Letter from Directors of City Trust


Letter from Directors of City Trust

A letter from Ronald Donatucci 

Article by Martha Woodall in philly.com regarding the letter – click here to read

New President Announced


The Philadedphia Tribune in today’s issue of June 8th  included the following announcement of the appointment of Girard’s new interim president, Mr. Clarence Armbrister.

From what we read of Mr. Armbrister, he appears to be eminently qualified for the position. Strong leadership is needed at Girard during these trying times and we hope he has the courage to utilize his skills for the benefit of the school and the students.  

Following is the article from the Philadelphia Tribune


Clarence D. “Clay” Armbrister, former senior vice president and chief of staff of The Johns Hopkins University, Mayor Michael Nutter’s chief of staff and executive vice president and chief operating officer of Temple University, has been appointed president of Girard College.

Meet the new President of Girard College


Proposal Specs for Facilities Condition Assessment Conditions



What kind of future does the BDCT expect? Take a look

Letter to the Girard Community from Ronald Donatucci


May 8, 2012

To the Girard Community:

I am writing to update you about two important issues, each of which
has stirred interest- and unfortunately more than a little misinformation -
relative to the future of Girard College.

As undoubtedly you are aware by now, the Board of City Trusts has
accepted with regret the resignation of President Autumn Graves, which will
take effect on June 301“, On behalf ofthe Board, I want to congratulate
President Graves for her hard work and dedication to Girard over the three
years of her tenure. While our preference would have been for Autumn to
remain as President, we respect her decision and wish her continued success
in both her family and professional life in the future.

In the wake of her decision to resign, the Board has appointed a
member committee to lead the search for an interim successor. That
committee will be chaired by Bernard Smaìley, the head ofthe B0ard’s
Girard College Committee, and its members will be BOCT members Lynette
Brown-Sow and Stephen R. Wojdak, together with Girard College Board of
Managers Chairman Peter Shoemaker ’60, and member Steven Piltch, who is
the Head of School at The Shipley School.

These five individuals will review the credentials of more than a
dozen potential applicants, choose candidates to be interviewed, and
thereafter make recommendations on selection to the Board of City Trusts.
We anticipate that this process, which is already underway, can be completed
by the end of the school year. Our goal is to have an interim successor in
place prior to President Graves’ departure. A Search for a permanent
Successor will occur thereafter.

I also want to take this opportunity to provide additional details about
the decision, announced recently by President Graves, to reduce the Girard
workforce by eight positions – including six teaching staff and two
Residential Advisors. As you know, the economic recession continues to
wreak havoc at public and private schools all across the nation, and Girard is
no exception. Faced with these challenges, Girard has no choice but to


reduce its student population as well as the teaching and residential staff
needed to care for the children. It is my understanding that the layoffs were
conducted in conformance with the terms of the current labor contracts at

These are painful decisions involving valued employees with
significant service time who care deeply about Girard. But the decision to
reduce operating costs is a necessary part of the plan for the long­term
recovery_ of the Girard Estate. That said, I want to be clear: While the Board
is still gathering facts to guide its decisions about the future of Girard, and
while there likely will be other difficult decisions in the months ahead, the
Board is absolutely committed to growing Girard College again when the
E.state’s investments recover in the years to corne. Finally, in response to
rumors that have circulated about the possible closing of the school, let me
say as plainly as possible: The Board of City Trusts has absolutely no plan to
close or move Girard College. To the contrary, we remain committed to
doing everything possible to ensure that Girard will remain open and at its
present location for many years to come.

I want to assure you that the Board is committed to keeping the entire
Girard community students and families, teachers and staff, alumni and all
other stakeholders – fully informed about the decisions we will make in the
coming months to insure the long-term health of the Estate and the College.

I look forward to working together on behalf of the school that means
so much to all of us in Philadelphia.

Ronald R. Donatucci
Board of Directors of City Trusts

Girard Estate tax case goes to Pa. high court

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Philadelphia Inquire story by Joseph N. DiStefano


 Immigrant millionaire Stephen Girard’s 1830 will has benefited generations of Pennsylvanians: students at Girard College, the free North Philadelphia boarding school his legacy still supports, and the lawyers who have been fighting over the will and Girard Estate funds since his death.

