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December 12, 2006


PHILADELPHIA - School District of Philadelphia officials hosted a joint press conference with the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) to officially announce plans for the PCL to join the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) on Monday, December 11, 2006 at 10:00 a.m. at the District's Education Center, 440 N. Broad St.

In making the announcement Bishop McFadden, who oversees Catholic education in the Archdiocese said, "The Philadelphia Catholic League has an 86-year tradition of excellence on and off the field of play. We believe that this partnership advances those years of tradition and will positively affect the students of the Philadelphia region."

Most Reverend Joseph P. McFadden, Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia announced that the Archdiocesan high schools within the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) will petition the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) to join District XII of the School District of Philadelphia. Bishop McFadden was be joined by Paul Vallas, CEO of the School District of Philadelphia, Martin Bednarek, Commissioner of the School Reform Commission; and Bradley R. Cashman, PIAA Executive Director.

School District of Philadelphia officials also expressed their enthusiasm for the new alignment. "PCL student athletes will now be afforded improved sporting and scholarship opportunities statewide," said Paul Vallas, School District of Philadelphia CEO."

District XII of the PIAA is comprised of a total of 58 participating schools, with 45 Philadelphia high schools and 13 charter schools. The Philadelphia Catholic League includes 17 of the 20 Archdiocesan Catholic high schools, as well as several private Catholic schools. Archdiocesan Catholic high schools educate approximately 21,000 students.

"We are truly excited to host this historic event and welcome the addition of the PCL with open arms into the PIAA District XII," said School Reform Commissioner Martin Bednarek.

Also attending the news conference were five student sophomore athletes from Archdiocesan schools teams that have previously won the Catholic League Championship in various fall sports. When these students are seniors, teams that win Catholic League Championships will then be able to compete with PIAA teams.

Archdiocesan high schools that are members of the PCL will petition the PIAA and the District XII committee to join as of July 1, 2008. The 2007-2008 school year will be a transition period, where all PCL competitions, schedules and guidelines will be conducted under the rules, regulations and policies of the PIAA during that year.

"We are very pleased to be announcing the historic partnership with the PIAA. The Archdiocese would like to thank Paul Vallas for this opportunity and state Representative Gene DiGirolamo, the chair for legislative oversight of the PIAA, for his insight and constant support," said Bishop McFadden said.

An exploratory meeting was held on March 28, 2006 at the Archdiocesan Office Center between officials of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, Inc. (PIAA) and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Office of Catholic Education to discuss the possibility of the Philadelphia Catholic League joining the Association. The committee was comprised of Archdiocesan administrators, high school presidents, principals and athletic directors, who offered recommendations to the Office of Catholic Education and to Bishop McFadden.

The School District of Philadelphia is the nation's seventh largest public school district, with approximately 200,000 students in grades K through 12 in more than 260 schools. Beginning in September of 2006, for the first time in thirty years, the School District of Philadelphia will unveil four new innovative high schools, including High School of the Future, Academy at Palumbo, Constitution High School, and the Franklin Institute's Science Leadership Academy in the same 2006-2007 school year as part of its $1.5 billion Capital Plan and sweeping education reform originally announced in 2003 The goal is to provide more school choice in high schools, academic support programs for struggling students and exemplary programs in every neighborhood secondary school.

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Matthew Gambino
Associate Director

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