The Notebook is finding time in its busy schedule for more activities to bring together members and readers. Two such events were held in the fall.
On November 30 at the National Mechanics bar in Old City, the Notebook held its first-ever edition-release happy hour.
In a casual, after-work atmosphere, those attending celebrated the publication of the Notebook's December edition, with great conversations, food and drink, and a raffle drawing. About 50 readers, friends, supporters, staff, and board members came out. Notebook members were rewarded with a free drink.
National Mechanics provided a great space, delicious snacks, and a welcoming presence.
Also in November, the Notebook and Teacher Action Group hosted a presentation and discussion titled "Cheating or Resistance? Teaching and Learning in a Time of Testing." Conversation focused on the growing national issue of cheating on high-stakes standardized tests.
Notebook reporter Benjamin Herold described the Notebook's 2011 coverage of a previously unreported 2009 state forensic analysis of possible cheating on the state PSSA exam. The Notebook has been unsuccessful so far in getting the Pennsylvania Department of Education to release results of subsequent analyses it commissioned looking for irregularities on the 2010 and 2011 state tests.
Other panelists discussed the intense pressure on teachers and students to prepare for standardized tests used for accountability purposes under No Child Left Behind, expressing concerns about the impact of that pressure in Philadelphia classrooms.
Check the Notebook blog for announcements of more happy hours and events in 2012.