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Application cycle for new charter schools now open, District says

By thenotebook on Sep 3, 2015 04:23 PM

The School District of Philadelphia announced today that the 2015-16 application cycle for new charter schools is now open.

The application cycle applies to new, "non-Renaissance" charters. Those interested in launching a charter school can fill out an application online through the District’s Charter Schools Office. Deadline to submit an application is by 5 p.m. on Nov. 15.   

'Glen’s Village' wins best short documentary at AMFM Fest in Arizona

By the Notebook on Sep 3, 2015 11:34 AM

Since its release in May, Glen’s Village, a 30-minute documentary film that tackles the issue of childhood trauma, has gained attention locally from teachers, students, mental health specialists, and parents. Now, the film is winning acclaim outside of Philadelphia. In its festival circuit premiere, Glen’s Village received the Best Short Documentary Award at AMFM Fest: Flagstaff on Aug. 30 in Arizona.

Even with no pay, Chester Upland teachers and staff upbeat on first day of school

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Sep 2, 2015 08:50 PM

Last week, Chester Upland School District receiver Francis Barnes and Superintendent Gregory Shannon announced that the district doesn't have the funds to make payroll. Without dollars trickling down from the state, the district is in dire financial straits.

PSSA scores drop, as expected; Keystones largely flat

By Dale Mezzacappa on Sep 2, 2015 03:36 PM

Updated | 5:30 p.m.

Student proficiency rates in Philadelphia District schools in math and language arts dropped precipitously on PSSA tests in 2015 from the prior year, reflecting the rollout of a new test and following a statewide trend.

Just 17 percent of students grades 3 through 8 scored proficient in math, down from 46 percent the year before. In language arts, the rates went from 43 percent to 32 percent. Science stayed steady at 37 percent.

In a press release, the District said the new state tests "differ significantly from the tests given in 2014" and are based on "more challenging content and skills." It said that an "apples to apples" comparison is "not appropriate."

New CTE center will focus on higher-paying jobs in manufacturing


Greg Windle

on Sep 2, 2015 01:22 PM

There are nearly 16,000 advanced manufacturing jobs in Philadelphia, commanding an average annual salary of $48,236. Roughly half these jobs do not require a college degree.

But Philadelphia’s manufacturing employers are constantly scrambling to fill job vacancies, despite the city having about 412,000 residents living in poverty and an unemployment rate of 7.4 percent.

A new Center for Advanced Manufacturing will open at Benjamin Franklin High School this month in an effort to train students for these lucrative jobs.

Hoping for a year without reductions, closures, and cuts


Dale Mezzacappa

on Sep 1, 2015 01:54 PM

No state budget. Continuing labor strife. Conflict with City Council. Courts that block the School Reform Commission’s moves to control charter expansion. Student proficiency rates that tanked in the wake of a new, more difficult state test.

Despite these challenges, Superintendent William Hite, starting his fourth year in Philadelphia, says he is optimistic that he can move forward with an agenda for 2015-16 focused on expanding opportunity for all students – what he is calling “ensuring equity.”

CTE Success Stories: An HVAC mechanic who beat the odds

By Michaela Ward on Aug 31, 2015 02:31 PM

When Luis Maldonado first heard about the HVAC & Refrigeration Technology CTE program at Edison High School, he was simply passing his lunchtime with a friend who was already in the class.

“For lunch we’d hang out in the shop and he’d teach me what Mr. Zimak had taught him,” Maldonado recalled.  

This preview of the HVAC coursework led Maldonado to visiting CTE teacher James Zimak’s shop regularly. At the time, he thought CTE courses were a graduation requirement, so he signed up for Zimak’s class.

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