West Philadelphia Schools Committee Records

Collection ID: 
Acc. 306
Collecting Area: 



Historical Note

The West Philadelphia Schools Committee (W.P.S.C.) was founded in 1960 as an independent civic organization whose members included community groups, church groups, Home and School Associations, and interested individuals. The W.P.S.C. was formed to combat the existing problems of urban education including overcrowding of schools, teachers shortages, low achievement levels, high illiteracy rates, and the high dropout rate. Their main belief centered around the goal that all children in Philadelphia should attend integrated schools that provide an equal opportunity for a quality education to work toward 1. the elimination of existing inequalities, 2. better use of resources, 3. increased expenditure public education, 4. a comprehensive building program, 5. improved school staffing, and 6. improved curriculum; the West Philadelphia Schools Committee formed various sub-committees. These sub-committees (Research, School Visits, Communications) addressed specific projects such as the Operating Budget of the School System, a comprehensive report on the junior high school situation in West Philadelphia, and a news letter to circulate committee findings. The reports/views of the committees were then presented to the School board, Board of findings, Education, City Council, and the State Legislature. Thus in expressing the views and research findings, the West Philadelphia Schools Committee enacted their belief in the duty and right of citizens to plead the case of a better education for Philadelphia's children.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection is organized in nine series:


  • Series I: Administration and Organization
  • Series II: Finances
  • Series III: Correspondence
  • Series IV: Publications
  • Series V: Projects
  • Series VI: Other Organizations
  • Series VII: File Copies
  • Series VIII: Newspaper Clippings
  • Series IX: Miscellaneous

Series I: Administration and Organization. includes membership material such as: attendance sheets, membership lists, Home and School Association Presidents lists, and mailing lists. Also includes monthly meeting material such as: monthly minutes,town meetings, plans for the year, public statements, and constitution on by law changes. Arranged chronologically.

Series II: Finances. Includes various financial material such as: the proposed operating budget, Debt Limit Increase Material, and Miscellaneous Treasurer's reports. Material arranged chronologically.

Series III: Correspondence. Includes miscellaneous correspondence from Helen Oakes, Chairwoman West Philadelphia Schools Committee to various organizations, groups, legislators, and individuals in the community. Arranged chronologically.

Series IV: Publications. Includes various publications both created by the West Philadelphia Schools Committee and sent to the WPSC by outside organizations. Publications include the West Philadelphia Directory of Commission Organizations, West Philadelphia High School Action Research Project, and the 7-4-4 Program Report. Arranged chronologically.

Series V: Projects. Includes material relating to various special projects conducted by the West Philadelphia Schools visitation, Right to Read Campaign, and Special Education programs. Arranged Chronologically.

Series VI: Other Organizations. Includes materials relating to other organizations with which the West Philadelphia Schools Committee dealt such as: the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission, and the Paschall Betterment League. Arranged chronologically by organization.

Series VII: File Copies. Includes mimeo material from other series. Arranged chronologically.

Series VIII: Newspaper Clippings. Includes various newspaper clippings dealing with subjects pertaining to the West Philadelphia Schools Committee, school board elections, proposed building programs, and urban education. Arranged chronologically.

Series IX: Miscellaneous. Includes various miscellaneous material relating to the West Philadelphia Schools Committee such as notes from meetings and art work. The Series also includes several items with no date concerning the Norristown Grassroots Network. Arranged by subject.


Series I: Administration and Organization

Box 1

Attendance sheets, 1961-1968
Membership, 1963-1967
Home and School Association Pres., 1963-1965
Mailing lists, 1970
Monthly Meetings
Meeting Minutes, 1962-1969
Town Meeting, 1963
Plans for year, 1965
Public Statement, 1963, 1965-1967
Constitution and By law Changes 1962, 1966

Series II: Finance

Proposed Operating Budget, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1968
Debt Limit Increase Resource Material, 1965, 1967
Miscellaneous Treasurer's Report, 1965

Series III: Correspondence


Series IV: Publications

West Philadelphia Directory of Commission Organizations, 1966-1967
Joseph Priestly Science Center, 1966
Report of 7-4-4 Program, 1966
Debt limit increase resource material, 1966
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, 1966
Powelton, Neighbors and West Philadelphia Corp, 1963, 1965
West Philadelphia High School - Action Research Project, 1961

Series V: Projects

Box 2

Junior High Schools, 1964-1967
Right to Read Campaign, 1970
Proposed Building Program, 1962, 1964-1965
Special Education Programs, 1967-1968
Home Rule Charter Amendment, 1967
Election Material, 1968
Special Projects, 1963, 1965-1967, 1969

Series VI: Other Organizations

Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, 1965- 1969, 1971
Philadelphia Fair Housing Commission, 1965
Paschall Betterment League, 1967

Series VII: File Copies

All mimeo material, 1961-1968

Series VIII: Newspaper Clippings


Series IX: Miscellaneous

Art Work, n.d.
Norristown Grassroots Network, n.d.
Notes, clippings, letters, 1962, 1964-1968