Read more:http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20120506_Philly_Deals__Girard_Estate_tax_case_goes_to_Pa__high_court.html#ixzz1uCkNkDKe 
Watch sports videos you won’t find anywhere else

Handling a Hostage Situation – Behind the Walls


Autumn Adkins Graves has contractual obligations to the Girard Estate through the end of the day on June 30, 2012. In order to best prepare the students, faculty, staff, and families of Girard College, we have put together this guide to help all involved to handle what we see as a hostage situation. It may sound extreme , but it has become clear to us that the only one making decisions at Girard College right now is Graves and many of those decisions seem dangerous. It is important to protect yourself!

→Have a route of escape in mind.

If you have not started looking for a job, you should. There are several high quality schools who would actually value your credentials and experience. Check the www.nais.org site as well as www.teachphilly.org and www.pareap.net. Leaving Girard is difficult but keep in mind that there are children everywhere who need competent teachers. You would be amazed at what it is like to work at a school filled with competent and appreciative leaders.

Stay calm. Make a conscious effort to breathe to maintain the flow of oxygen to the brain and extremities.

You are not the problem here, it’s the leadership. Resist the temptation to blame yourself or to sacrifice what you have spent a career building. You do not need to compromise your morals for this person, though some you once respected have done so.

Comply immediately with all instructions and demands. Stay alert and dismiss any idea of escaping or being a hero. Remain in position as instructed, however uncomfortable.

Look the captor directly in the face only when directed to do so. Address her with respect and answer all questions briefly and to the point. Speak clearly and calmly. Resist any demonstration of anger.

Be as agreeable as possible. Remember that hostage-takers sometimes look for potential victims, so give no reason to be singled out.

We are all potential victims in this game that she plays. If you are a student, maintain good grades and behavior. If you are faculty or staff, make sure that you follow your contractual obligations.

Pay attention to the surroundings. Assess potential escape routes in the event visibility is obscured.

It is always possible that someone may come to the rescue.

Leave everything behind except your cell phone (do not worry about purses or book bags – those will only slow you down.

If you have not already done so, clear the campus of any large personal items. Some victims have been escorted off campus by security with no opportunity to pack their belongings.

Do not stop to assist wounded victims or attempt to move them. Do tell the others where these victims are located.

You have to take care of yourself first. Register for unemployment benefits. Retain legal counsel. Very little has been done right over the last three years and it is likely that you will have recourse. Once you are safe, you are better able to be an encouragement to others. Put in your intent to bump.  Remember, a new president will arrive on July 1st.  Who knows what his/her ideas could be.

Behind the Walls

GC Board of Trustees should look before they leap


By Mahleah Chicetawn

There was a time at Girard College when they went about their daily task of educating children quietly; the media wasn’t reporting about the college and reporters weren’t interviewing anyone associated with them.

All that changed with the hiring of Autumn Graves as president. Not only did she engage the media in writing puff pieces about her, but she made sure that every article that the Philly Tribune wrote mentioned a rather unsavory period of the college’s history – when minorities weren’t allowed.

Click here to read more.

Girard College President Graves believes she’s above the law


Another article by Mahleah Chicetawn.

For the staff and students at Girard College June 30, 2012, Autumn Graves last day, it might as well be June 30, 2020; her departure can’t come soon enough.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Girard College President Graves believes she’s above the law – Philadelphia School bullying | Examiner.com

Blogging Onward – Dick Clark Would Be Proud

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The late Dick Clark featured a Top Ten segment on Bandstand. It listed the most popular songs of the day and was a highlight of the show for his teenage dancers.  Well, we’re kinda getting the same feeling from this blog thing. What started out as a message board hoping to attract 100 or so people daily, reached the point yesterday of having over 900 people visit the site!!

