Philly schools expand technology support center, unveil registration options for new students

    George W Nebinger Public School in Philadelphia. Philadelphia employs more school police officers than any other public school system in the state. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

    By Chanel Hill

    PHILADELPHIA — With the School District of Philadelphia starting the new school year with virtual learning, administrators are expanding the hours for the district’s technology support centers.

    Centers will be open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, excluding holidays. The district continues to provide Chromebooks to students who need them for digital learning.

    “We’re also working on options to make additional Chromebooks distribution as convenient as possible for students and families,” Superintendent William Hite said Thursday during his weekly news conference.

    The district has distributed approximately 6,000 Chromebooks to students as of June. More recent data was not available at press time.

    Local officials provide Internet access

    City officials recently launched the PHLConnectED, a program to connect up to 35,000 low-income K-12 student households with internet services and devices.

    The program will also provide digital skills training and tech support for families, as schools move to virtual learning in the upcoming academic year as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

    Officials will provide more details in the coming weeks about how families can sign up and how the program will work, Hite said.

    The program is supported by a broad coalition of business, nonprofit, philanthropic and civic leaders including: the School District of Philadelphia, select charter schools, Comcast Corporation, Lenfest Foundation, Neubauer Family Foundation, Philadelphia School Partnership, William Penn Foundation and Philadelphia Housing Authority.

    New student registration to resume Aug. 17

    Registration for all new students entering kindergarten through 12th grade will resume on Aug. 17.

    Families will have several options to sign up for registration including: an online portal, telephone, in person by appointment, or by putting their applications in a dropbox.

    The district will also have staff available to help families with online registration.

    Hite said that families who register by phone “should call the school that their child and children will attend.”

    Families who chose to register in person must make an appointment and bring their registration information to the Education Center 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Anyone who registers in person will be required to follow CDC guidelines, including wearing a mask and adhering to social distancing practices.

    Families who want to use the dropbox must place the application and required documentation in a manila envelope and drop it off at the Education Center from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

    For more information, visit philasd.org.

    Chanel Hill is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.