PHILADELPHIA–Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan was joined by Environmental Scientist Jerry Roseman and members of the Philly Healthy Schools Coalition to announce and demonstrate the PFT Healthy Schools Tracker, a smartphone app that enables educators, parents and students to photograph and report problems in school buildings directly to the union.
“We’ve always said that many of the building issues we find can be resolved quickly and cost-effectively with better reporting, tracking and sharing of information between the union and the District,” said Jordan, “We developed this app to give educators the ability to more quickly and effectively report mold, air quality issues, flaking lead paint and other health hazards they see in their schools.”
Jerry Roseman, the Environmental Scientist for the PFT Health and Welfare Fund, demonstrated the features of the app, which was rolled out to PFT members in October. Roseman said the past few months were used to work out any bugs with the app, and to develop a system for sharing information and resolving issues with the District.
“Much of what drives the high cost of making repairs is deferred maintenance,” Roseman said, “It’s important that school staff can report information to the PFT, but it’s even more important that we have a system in place to communicate these problems to the District so these issues are fixed before they become major repair projects.”
Jordan was also joined at today’s press conference by Councilmember Helen Gym and David Masur, two members of the Philly Healthy Schools Initiative, a coalition of community groups, parents and elected leaders focused on addressing the subpar conditions of the city’s school buildings.
“Openness, transparency, and getting problems out into the open are critical steps if we’re going to fully address and solve environmental health threats like lead paint, asbestos, mold, and others in Philadelphia’s school buildings,” said Masur, “We think this app, by engaging stakeholder participation, can result in improved solution finding District-wide.”
Jordan noted that while the app is a wonderful tool, it is not a solution to the critical problems facing Philly’s aging school infrastructure.
“Harrisburg must not be allowed to continue to put our aging school buildings on the back burner. We need our state elected leaders to pass a budget that dramatically increases public education funding, and to fully fund PlanCon,” Jordan said.
The PFT Healthy Schools Tracker app is available for free on the Apple App store. The Android version is in beta testing and should be available on the Google Play store soon.
News Coverage of Healthy Schools Tracker
Follow CBSPHILLY Facebook | Twitter PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A new app available has teachers in the Philadelphia School District hoping to hold the district more accountable when it comes to poor building conditions. The app, called Healthy School Tracker, was launched Thursday by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.
To 'crowdsource injustice,' new app encourages Philly teachers to photograph, report school building woes
Drawing further attention to conditions inside city schools, Philadelphia's teachers' union formally introduced an app Thursday that will allow members to alert union leadership when they see a problem. Using the Healthy Schools Tracker app, staff can send descriptions or photos to officials from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers (PFT) if they spot mold, rodents, or other physical maladies that can sicken children or impede learning.
Philadelphia parents and teachers can now use a smartphone app to report deteriorating conditions and environmental hazards in their school directly to the teachers' union. The data, including location and a picture, is then shared with the School District and reviewed by the union's environmental scientist so the union can track the progress of repairs.