Jacob and Katie started this photoblog as an effort to pay our final respects to the public schools that are being euthanized this year.  The Philadelphia School District closed 8 schools last year, will close 23 this year, and rumor has it they are going to propose 30 more closures next year.  That the School Reform Commission (SRC) is closing 23 schools is considered by many to be a triumph because the SRC had originally proposed to close over 40 public schools.

We cannot help but feel the loss of this neighborhood feature.  There is so much room for improvement and many of the buildings have been the cornerstones of their neighborhoods for nearly a century.  This photo exhibit is meant to pay homage to all that these schools were and could have been- and to acknowledge what we are losing.

Katie Brinkley is a PhD student in Urban Planning at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jacob Rivkin is a visual artist in the Master of Fine Arts program.

Both Jacob and Katie are seasoned amateur photographers with an interest in food, but we did not let that get in the way of taking on the Philadelphia public school system.

If you would like to read more about why Philadelphia is closing so many of its public schools, we recommend reading the notebook, and in particular, Helen Gym‘s articles.

If this blog has stirred any concerns and you would like to contact the School Reform Council, they can be reached here.


3 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Jacob and Katie,

    I’m a graphic designer at The Education Trust, a Washington, D.C.-based education advocacy organization working to close the achievement gap that separates low-income students and students of color from their more affluent and white peers. Every day, at great schools in unexpected places, low-income students and students of color consistently achieve at high levels. We are committed to finding and learning from such schools, and each year we recognize a handful with our Dispelling the Myth Award (DTM). We also highlight these schools online: edtrust.org/dispelling_the_myth.

    One of the schools we’re highlighting is M. Hall Stanton. We’re updating the webpage, and we would like to use some of your excellent images on our site, with your permission.

  2. Hello,

    I painted some of the murals at Jay Cooke along with my City Year team and some of our students. I would like to note that the imagery was generated by the students- IE their favorite books. We also planted gardens around them at that time. Your take on our projects is bleak and frankly a little misguided. You could benefit from educating yourself about how most murals in Philadelphia are created- by the community, from ideas generated within the community. Calling community projects, projects that bring people together during their creation and continue to brighten neighborhoods after their completion a “taunt” is insulting. It also completely misses the point. People are full of hope in areas where you don’t see hope. And if you can’t see hope, it’s not yours to see. If you could update the Jay Cooke info to include some background information about how the murals were created and lose the taunt line that would be much appreciated. Your comments chip away at the legacy of community teamwork the murals rose out of.

    Thank you,

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