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From a parent to the SRC: An open letter

By Helen Gym on Feb 16, 2011 03:34 PM

Today’s Daily News reports that Superintendent Arlene Ackerman automatically receives a one-year contract extension on her current five-year deal unless she or the School Reform Commission gives notice by March 1.

Promise principals, hiring timeline released

By Anonymous on Feb 16, 2011 03:17 PM

The District announced the names of principals for the Promise Academies during the 2011-12 school year and the District's target timeline for hiring for the schools.

2nd annual TAG 'Justice in the Classroom' workshop

By Guest blogger on Feb 16, 2011 02:15 PM

This guest blog post is from Hanako Franz of TAG Philly.


Teacher Action Group is working hard to get teachers organized.

Our next event is happening this Saturday, February 19, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. at 1910 North Front Street (Front & Berks). The Restorative Justice Committee will be hosting our second annual "Justice in the Classroom" workshop.

Notes from the news, Feb. 16

By Anonymous on Feb 16, 2011 11:07 AM

notes from the news imageBig promises, big questions in S. Philly The Notebook blog
Universal Companies has big plans for the Grays Ferry and Point Breeze neighborhoods. Students at Audenried, which is slated to become a Universal-managed charter, walked out of school yesterday and protested at 440.

See also: This time, it's Audenried students who walk The Notebook blog
In defense of the new Audenried The Notebook blog
Audenried High students protest Philly School District's Renaissance plan The Inquirer
Students Speak Up and Walk Out Over Citywide Plans for Schools Philly Education Justice blog

Ackerman defers 100G bonus, adds no-pay time Daily News
In addition to doubling the number of planned furlough days, during which Ackerman will continue to work, she also decided to defer her retention bonus.

See also: Philadelphia schools chief pledges to double her furlough days The Inquirer
 Philly school chief taking 20 unpaid furlough days AP via The Times Leader
Ackerman To Take 20 Furlough Days Fox 29
Ackerman ups her furlough to 20 days The Notebook blog

DN Editorial: How did school deficit happen? Daily News
The Daily News editorial board calls on Mayor Nutter to get involved with galvanizing support for school funding in Philly.

School choice in Philadelphia: It's the Titanic solution Daily News (opinion)
The writer, a retired Philadelphia teacher, terms vouchers "the Titanic solution" because "there will never be enough seats on the educational lifeboat called 'choice.'"

Vouchers Hearing Today In Pa. Senate Fox 29
Ronald Tomalis, who Gov. Corbett nominated to be education secretary, will be among the people testifying today.

See also: Contact Members of the Senate Education Committee about SB 1 Keystone State Education Coalition
VOUCHERS - TOP BLOG POSTINGS Keystone State Education Coalition

Thank you, readers - we rely on you The Notebook blog
Thanks for your readership and comments--we had more than 100 comments on the site yesterday. We also need your financial support, would you join us as a member?

Germantown students find opportunities for success Philadelphia Tribune
This week's learning key includes pieces on Germantown High and its planned turnaround as a Promise Academy, Brandon Ford's trip to D.C., and a Central student's trip to Disney.

See also: West Philly student ‘ecstatic’ to meet Obamas Philadelphia Tribune
Central High senior gets celebrity help to reach her dream Philadelphia Tribune
SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PHILADELPHIA PARENT UNIVERSITY OFFERS PSSA WORKSHOPS Philadelphia Tribune

Día Internacional en Central High School Al Día

Youth Appreciation Award: Determined to succeed South Philly Review

TEDxPhilly Talk Practical Theory blog

Parents go Positive This Year at Jenks

Please email us if we missed anything today or if you have any suggestions of publications, email lists, or other places for us to check for news.

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Notes from the news

Ackerman ups her furlough to 20 days

By Anonymous on Feb 15, 2011 07:24 PM

Superintendent Arlene Ackerman will take 20 furlough days, rather than 10 as previously announced, according to a District press release. The furlough is part of Phase I of the District's plan for dealing with a budget shortfall expected to exceed $400 million.

Thank you, readers - we rely on you

By Anonymous on Feb 15, 2011 07:06 PM

With your support, we've had some of the highest traffic ever on our site over the past month. In the past week, we've had two days where we received 50+ comments - wow! Thank you for sharing your views. And thanks to all of you who are helping us spread the word about the Notebook, by telling your friends, emailing articles, or posting links on Facebook.

Our consistent coverage of Renaissance Schools, the budget crunch, and more is thanks to the hard work of many people and the support of a variety of funders. But you remain the most important piece to our financial and organizational sustainability.

Would you join us today as a member?

Big promises, big questions in S. Philly

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 15, 2011 04:17 PM

As part of its highly touted Promise Neighborhood planning initiative, Universal Companies has big plans for Audenried High School and Edwin Vare Middle School.

They’re just not saying very much about those plans yet.

Notes from the news, Feb. 15

By Anonymous on Feb 15, 2011 11:03 AM

notes from the news imageThis time, it's Audenried students who walk The Notebook blog
Breaking news this morning out of Audenried. About 40 students have gathered at 440 to protest plans for Audenried's turnaround.

See also: In defense of the new Audenried The Notebook blog

School district officials have created a very hot fiscal potato It's Our Money
Phil Goldsmith says the District was spending stimulus money in exactly the way that "federal officials warned against."