We recall our initial reluctance in even getting involved in something like this.  We did so primarily to gain exposure for an article we had written titled A Hummer’s View. Originally, we intended to publish the article as the June 2011 issue of the Steel & Garnet, but that was thwarted by our termination as alumni director in May 2011. (That’s another story)

Anyway, after mailing copies of the article to people who we thought would be interested in reading about GC, it was suggested to us by Joe DiStefano of the Philadelphia Inquirer that we post the article online for reference purposes. Joe obviously doesn’t know of our technological shortcomings.  An old Girard friend came along, fortunately,  and put us on the WordPress.Com  track. So, here we are.

We don’t pretend to be anything more than what we are; a vehicle for people to express their feelings about a school they love. As Martin Luther King Jr. so aptly put it, ” Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”  That’s our mantra.

 We face an opposition that is both arrogant and  concerned only with their self interests. We promise to be anything but silent ! We will not rest until the welfare of Girard College and its students become the principal concern once again of the Board of City Trusts.

So turn up the jukebox Dick, we’re going to rock around the clock!

ahummersview is upset

Lead By Example


On April 20th, 2012 I walked into the auditorium for the Upper School’s crossover. As usual, breakfast was sub-par and the thing that was on my mind most was getting through my day and going home to relax. But that is not how my day went.

I walked into my first period class, excited to start the project that lay ahead of me. And then, all of a sudden, the atmosphere in the room was drastically altered. It was an eerie, morose feeling of loss and confusion. I remember that feeling as it came to me the previous year around the same time; the time when teachers were being laid off. I looked up at my teacher as the look on his face matched mine. I felt his pain, his anguish and worst of all, neither of us could help each other. The inevitable had happened. The layoffs had begun.

Never has news hit the hallways of Girard College and disrupted a school day the way this news did. I walked through the halls and looked at my fellow classmates as some shed tears for the loss of their favorite teachers. Feeling as though there was nothing I can do I went to one of the teachers and asked her if everything was alright. She responded with a simple, and honest, no. She wasn’t the only one. All of the teachers said the same thing to the students. “No, everything is not ok, but do not worry.” And to the seniors, being the leaders of the Upper School, were given one solid piece of advice; “Lead by example, everything will be alright.”

When I started my education at Girard , I heard a plethora of information about the teachers. I heard about how in eleventh grade I would take a class with, arguably, one of the most dedicated and well educated teachers in the whole high school. I heard about how I would be in the  class of one of the nicest and most capable math teachers, who could make you understand the most impossible seeming math equations. I heard about how I could expect help if even the most capable of math teachers could not help me to solve mathematical equations. I heard about how I would have the option to learn more about the world of technology and programming; but not anymore. Now I am asking what happens next. These individuals served as pillars for many behind the walls. The continuity of seeing the same people year after year has served as a comfort for many of the students at Girard.

Since Ms. Graves started, her program decisions started to chip away at our institution, at our home, at our traditions and values…at those pillars. Each year, respected and loved teachers started to go and this year is no exception. As things stand as I write this, students on a “fit campus” can look forward to one health/pe teacher from first to twelfth grade. Students who aspired to working in the technology field in the future had their dreams extinguished with the elimination of technology courses. For the students who go to the library and are greeted with the cheerful assistant of the human resource available to help them with projects and research papers, they can say goodbye to that. Let us not forget about the promise made to the students, by the administration might I add, to increase the SAT scores. How can that happen with a decrease in the math teachers employed by the school? With one less math teacher, and specialist, how can the students expect to get the attention that they need mathematically.  It seems to me that with the decrease in math teachers, and the specialist, that the teachers will have more classes and students to worry about, creating a cramped and unfocused classroom environment. Not to mention what kind of stress this will put on the teachers. I worry for the younger students and their test grades when a math job as well as the math specialist job was eliminated. What can the students look forward to? Well, being foreign language experts!

These are the words of a firm believer in the truth. Take this how you may but I implore you to read every line clearly and understand that Ms. Graves did exactly what she said. She resigned from her position and “made a statement”, and as she made her statement, I led by the example that has been set by my predecessors and those people who continue to do so to this day; I wrote my story. Maybe it’s time to write yours?

a concerned student

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