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As summer ends, promising start in push to curb learning loss

By Dorian Geiger on Sep 15, 2014 04:47 PM

Christopher Gale, a counselor at the Northeast Frankford Boys & Girls Club, had an ambitious goal this summer: Immerse his campers in 30 minutes of structured reading time every day.

He was motivated by the phenomenon known as summer learning loss, or summer slide, that is contributing to low literacy rates among Philadelphia’s children. 

Gale recently learned that when children aren’t engaged in some form of academic enrichment over the summer months, they lose months of knowledge and fall behind when they return to classes in the fall.

Pa. House's 'clean' cigarette-tax bill retains controversial charter element

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 16, 2014 03:15 PM

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives stripped contentious provisions from the Philadelphia cigarette-tax authorization bill in a rules committee meeting Tuesday, paving the way for a full chamber vote.

House leadership says that could occur either Wednesday or Monday.

The Philadelphia School District is counting on revenue from the $2-per-pack, city-only cigarette tax to begin flowing in the next few weeks to prevent more than 1,000 layoffs.

New online resource center aims to fill STEM mentorship gap

By Elana Gordon for NewsWorks on Sep 16, 2014 11:58 AM

Leaders across Philadelphia's public and private sectors have been scratching their heads over how to bring more low-income, female and minority students into the STEM careers -- science, technology, engineering, and math.

Hoping to expand access to these careers through a citywide mentoring initiative, Mayor Nutter announced the launch of a new online resource center and declared Monday to be "STEM Mentoring Day."

PCAPS protest targets Gov. Corbett's Philadelphia office

By thenotebook on Sep 15, 2014 04:19 PM

Culminating a week of daily protests, the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) held a rally Friday afternoon outside Gov. Corbett's office on South Broad Street to bring attention to the "brutal cuts" in state education funding that have hit Philadelphia for the last few years.

Directory of afterschool activities now accessible through Philly311 app

By Payne Schroeder on Sep 15, 2014 12:52 PM

After School Activities Partnerships (ASAP) has released its annual directory of afterschool programs. The directory, which is estimated to reach 150,000 households, includes more than 900 listings and thousands of afterschool opportunities aimed at keeping Philadelphia’s youth safe after the final class bells ring.

Philly schools counting on the end of cigarette-tax ping-pong match

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 15, 2014 09:36 AM

Will the ping-pong game finally come to a conclusion?

That's the question that Philadelphia education advocates are asking as Pennsylvania's legislature reconvenes Monday and promises to again consider authorizing a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes sold within city limits to help fund schools.

Corbett facing questions in Pa. House over education review

By Mary Wilson for New​sWorks on Sep 12, 2014 05:19 PM

Pennsylvania House lawmakers plan hearings to grill the Corbett administration on its plan to review state academic standards that implemented last March.

Gov. Corbett recently called for a review of the Pennsylvania Core Standards, so named because they blend national benchmarks called Common Core and objectives designed by commonwealth officials.

The confusion over education standards all goes back to their name, said State Rep. Seth Grove, R-York.

A closer look at student behavioral health issues

By Paul Jablow on Sep 12, 2014 12:58 PM

Student behavioral health is one of the major issues facing the Philadelphia School District, which for years has struggled to create a positive school climate, deal with “disruptive students,” and provide adequate student supports.

In the words of the local nonprofit Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, “the unrelenting stress caused by abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, extreme poverty, and other adverse childhood experiences can impact the way children learn, play, grow, and function through their lives.”

Over the course of this school year, the Notebook will be writing about that struggle. With support from the van Ameringen Foundation, we will make it the theme of our December issue and also post stories online throughout the year.

From the archives: Will schools opt to pick their teachers?

By thenotebook on Sep 12, 2014 10:19 AM

The Notebook was 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 this spring. 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, about the school system's first move toward site-based selection of teachers and expanded school-based decision-making, is from the Winter 2000-2001 print edition:

by Paul Socolar

The new teachers' contract agreement continues the District's recent practice of shifting important decision-making powers from the downtown office to schools.

Brand-new teacher looks forward to Friday, and also to Monday

By Kimberly Haas for NewsWorks on Sep 11, 2014 07:51 PM


First-week jitters are the norm when starting a new job. And when it's your first job after finishing school, you want to give it your all.

That's the case with Katherine Teevan. In her first week at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in South Philadelphia, she gave all her energy, enthusiasm ... and her voice to her new job as a second-grade teacher.

Carver High School to expand with grant from PSP

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 11, 2014 10:22 AM

In the face of its continuing budget crisis, the Philadelphia School District continues to show a willingness to invest in new options for its students.

Carver High School of Engineering & Science, a STEM-minded magnet school in North Philadelphia, plans to add 7th and 8th grades at the beginning of next year.

"The hope is really to create much more of a pipeline of STEM education in Philadelphia," said Carver principal Ted Domers.

The 120-student expansion is being supported by a $147,000 planning grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership.

We will not be silent: Parents want state accountability

By Helen Gym on Sep 11, 2014 09:38 AM

A child dealt with the death of a parent with no counselor available during a time of extreme distress.

A high school student started each period searching for desks and chairs because her classes were so overcrowded.

A 7-year-old with emotional and learning needs began regressing and scratched himself bloody during class because a classroom aide and full-time counselor were no longer available, as they had been the year before.

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