Open for 2019.2020 and BIG plans ahead!

Image above from CHAD’s successful SpringFEST 2019 event, a semi-annual community-wide celebration that includes a design exhibition, an open mic, music, theater, food, a cultural fair, awards, a faculty art exhibition, games, demonstrations and more. See more images here.

June 14, 2019

Dear CHAD community,

We are sending this email to share some important information regarding our school. Nearly a year ago, CHAD received a notice of nonrenewal from the School Reform Commission (SRC) of the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) which started the nonrenewal process of our charter. After careful consideration, with the best interests of students in mind, the CHAD Board of Trustees has signed an agreement with SDP. The agreement requires the Charter High School for Architecture and Design (CHAD) to forfeit its charter at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. The agreement was offered to the Board of Education on May 28th to avoid the disruption and uncertainty of a lengthy legal process and as a first step to enable us to work together in CHAD’s smooth transition from a charter school to a School District of Philadelphia architecture + design public school. Our goal is to successfully work with SDP in the creation of a newly invigorated City-wide High School for Architecture + Design. A copy of the proposed agreement is attached as Exhibit A.

We realize you may have many questions about the transition process and what this means for our students, the dedicated staff, and your relationship with the school and our mission. The CHAD Board of Trustees is fully committed to providing as many answers as we have at this time and to keep you informed as new information becomes available.

An important step in the process took place yesterday when the SDP Board of Education (which replaced the SRC) made historic consideration and unanimously approved the proposed agreement. The terms of the agreement mean that:

  1. The public hearings on the nonrenewal of CHAD have been cancelled.
  2. CHAD will continue to operate as a charter school for the 2019-2020 school year — with current programs and course offerings intact.
  3. All staff will remain CHAD employees for the 2019-2020 school year.
  4. CHAD will surrender its charter on June 30, 2020.
  5. All staff (teachers and administration) will have the opportunity to become SDP employees going into the 2020-2021 school year.
  6. Students will wrap up the 2019-2020 school year, with remaining upperclassmen being given the opportunity to participate in SDP’s School Selection process, enroll in their neighborhood school, apply to another charter or continue in the new architecture and design school if available for the 2020-2021 school year.
  7. SDP and CHAD will work together to explore and establish an architecture and design school that would succeed CHAD but be governed and managed by SDP.
  8. We have already shared this new vision with many of you and have heard words of pleasant surprise and encouragement. We know a new school or program will still require the support from our entire community. The way for this to work best will be for us to maintain and strengthen all of our existing relationships.
  9. The specific details of such an architecture and design school will be documented in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to be completed on or before September 30, 2019. This timing will allow all CHAD staff to make informed decisions about their potential employment with the District starting SY2020-2021.

We want to thank SDP for allowing this step as we all work toward bringing the CHAD vision directly into the school district. There will be many nuances involved in developing a successful formwork within the MOU. There will be even more details needed to turn those words into reality. The CHAD Board believes it is doing what will result in the AIA’s original vision being institutionalized into the SDP’s system – if successful, it will result in many more years of design thinking being infused into the education of so many deserving Philadelphia children.

PLEASE: do not allow intentionally worded newspaper articles with negative headlines to control this vision. This is a positive news story that, after some successful hard work, can have meaningful even more permanent impact on Philadelphia.

It is our goal to make this transition a smooth and transparent one for the school so staff can focus on providing a safe and stable learning environment for CHAD students throughout the 2019-2020 school year. We will share more information later this month as the details of our MOU begin to emerge. In the meantime, please feel free to contact me ( with any questions.


Lance M. Rothstein, AIA
CHAD Board of Trustees President