An Innovative, Community-Oriented Approach to Comprehensive School Planning
School Board of Philadelphia (SRC), Philadelphia, PA—Strategic Planning

The School District of Philadelphia needed a data-driven analysis for strategic planning. We developed two consecutive facilities master plans (2005-6 and 2008-9). Our team began by gathering input through more than 100 stakeholder interviews, then built a dossier of conditions information for all 200+ school buildings, including qualitative data such as graduation rates, test score rankings and provisions of supplemental programs. We also

  • Consolidated historic demographic information at the block group level
  • Projected future population changes at a fine scale
  • Analyzed the District’s complex assignment systems and their impact on building use
  • Formulated policy questions and potential outcomes for the Board’s consideration

The “right size” for a client with complex needs and a citywide presence
With our holistic analysis, we concluded that the School District was supporting a significant oversupply of seats and that closing schools would not lead to a shortage of availability in the medium-term future. To that end, we developed an interactive application that combined GIS with linear optimization techniques to identify optimal sites for closure, based on individually selected geographic and educational criteria. The District began the process of “right-sizing” facilities after the completion of our plan.

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