See also: Notes from the field-Create a Budget That Truly Puts All Children First City School Stories

Mastery to compete for Gratz, Clymer The Notebook blog
Mastery plans to focus its attention for the second year of Renaissance Schools development and not take on more new schools than it can handle - if the SACs choose Mastery as a provider.

School leaders tell lawmaker what they need to be effective Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Superintendent Ackerman was one of the leaders who testified about narrowing the racial achievement gap. The leaders said they need to be able to more easily remove ineffective teachers.

See also: With layoffs coming, it's time to stand up for seniority The Notebook blog

Process and promise at West Philly High The Notebook blog
A guest blog from a member of the West Philadelphia community explains how and why the process for turnaround has received so much resistance.

See also: Unrest at West Philadelphia High School The Daily Pennsylvanian

Fatimah Ali: Why Fatimah Ali changed her mind on Philadelphia school vouchers Daily News
Fatimah Ali describes how, even without the voucher bill, some students like her son are able to attend non-District schools, and that this opportunity should be opened up to more students.

Share Your Voice: SRC Start Time Adjusted A Broad View
This week's SRC meeting starts at 5 p.m.

Questions about the 144 failing schools list Keystone State Education Coalition

Assessment Equity: Pennsylvania's Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) A Broad View

J.B. Kelly Elementary School closed Tuesday Philly.com

Ackerman's memo about budget gap The Notebook blog

Please email us if we missed anything today or if you have any suggestions of publications, email lists, or other places for us to check for news.

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Notes from the news

In defense of the new Audenried

By Guest blogger on Feb 15, 2011 10:54 AM

We have another guest blog today, this one from a group of teachers at Audenried High School, in response to planned changes at their school.


On January 25, the new Audenried High School was identified as a “Renaissance School” and slated to become a charter under outside control. Before the 11th graders take the new school's first-ever PSSAs, before the inaugural graduating class of 2012 accepts their diplomas, and before we send our students off to pursue colleges and careers, our present renaissance is being cut short.

This time, it's Audenried students who walk

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 15, 2011 10:32 AM

UPDATE: District comment.

Students from Audenried High School left school Tuesday morning, with more than 40 gathering at to 440 N. Broad St. to protest plans to convert the school to a charter managed by Universal Companies.

Their message: "We like Audenried just the way it is."

The student protesters chanted,"This is our house!" and "Where is the data?"

Process and promise at West Philly High

By Guest blogger on Feb 14, 2011 06:39 PM

This week we will have several guest blog posts. The first is from Drick Boyd, an associate professor of Urban and Interdisciplinary Studies at Eastern University.


We tend to think dictatorships only exist in places like Tunisia and Egypt, and when the masses rise up and force the dictators out we consider that to be a good thing. Well, there is a dictatorship in Philadelphia that is facing an uprising of its own, and as far as I am concerned, it's about time. I am referring to the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) and the series of community responses to the superintendent’s newest round of proposed reforms.

Ackerman's memo about budget gap

By Anonymous on Feb 14, 2011 05:12 PM

Last week District officials publicly put a figure on the budget gap, which could be "$400 to $500 million or more," according to Superintendent Ackerman. A Notebook commenter said the District told staff to expect a detailed memo following the announcement.

A reader forwarded the memo to the Notebook.

With layoffs coming, it's time to stand up for seniority

By Ron Whitehorne on Feb 14, 2011 03:57 PM

With many school districts facing budget shortfalls, teachers, including those in Philadelphia, will likely face layoffs.

The budget crunch coincides with a growing attack on teacher tenure and seniority as the governing principle for teacher assignment and layoffs. Even Antonio Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, and long time teacher union organizer and staffer, has joined the chorus calling for “peformance” as the “driver” in decisions around these issues. And former Washington, D.C. Superintendent Michelle Rhee has made ending tenure and eliminating seniority central agenda points of her “Students First” campaign.

Mastery to compete for Gratz, Clymer

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 14, 2011 01:32 PM

Mastery Charter will be competing for just two of the six recently named "Renaissance match" charter schools - Simon Gratz High School and George Clymer Elementary School.

Mastery CEO Scott Gordon described his organization's strategy as "high-risk."

Notes from the news, Feb. 14

By Anonymous on Feb 14, 2011 10:58 AM

notes from the news imageWest students walk out The Notebook blog
Students at West Philly High walked out of school Friday afternoon to protest the upheaval facing their school.

See also: 30 West Philadelphia High students walk out in protest The Inquirer

School districts bracing for end of stimulus funds Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
This piece compiles coverage about the budget situation in Pennsylvania and is supported by the Education Writers Association and Hechinger Institute.

Corbett Promises Drastic Budget Cuts Fox 29
Gov. Corbett will announce the cuts on March 8, and big cuts are expected for education.

PhillyDeals: Bill would grow tuition tax breaks for the middle class, too The Inquirer
The state senate bill that would bring vouchers to Pennsylvania would also double the Educational Improvement Tax credit, which allows businesses to pay part of their taxes into a scholarship fund.

See also: School-voucher research less emphatic than debate The Inquirer
The Nation: It Takes a Village, Not a Tiger Keystone State Education Coalition
The Parent's Role in the School Choice Debate Mt. Airy Patch

Learning vs. (Make-up) Work Making the Grade blog

What Can We Learn from Gaming? Philly Teacher blog

YouTube/You Learn?: The Role of Media Literacy for Students Today Research for Action blog

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