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New research consortium to focus on Philly's District and charter schools

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 19, 2014 06:59 PM

A first-of-its-kind research partnership that could prove highly influential to Philadelphia's public schools was announced Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC) – funded by a three-year, $900,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation – will "provide research and analyses on some of the city's most pressing education issues" for the city's District and charter sectors.

The nonprofit Research for Action will act as the consortium's home base.

Talking summer learning loss with PhillyCAM

By Dorian Geiger on Aug 19, 2014 02:31 PM

In late July, Notebook editor Dale Mezzacappa and I appeared on PhillyCAM’s Around the Corner, a public access talk show that highlights nonprofit organizations in Philadelphia.

The show's host, Albert Lee, spoke with us about “Summer Lost: Stopping the Slide,” the Notebook’s multimedia series focusing on the phenomenon of summer learning loss in Philadelphia, which has been running since early June.

Philadelphia’s moral arc is bent toward justice

By Judy Robbins on Aug 19, 2014 12:07 PM

We Philadelphians have a special kind of love for this old city. It is a love rooted in family, food, neighborhoods, and, yes, our schools. As a “lifer” in the Philadelphia School District, from 1999 to 2012, I have a vested interest in its future.

Over the last two years, I’ve observed the District’s budget crisis from the comfort of my computer screen in my dorm room at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But this past May I traveled 400 miles back home and took action alongside hundreds of other Philadelphians who refuse to accept the meager hand being dealt to Philly students.

Students left on corner as District reduces busing service

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 18, 2014 05:59 PM

"Transportation is a privilege, not a right," says the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Last week, the Philadelphia School District announced that 7,500 fewer high school kids would be so honored.

The move came as the District announced that it would close its $81 million budget gap with a mishmash of cuts and hopes.

School registration now open for District students

By thenotebook on Aug 18, 2014 04:09 PM

The end of summer approaches, with the first day of school inching closer. Parents and guardians should make sure students are registered at their assigned schools before the official start of the year on Sept. 8.

Now until Sept. 5, registration for students in the Philadelphia School District is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m. Registration is closed on weekends and for Labor Day observance on Sept. 2.

Plan would require more Pa. charter teachers to be certified

By Mary Wilson for New​sWorks on Aug 18, 2014 11:49 AM

Traditional public schools and charter schools don't have the same rules when it comes to teacher certifications, but one new proposal would bring the two types of schools a little closer together.

All professional staff at traditional public schools in Pennsylvania are required to be certified by the state. Contrast that with charter and cyber-charter schools, which are only required to have 75 percent of their teachers state-certified.

Forthcoming legislation from State Rep. Thomas Murt, R-Montgomery, would increase that requirement to 80 percent.

Shorter school year is off the table; District offers cuts to close budget gap

By Kevin McCorry for WHYY/Newsworks on Aug 15, 2014 07:00 PM

Philadelphia's public schools will open on time and – for the time being – mass layoffs will be averted.

Superintendent William Hite made the announcement Friday morning after a month during which he offered both options as a way to cover the District's $81 million budget gap.

The District is banking on the assurance of top Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg that Pennsylvania will pass legislation authorizing the $2-per-pack Philadelphia cigarette tax in mid-September.

If so, the District expects revenue collections will begin Oct. 1 and generate $49 million for the District this school year.

5 things to know about the District's decision to open schools on time

By Paul Socolar on Aug 15, 2014 11:43 AM

Flanked by four members of the School Reform Commission, Superintendent William Hite announced Friday morning that Philadelphia schools would open on time Sept. 8, but that another round of "difficult and hopefully temporary" cuts would be made to narrow the District's $81 million deficit.

Here are five key points about the School District's latest plan for dealing with its budget gap.

1. Temporary cuts and budget adjustments totaling $32 million were announced. These include discontinuing TransPasses for 7,500 high school students who live less than two miles from school, eliminating 300 slots in alternative programs for students at risk of dropping out, making 27 more elementary schools share police officers, reducing school cleaning and repairs, cutting extra professional development time at the District's Promise Academies, and eliminating some administrative positions. "These are cuts we want to treat as temporary," Hite said. "We want to restore them."

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