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Addressing childhood trauma takes a village

By Lauren Wiley on Jul 29, 2015 10:45 AM

Have you watched the Notebook documentary, Glen’s Village? Were you moved by the story of Glen’s journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the University of Pennsylvania?

The Philadelphia Public School Notebook is seeking to bring Glen's Village to a wider audience – particularly to education professionals and advocates who work with children affected by trauma. We are raising funds to distribute the film by launching our first crowd-funding campaign at

Glen’s Village, produced by the Notebook and 5th Borough Films, immerses viewers in Glen's West Philadelphia neighborhood and the nearby Penn campus in University City. Although just a few blocks apart, the two communities might as well be separated by oceans. Glen's journey from being a 9th-grade troublemaker dealing crack cocaine on the streets to attending an Ivy League institution is filled with bumps, bruises, and redemption.

Text messaging: A proven strategy for parental engagement

By Fabiola Cineas on Jul 30, 2015 12:24 PM

It was near the end of the school year, and parent Heather McFadyen thought her honor-roll son Jonathon was doing fine as he cruised toward finishing 8th grade at LaBrum Middle School in the Northeast. 

But then her phone lit up with a text message from his teacher, Sandra Knight.

It was a reminder to check her child’s grade book, where she saw Jonathon had missed some assignments. She got on his case.

Pa. early-childhood programs stretched to financial limit, study finds

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jul 29, 2015 11:35 AM

Common sense might suggest that the best early-childhood programs would do better financially.

But a new study finds that providers in Southeastern Pennsylvania have little fiscal incentive to reach for high quality.

A Nonprofit Finance Fund study of nearly 150 early-care and education programs in the Philadelphia area found that all of them – no matter their quality rating – operated on razor-thin margins.

So for operators, it's more of a moral choice than a fiscal one to offer robust programming run by college-educated, certified teachers.

Summer activities for kids and families | Week of July 27

By the Notebook on Jul 28, 2015 02:14 PM


Come to World Cafe Live to give kids a chance to see other kids’ talent in action at the School of Rock AllStars performance. The show is made up of young music students who have performed multiple concerts and who their school plugs as “simply some of the best young musicians in the country.” The show starts at 7 p.m.

Tuesday night in Gorgas Park is filled with fun for kids. First, there’s a kid-friendly concert by Philly band The Plants. Then, at 7 p.m. snacks and activities will be available while kids wait for the sun to go down and the screening of Big Hero 6 to begin.


This summer, Shakespeare in Clark Park is presenting The Winter’s Tale every day from July 29 to Aug. 2. The free show will entertain audiences with the comic and tragic story about royals Leontes and Polixenes. The show features established Philadelphia actors alongside blossoming child actors.

P.M. @ P.M. comes back to the Penn Museum on Wednesday for a night of dancing and music from El Caribefunk, a band from Colombia that blends Caribbean music with funk and salsa. The event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. and is free for kids under 6 and museum members, $10 for older non-members.

As budget standoff continues, House speaker urges override of Wolf veto

By Mary Wilson for WHYY/NewsWorks on Jul 27, 2015 04:26 PM

The top House Republican says he'll try to override the governor's budget veto if negotiations don't starting yielding consensus.

"We have to look at overriding if we're not going to have a substantive discussion," said House Speaker Mike Turzai during his appearance Monday at the Harrisburg Press Club luncheon.

Turzai said an override should be the "goal" of the GOP-controlled legislature, though he's not sure whether such a move would have the votes to pass.

Gentle introductions to our elders

By Christopher A. Brown on Jul 24, 2015 11:58 AM

National Senior Citizens Day is Aug. 21. To celebrate the golden-agers in our lives, let’s take a look at three books that prominently feature elderly characters.

Grandpa Green

In a touching book that examines the concepts of generational history, oral tradition, memory, and love, Grandpa Green, by Lane Smith, sweetly portrays the story of a boy and his great-grandfather.

Concerns and 'nuanced' case for merging two low-performing schools

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jul 24, 2015 10:03 AM

In the old Kensington High School building, two distinct schools have their own budgets, principals and classes. There's even a physical barrier, a kind of wall between the two spaces.

Essence Whiting, a rising sophomore at one of the schools, Kensington Urban Education Academy, said there are doors in the wall, but students stay on their own sides. She said she prefers Kensington Urban -- which has just over 300 students -- and relationships she has there over her old middle school, where the grades were three times as large.

Two more Philly educators disciplined in cheating investigation

By David Limm on Jul 23, 2015 03:55 PM

Two more Philadelphia educators have been disciplined in the multiyear investigation into cheating on the state's standardized tests.

Darlynn L. Gray, 54, a former principal of Delaplaine McDaniel Elementary School, and Ellen Berson, 45, a former assistant principal at McDaniel, surrendered their educator's licenses earlier this year. 

They are alleged to have "violated the integrity and security of the PSSA exams," according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education's list of teacher certification actions. 

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