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Constitution High students march to Liberty Bell to protest Ferguson

By Shannon Nolan and Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 25, 2014 03:07 PM

Cimani Cox was sitting in English class when teacher Rob Hall brought up what had happened the night before in Ferguson -- a grand jury's decision not to indict Police Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

She decided she had to do something about it. After all, this is Constitution High School.

Before long, she had the support of principal Tom Davidson and teachers for a protest march. 

Reader feedback invited: Teaching about Ferguson in Philadelphia

By Paul Socolar on Nov 25, 2014 01:03 PM

Many Philadelphia students have yesterday's news on their minds today -- of the non-indictment in last summer's police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. And some teachers and schools have changed their plans for the day to give students an opportunity to respond.

The Notebook would like to hear from teachers, parents, and others about how you are engaging with young people about that news. Please share your experiences and thoughts in our comments.

Addressing childhood trauma in schools: Expert views

By Paul Jablow on Nov 25, 2014 12:36 PM

William Hite had not even started his first day as superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia in August 2012 when he called for changes in climate in the system’s classrooms and corridors.

At a principals' summit that month, Hite said, “We can't arrest our way to higher student achievement. … We can't suspend our way to higher student achievement. We can't arrest or suspend our way to safer schools.

“Sometimes that angry look, that stare, that inappropriate response, is a cry for help more so than anything else.”

Neff: SRC action on teachers' contract was unfair, but conditions in schools are unjust

By Marjorie Neff on Nov 24, 2014 12:27 PM

The School Reform Commission’s decision to cancel the contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and require teachers and staff to contribute to their health insurance premiums has been described as unfair. I agree.

I expect that my colleagues on the SRC feel the same way. But our decision was born in response to a larger and profound injustice being inflicted on Philadelphia’s children. 

When we describe something as unfair, we usually mean we think it’s wrong. When something is unjust, it goes beyond issues of fairness to violate a moral code. People of good will can disagree about whether requiring teachers and staff to contribute to health insurance premiums is the fair or right thing to do.

But there can be no argument that denying children basic conditions for learning is an injustice.  

Researcher delves into Adverse Childhood Experiences

By Paul Jablow on Nov 21, 2014 02:20 PM

Since the spring of 2013, Roy Wade has seen the impact of trauma on urban youth and adults in low-income neighborhoods from three vantage points.

One is from his Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia research office 13 floors above Market Street.

A second is from his pediatrics office in the Cobbs Creek section of West Philadelphia.

And the third is from his travels in the neighborhoods to such places as boys’ and girls’ clubs, YMCAs, community health centers, homeless shelters, primary care sites and behavioral health organizations.

Beers, bars and babies: Next generation of Philly school parents gets serious

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 21, 2014 12:59 PM

Dark bars, craft beers, cooing babies and a basic philosophical belief in the power of public education: Meet the new generation of urban-professional parents who just may be crucial to the long-term success of the Philadelphia School District.

At two separate evening events in the city this week, throngs of young, civically minded parents gathered at bars to drink in the pros and cons of sending their not-yet-school-aged children to the District's oft-beleaguered neighborhood public schools.

For Tom Wyatt, an attorney by trade, that neighborhood school would be Andrew Jackson Elementary.

From the archives: Policy 102: the District’s stated commitment to equity for all

By the Notebook on Nov 21, 2014 12:58 PM

The Notebook launched in 1994 as a newspaper committed to ensuring quality and equity in Philadelphia public schools. We celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first publication earlier this year. We are featuring an article from our archives each week, shedding light on both the dramatic changes that have taken place in public education and the persistent issues facing Philadelphia's school system.

This piece is from the Fall 2002 print edition:


by Shauna Brown

When the Philadelphia school board adopted the “Multiracial-Multicultural-Gender Education” policy known as Policy 102 on January 24, 1994, advocates of equity in education saw a glimmer of hope in a city and school system plagued by a long history of inequality and discrimination.

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