blondell Reynolds-Brown. Tips for making an effective call are here:

*ATTEND the Masterman HSA meeting this Saturday, April 27, at noon, at school. Principal Neff will be there. Come together with other Masterman parents to form an action plan.

* SHOW UP Monday, April 29 when the School District presents its budget to City Council--10-noon and 1-3 p.m. in room 400 of City Hall. Bring a sign if you’re inclined: “Good schools keep Philly families in the city”…”I support public education and I vote”…”Don’t strip our schools!”

* SPEAK UP Tuesday, April 30 when City Council hears public testimony about the School District budget--10-noon and 1 p.m. onward in room 400 of City Hall. If you want to be on the agenda to speak, call the Council clerk's office at 215-686-3407. You don’t have to be an expert; just speak briefly and clearly about the kinds of schools you think Philadelphia students deserve.

* Check our website for further updates and action steps...TOGETHER, WE CAN URGE LAWMAKERS NOT TO STRIP OUR SCHOOLS.

Join Meredith School

Invitation to a  "Public Action" this Monday that involves a picket around the school, followed by a march from school to City Hall. Schools in the Greater Center
City Coalition are supporting us as are parent advocacy groups. We
invite you to join in. Feel free to use the attached letter to
families, and make it your own. We are also printing the attached
posters (11 x 17") so parents can march carrying these. I created the
poster so there are no copyright issues. It would be quite powerful
to have Masterman parents to walk to City Hall on Monday.What a
message it will show to our members of Council about the importance of
our neighborhood schools.

General Body Meeting Saturday April 27.

posted Apr 24, 2013, 6:35 PM by Masterman HSA Webmaster

Elections J.R. Masterman Home and School Council and J.R. Masterman School Advisory Council

posted Apr 15, 2013, 6:49 PM by Clara Jerez   [ updated Apr 18, 2013, 11:50 AM ]

Two elections will be held this year: J.R. Masterman Home and School Council (MHSA) and J.R. Masterman School Advisory Council (SAC).  Nominations periods and elections will be held concurrently.

Nomination Period:
April 9, 2013 - April 24, 2013

April 26, 2013 - May 8, 2013

The J.R. Masterman Home and School Council (MHSA) will hold elections for five (5) officer positions:  President, VP High School, VP Middle School, Secretary and Treasurer.

The MHSA provides support for the students and faculty of Masterman through the administration of staff grants, funding facilities improvement, and sponsoring community events. MHSA also hosts seminars and workshops presented by teachers and other community builders to help families adjust to Masterman and beyond.

The positions are for 2-year terms beginning in July 2013.  Time commitments vary based upon the position.  On average:

President (20 hours/month)
VP Middle School (10 hours/month)
VP High School (10 hours/month)
Treasurer (20 hours/month)
Secretary (10 hours/month)

Students are able to excel, in part, because of the involvement of the MHSA. Therefore, your participation is critical!!  If you are interested please submit to a SHORT (no more than 100 words) biography to support your candidacy no later than Wednesday, April 24, 2013. If you think a parent would be good addition, please submit his or her name and contact information.

The duties for each position will be provided at  If you want additional information, please send an email to

The J.R. Masterman School Advisory Council (SAC) will be holding elections for three (3) open positions. The SAC, which is composed of parents, teachers and administrators, meets monthly to review and discuss school policy and budget matters.  It provides a forum for important collaborative dialogue on issues of importance to the Masterman community.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the Masterman community, please consider submitting your name for inclusion in the ballot. You need to commit to attending a monthly 2-hour meeting, and an occasional ad hoc meeting. Positions are for a 2-year term, starting in September 2013.

If you are interested, please submit a SHORT (no more than 100 words) statement to support your candidacy by Wednesday, April 24th. Submit your statement to Questions about the SAC and information requests submitted to will be answered.



Parents of the Masterman Community are cordially invited to the collaborative presentation and discussion of the play ADDICT

posted Jan 23, 2012, 6:28 AM by Clara Jerez   [ updated Apr 15, 2013, 6:48 PM ]

A One-Act Play by Jerome McDonough

A powerful play about the addictions of youth

Followed by a chew and chat opportunity to meet with professionals and parents from the greater Philadelphia community involved in various addiction areas


Please call Kathy Dopkin, High School Dean

to reserve your seat



TIME: 1:30 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.




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