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District makes testing opt-out information more prominent

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 27, 2015 05:43 PM

School officials have responded to demands that they be more explicit in letting parents know that they have a right to opt out their children from taking standardized tests.

The steps are small, yet opt-out activists say that they are significant.

Philly ed tech

By

Eric Joselyn

on Mar 27, 2015 05:23 PM

Assistive technology is a needed tool in the city’s resource-starved schools

By

Maura McInerney

on Mar 27, 2015 12:01 PM

Imagine having no speech or hearing, only limited sight and no way of communicating with those around you. This was the isolated world of one of the Education Law Center’s clients, 9-year-old Billy (not his real name).

Billy is a child with multiple disabilities, including cerebral palsy, physical impairments, and an intellectual disability. His school days were long and lonely. Teachers and classmates did not understand or interact with him, and he could not communicate even his most basic needs.

What it takes to run the School District's IT department

By Marcus McMcarthy for Technically Philly on Mar 27, 2015 10:39 AM

There’s a lot of color in Scott Fry’s life.

He’s the manager of network operations at the School District of Philadelphia, one of the country’s biggest school districts. And for all the budget battles and bureaucratic blockades, somebody has to keep the servers running, the Internet connected, and administrative IT services in place.

Paying for high-quality pre-K is cast as investment in Pa.'s future

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Mar 26, 2015 08:31 PM

One Wednesday morning at the Paley Early Learning Center in Northeast Philadelphia, 4-year-old Quincy was learning how to write the letter 'L'. Tracing arrows with his finger, he repeated after his teacher the different parts of the letter: a long line and a short line.

District budget, if funded, would add $130 million directly to schools

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 26, 2015 04:07 PM

The SRC adopted a "lump sum" budget Thursday that assumes that more than $264 million in new revenue from the city and state will be delivered. The funding has been proposed by Gov. Wolf and Mayor Nutter, but is by no means guaranteed.

The District needs to use $85 million of that just to keep services at current levels, according to Chief Financial Officer Matthew Stanski. It plans to use the rest to restore money to schools and embark on some of Superintendent William Hite's new initiatives.

SRC adopts nearly $2.9B 'lump sum' budget for 2015-16

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 26, 2015 03:01 PM

The School Reform Commission met Thursday afternoon to vote on a $2.86 billion "lump sum" budget for next school year that includes nearly $265 million in new revenue, based on proposals from Gov. Wolf and Mayor Nutter that would funnel more money to the District.

The budget shows that the District expects to end this fiscal year on June 30 with a $6.9 million surplus, which it plans to spend down next year.

How Philadelphia compares with other big-city school districts

By

Paul Socolar

on Mar 26, 2015 12:57 PM

The fall 2014 edition of an annual report called Managing for Results in America’s Great City Schools provides data from 2012-13 comparing the School District of Philadelphia and about 40 other big-city school districts on key performance indicators for information technology.

Philadelphia’s results fell near the bottom among big-city districts nationally on most of the technology indicators.

Report gives District low technology ranking

By

Dan Hardy

on Mar 26, 2015 11:41 AM

The numbers tell the story: Philadelphia has all the markings of a technology-starved school district.

In a report released last fall on 2012-13 information technology benchmarks for about 40 of the school districts making up the Council of the Great City Schools, the School District of Philadelphia ranked second from the bottom in the average age of its computers: just over five years. A computer’s assumed useful life is about five years.

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