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New principals for Cook-Wissahickon, Lea, KCAPA, Kensington Business

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 26, 2014 05:04 PM

With more than 40 schools opening in a week with new principals, the District has filled vacancies at Lea and Cook-Wissahickon elementaries and at Kensington CAPA and Kensington Business.

Jennifer Duffy is the new principal at Lea. According to a bio posted on the school's site, she was born and went to college in South Africa and most recently worked in the District's Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs. She is also a member of the Philadelphia Writing Project.

More accountability for teachers? Why none for District leaders?

By Lisa Haver on Aug 26, 2014 04:35 PM

Lisa Haver is a retired teacher, a member of the advocacy group Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools, and an inveterate presence at School Reform Commission meetings. During a recent meeting, the first of the school year, she used her allotted three minutes of public testimony time to speak on a proposed contract related to implementing the state's new accountability system tying teacher evaluations to student achievement, which the SRC later approved. Haver asked the SRC members, "Is accountability applicable only to those in the classrooms? Why do we not hold those in leadership positions accountable?"

Below is a copy of her written testimony.

We are beginning another school year in which teachers and other school professionals will not be provided with anything close to what they need to do their jobs. 

Schools again rely on first-time principals to overcome budget crisis

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 26, 2014 12:23 PM

"Why on earth would you want to work in the Philadelphia School District?"

It's the question the leader of city schools has been using to grill principal candidates all summer long.

The future of city schools rests with you fearless, bike-pedaling millennials

By Christine Carlson on Aug 26, 2014 10:00 AM

Frequent Inquirer contributor Clark DeLeon recently wrote that he “has given up on the Philadelphia public schools." He asks why any young person would want to send their kids to a public school here and wonders where the fearlessness of “the endless stream of young, hip parents biking their helmeted toddlers through Center City traffic or adjoining neighborhoods” goes when it comes time to choose a school.

I’m not a millennial (I was born at the tail end of the baby boom), but I can answer his question.

MLK Cougars featured on ESPN's SportsCenter all week [video]

By Brian Hickey for NewsWorks on Aug 25, 2014 01:30 PM

The Martin Luther King High School Cougars football team returns to the spotlight this week, when it will be featured in "Hell Week" segments on ESPN's SportsCenter program.

This comes a year after the team, which won its first ever Public League title in 2013, was featured in the documentary We Could Be King, which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

A guide to education resources in North Philly now available

By Marilyn Vaccaro on Aug 25, 2014 01:27 PM

Finding educational resources just got a lot easier for families living in North Philadelphia east of Broad Street, thanks to a new guide from the Latino-focused community group Congreso.

Called the Eastern North Philadelphia Resource Guide, the 26-page booklet provides a comprehensive list of educational programs and services in the region, which includes six zip codes (see boundaries below). Many of them have high school dropout rates that are among the highest in the city.

What happens to free school lunches during summer break?

By Aaron Mendelson for WHYY/NewsWorks on Aug 22, 2014 02:53 PM

With school just a few weeks away, some kids are soaking up the final, carefree days of summer. Yet for many children, summer can mean going hungry.

Schools in Ferguson suspend Black students at higher rates than peers

By Evie Blad for Education Week on Aug 22, 2014 12:10 PM

Black people in Ferguson, Mo. — where a police officer fatally shot an unarmed Black teenager Aug. 9 -- are more likely to be arrested by local police officers than their White peers. Those statistics have sparked a mistrust of the mostly White police force that added fuel to passionate protests that have followed the death of Michael Brown, 18.

Those racial disparities are also present in schools in Ferguson, where Black students are more likely to face some forms of discipline than their White peers, federal statistics show.

From the archives: A principal's tale of two schools: city and suburban

By thenotebook on Aug 22, 2014 11:26 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 is from the Spring 2000 print edition:


by Nancy J. McGinley

When I left my job as a middle school principal in the School District of Philadelphia to become principal of a suburban junior high school, the first major difference appeared in the form of a $20,000 increase in my annual salary.

Head of teachers' union holds outdoor 'office hours'

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on Aug 22, 2014 09:27 AM

The head of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers held office hours al fresco yesterday at School District headquarters.

Jerry Jordan had to stay past the two-hour window he allotted to talk to members of the teachers' union outside District headquarters. He says his members are frustrated and are hoping someone will help.

Hite hopes to avoid transportation cuts

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 21, 2014 08:05 PM

Superintendent William Hite said that some 7,500 Philadelphia high school students may not lose their transportation subsidy back and forth from school after all.

"We are working with several partners, and we think and are hopeful we will have a solution on that," Hite said at a Thursday evening meeting of the School Reform Commission. "Stay tuned."

Through last year, students who lived more than 1.5 miles from their high schools were entitled to free student SEPTA TransPasses.

Woes of Philly schools cannot be overstated, Sen. Hughes declares

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 21, 2014 07:40 PM

It's all been written before. The Philadelphia School District was in brutal financial shape last year.

Overfilled classrooms.

Guidance counselors and nurses nonexistent in schools on many days.

Cash available only for the barest of supplies and supports.

Still, "it needs to be discussed over and over and over again," said Pennsylvania Sen. Vincent Hughes at a Thursday news conference. "This is not how you achieve a 21st-century education."

Flanked by a teacher, a parent, a student, a building maintenance worker and his colleague State Sen.

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