For students in the Philadelphia School District, there is such a thing as a free lunch.
Starting this fall, the School District of Philadelphia will serve free breakfasts and lunches to all students, waiving the need for parents to submit a paper application proving their income is low enough to qualify.
The District's division of food services has transitioned to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Community Eligibility Provision — which allows districts that serve predominantly low-income students to discard the paper application.
Senator requests records on Tomalis. Post-Gazette
For the first time since the designation has been in place, zero Philadelphia School District schools have been deemed "persistently dangerous" by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
The label has been used since the creation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
In each of the last four years, reported violent incidents in the District have been on the decline.
Give students an opportunity. Inquirer
Following the school paper trail. Daily News
High School Students Could be Biking to School. Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
Local taxpayers pick up slack in state's basic ed subsidy. Third and State
There have been no meaningful teachers' contract negotiations all summer because District leaders have declined to schedule any talks, union leaders told several hundred members who came to a general membership meeting Tuesday.
Teachers are returning to school this week without a contract, facing bare-bones conditions in schools but still under pressure to agree to contract changes that would save the District about $30 million.
There's nothing there.
That's the conclusion that Martin Luther King High School principal William Wade has reached after looking into whether anyone in the community had ever recruited teens to join the school's football squad.
The sun is hot. Water is wet. Teenagers like to sleep in.
These truths we know to be self-evident.
The American Academy of Pediatrics embraced the body clocks of teens in a report last week, saying that classes for middle and high school students should start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
It's not just the adults who are concerned about the fiscal health of Philadelphia's public schools.
The youngsters who rely on the School District for an education are worried about the state of the system as well.
State Rep. Pam DeLissio invited some of those concerned students to speak alongside her during a sidewalk address Thursday evening outside of Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School in Roxborough.
The Rally for School Funding, as it was dubbed, was designed to raise awareness of the budgetary problems faced by the largest school district in Pennsylvania.
Charters still an issue. Inquirer
The Original Charter School Vision. NY Times
Alan Jacobs dropped out of Kensington High School at 16 and soon found himself locked up on a gun charge.
His mom, Emma Johnson, felt that her son had completely lost control of his life.
"He wanted to stand on the corner and make fast money," said Johnson. "We talked to him and we talked to him, and he was just headstrong. He wanted the streets."
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Last week, several Philadelphia clergy members of the interfaith organization POWER witnessed the growth of a powerful movement for racial equality in Ferguson, Mo.
After the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, our clergy colleagues traveled to Missouri to call for justice and listen to a community in grief. They marched nonviolently with thousands of black youth asking for fair treatment from law enforcement – and even more important, for a sign from their fellow Americans that their lives matter.
But as our clergy brothers and sisters returned home last week, they returned to another place where there is no dearth of racial injustice.
In a district roiled by budget cuts and layoffs, the new principal at Henry Lea Elementary is counting on a network of community supporters to help keep the West Philadelphia school on an even keel.
“The cuts are probably going to be the biggest challenge. How do you function, as a building, with less than we’ve ever had?” said Jennifer Duffy, a former District administrator hired just last week to run the 600-student school.
But, she said, “This school, more than any others I looked at, has a tremendous network.”
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 Summer 2000 print edition:
by Gordon Whitman
Six years into Children Achieving, data from the School District of Philadelphia indicate that only a small minority of students who enter 9th grade in the city's 22 neighborhood high schools graduate having completed the basic course work they need to enter college.