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West Philadelphia High fights post-pandemic graduation dip

The 4-year graduation rate at West Philly High School before the pandemic was 65%. That’s lower than the city average, but it was starting to tick up.

  • Then the year of remote learning knocked everything off track, educators say. Now in some classes, more than half of students are failing — if they show up at all.

It’s like my 10th graders are 8th graders and my 9th graders are 7th graders,” one teacher told Caroline Preston, in this deep dive from Billy Penn and The Hechinger Report.

New FDR Park welcome center could open in 2023

A $250 million revamp of FDR Park officially got underway yesterday with a groundbreaking for the new welcome center.

  • The old guard house and stables at the north edge of the park will have a large cafe, a courtyard for vendors, 14 public restrooms — a rarity in Philadelphia — and an event space overlooking a restored lagoon.

This part of the renovation could be done by next year, Sophia Schmidt reports for WHYY’s PlanPhilly.

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled 


Rebuild renovations at Francis J. Myers Rec Center are getting a $4.5 million boost from state funding, and Mayor Kenney joins Pa. Rep. Joanna Clinton in Southwest Philly for the check presentation (4:30 p.m.).


Billy Penn event: We’re emceeing a music show at The Fire, the woman-owned indie music venue and bar on Girard Avenue. Come hang at our table as you check out local bands with sounds ranging from blues-rock to surf-goth. Tickets are $15, and a portion of sales benefit BP’s journalism. (8 p.m. to midnight, Wednesday, June 1)

? At a South Philly block party with live music, free food, and Indonesian dance, artist José Ortiz-Pagán unveils “La Sombrilla,” a self-sustaining planter that will combat urban heat. (12 p.m. Saturday, May 21)

? The Made On American Street Beer, Cider & Music Festival does exactly what it says, bringing all those things to the rejuvenated Kensington corridor. Tickets start at $40. (1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 21)