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Journalists back Neshaminy student paper's refusal to print mascot name

By Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks on Oct 15, 2014 10:51 AM

The national spotlight is once again shining on the student editors of Neshaminy High School and, specifically, the word Redskins.

Some of the country's top journalism groups are rounding up support for the Bucks County teens who vowed last fall not to print the name of Neshaminy's decades-old mascot because they found it outdated and offensive.

Notes from the news, Oct. 15

By the Notebook on Oct 15, 2014 09:43 AM

Health care concessions a tough pill to swallow for city teachers. NewsWorks

Philly parents' complaints not about curriculum, argues Pa. education chief. NewsWorks

Philadelphia Teachers Hit by Latest Cuts. NY Times

Philadelphia's schools have been singled out by Pa. for unfair treatment. Notebook

Democrats' last-ditch effort to kill SRC fails. Inquirer

Labor leaders weighed general strike over SRC action. Inquirer

What comes after SRC? Daily News

Hite comments as School District woes continue6ABC

Charters lack sufficient oversight. Daily News

“Guerilla” Marketing Firm Tapped to Counter-Protest Thursday’s SRC Demonstration in Forthcoming Anti-Union Campaign. The Declaration

Boyz II Men takes it back to school. Inquirer

Boyz II Men return to Philly high school for showAP

Boyz II Men perform at Philly alma materNewsWorks

An elected school board for Philly? No thanksNewsWorks

Letters: Everyone must pitch in for pupils. Daily News

How do we help our schools? Daily Pennsylvanian

Mifflin School in East Falls hosts its third annual community festival. NewsWorks

Education adviser Tomalis had no employment contract. Post-Gazette

Journalists back Neshaminy students' refusal to print mascot name in school paper. NewsWorks

News summary from Keystone State Education Coalition

Who's hiring teachers in Philly? For education job postings, visit

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Notes from the news

Health care concessions a tough pill to swallow for city teachers

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 14, 2014 06:48 PM

Speech and language pathologist Sonya Brintnall has been dreaming lately of the Pacific Northwest.

"I used to live in Oregon," she said. "I could go back there, and I could be poor and have nothing, but it would be beautiful."

Philly parents' complaints not about curriculum, argues Pa. education chief

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 14, 2014 06:02 PM

With resources stripped to bare-bones levels, parents in the Philadelphia School District filed more than 800 complaints last year with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The office has not investigated the claims, and last month the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia filed a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court on behalf of seven parents and the advocacy group Parents United for Public Education in an attempt to compel action.

On Friday, acting Pennsylvania Education Secretary Carolyn Dumaresq petitioned the court to dismiss the case.

Mifflin School in East Falls hosts its third annual community festival

By the Notebook on Oct 14, 2014 05:29 PM

Organizers of the third annual Mifflin School Community Festival persevered Saturday morning in the face of inhospitable weather and low community turnout, moving the day's programming inside to the auditorium and setting up the arts-and-crafts marketplace in a nearby hallway.

Alex Keating, a member of the Friends of Mifflin School Committee, said the elements presented a particularly formidable challenge for community organizations holding neighborhood events.

An elected school board for Philly? No thanks

By Dave Davies for NewsWorks on Oct 14, 2014 05:15 PM

The sad state of Philadelphia's public schools inspires fury, frustration, and now, from the Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf, a really bad idea for fundamental change.

Wolf recently proposed replacing the current five-member School Reform Commission that runs the schools with a locally elected school board.

I know Wolf means well. But establishing an elected school board in Philadelphia will not empower parents and their communities. It will put the selection of our school board members in the hands of the same people who pick judges, state legislators, sheriffs and city commissioners in this town: Democratic ward leaders.

Philadelphia's schools have been singled out by Pa. for unfair treatment

By Michael Masch on Oct 14, 2014 01:52 PM

Philadelphia public schools are in a financial crisis. They have been in crisis for the last three years.

Why has this happened? Where do we stand? What needs to happen next? These are the questions we face.

In addressing these questions, we should acknowledge that it is difficult to solve a problem if one is not clear about what the problem is. Even after years of upheaval and drama, there is some dispute as to the causes of our school budget crisis.

Some in our community maintain that the School District is in a budget crisis because it has a “structural deficit.” Others suggest that the crisis results from internal fiscal mismanagement. Still others claim that the crisis was caused by the withdrawal of federal stimulus funding.

Free fall workshops on restorative practices

By the Notebook on Oct 14, 2014 09:53 AM

Three workshops this fall will offer the chance to learn about restorative practices, a method of improving classroom learning environments and creating safer schools.

The one-day professional development workshops will be offered at the School District's Education Center at 440 N. Broad  St. from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on three Saturdays: Oct. 18, Nov. 8, and Dec. 20. The workshops are free to parents, students, Philadelphia residents, and staff of community organizations who live in Philly.

Save the dates: High school fair is this weekend

By Shannon Nolan on Oct 13, 2014 03:59 PM

The annual Philadelphia High School Fair will be held Friday and Saturday (Oct. 17 and 18) at the Armory at Drexel University on North 33rd Street, between Market and Cuthbert Streets.

More than 100 high schools from across the city will have booths that families, students, and caregivers can go to for information about school programs, extracurricular activities, admissions criteria, and how to apply. 

Protester who tried to make citizen's arrest of Corbett arrested

By Shannon Nolan on Oct 13, 2014 01:56 PM

The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign held a demonstration with parents, students, and teachers from Moffet, Masterman, and Penn Treaty schools at Gov. Corbett’s Philadelphia office late last week, in response to the School Reform Commission’s decision to cut teachers’ health benefits.

The action led to the arrest of parent and protest organizer Cheri Honkala.

Fact-checking the District's claims about the contract cancellation

By Paul Socolar on Oct 13, 2014 10:05 AM

Last Monday, the School Reform Commission voted to cancel the teachers' union contract and unilaterally change the health benefits for members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. After that action, PFT president Jerry Jordan charged that several of the official statements about the contract situation were "lies."  

Here is a look at some of the statements and issues in dispute, and what the Notebook has been able to find out about them.


PFT message: Come back to the table or we'll try to make you

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Oct 10, 2014 11:13 PM

Teachers' union officials wrapped up a whirlwind week of protests and rallies by calling Friday on the School Reform Commission to scuttle its plans to cancel the union’s contract and come back to the bargaining table.

“What has been created in Philadelphia is not good for the children,” said Jerry Jordan, head of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, as he sat before a host of Democratic legislators, union leaders, community advocates, and teachers.

Seeing the varieties of traumatic experience in Philadelphia's students

By Paul Jablow on Oct 10, 2014 04:42 PM

Linnea Hunter has changed the student behavior charts on the wall of her 3rd-grade class at Paul L. Dunbar Elementary School.

Marie Acevedo, a bilingual counselor at Lincoln High School, has installed a filter over the fluorescent lights in her office, giving it a softer, more welcoming atmosphere.

Denise Burrage, an autistic support teacher at Thomas K. Finletter School, said she has improved her communication with a hard-to-reach student, sensing his aversion to loud noise and the times when he wants to be complimented and those when he doesn’t.

All three are among the 102 School District of Philadelphia staffers from 69 schools to complete courses in the past year in trauma-informed care. This is a technical term for dealing with students by shifting the focus from “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”

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