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Revised facilities policies approved

By Benjamin Herold on Jun 14, 2011 02:33 PM

The key building blocks of the School District's new facilities master plan are now in place.

Monday night, the School Reform Commission (SRC) unanimously approved new "Adaptive Reuse" and "Rightsizing" policies without comment. Taken together, the policies will guide the District's efforts to close and sell up to 50 school buildings as part of a broad effort to reduce by half its current number of "empty seats," currently estimated at 70,000.

Council critical of school closing timeline

By the Notebook on Jun 14, 2011 01:37 PM

by Patrick Kerkstra for PlanPhilly

For the past year, City Hall has regarded the looming closure of up to 50 public school buildings as a headache on the horizon: an issue that was sure to generate controversy, but not worth worrying about just yet.

Now, though, the School District’s budget crisis has put the school closings issue back on the political agenda.

Notes from the news, June 14

By Anonymous on Jun 14, 2011 09:25 AM

notes from the news imagePFT, unions turn out in force at SRC to protest cuts The Notebook blog
Hundreds rallied at 440 before Monday evening's SRC meeting, and 30 people testified against the cuts at the meeting, including PFT President Jerry Jordan.

See also: Teachers vent over pink slips Daily News
Madness as Teachers Storm School District Offices Roxborough-Manayunk Patch
Teachers Union Rallies Outside Philadelphia School District Headquarters CBS Philly
Teachers Storm School Board Meeting Fox 29
500 teachers, supporters rally Philly School Files blog

Pa. Supreme Court stays hearing on teacher layoffs in Philly The Inquirer
A hearing on the PFT's suit against he District over a Promise Academies layoff exemption was scheduled for today.

See also: Pa. Supreme Court Will Likely Enter Teachers Union, School District Layoff Dispute CBS Philly

Phila. schools struggle with 'credibility issue,' top aide tells forum The Inquirer
The Inquirer held a forum discussion of its "Assault on Learning" series where Tomas Hanna referred to "integrity of reporting" of violent incidents as a "credibility issue."

See also: Forum [Monday] night On Philly School Violence Fox 29
Inquirer Editorial: Schools are still too violent The Inquirer

Who's in charge of the SRC? WHYY/NewsWorks
In this It's Our Money podcast, an average taxpayer tries to figure out who is in charge of the SRC.

See also: Calling the SRC complaint line It's Our Money blog

Phila. judge overturns expulsion of 6-year-old The Inquirer
The judge ruled that he can step in to overturn a decision a charter school makes that shows gross abuse of discretion.

Tough Love for Tough Students Metropolis
A look at Stetson's Success Academy.

See also: Finding the Light Within Metropolis (opinion)

Study: Many Pa. charters lag public schools Philadelphia Tribune
The CREDO study out of Stanford found mixed results for charter schools, and that cyber charter students lagged behind public school peers.

See also: Study: Pa. Charters Lag Public Schools Fox 29

A honor for former Philadelphia schools chief Paul Vallas The Inquirer
American Paradigm Schools, an organization working to replicate successful charter schools, will also honor incoming William Penn Foundation President Jeremy Nowak.

Notes from the Field- Teachers Seek Real Empowerment City School Stories

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Afterschool Program Philly School Search

Pennsylvania's school voucher legislation isn't about low-income students Keystone State Education Coalition

Joyously Celebrating at Parkway Northwest High School Mt. Airy Patch

El estira y afloja de Ackerman y el Sindicato Al Día

Will the administration use its new access to school district books? It's Our Money blog

Philly School Tax Measures In Doubt Fox 29

School District Serves More Than 5,000 Homeless Students, Some Chasing Their Dreams PhillyNow blog

Communities Stand Behind Librarians Facing Layoffs Huffington Post 

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

PFT, unions turn out in force at SRC to protest cuts

By the Notebook on Jun 13, 2011 06:04 PM

More than 500 union members rallied outside School District headquarters before Monday's School Reform Commission meeting, then streamed inside en masse to protest massive cutbacks and layoffs that leaders said will decimate schools and jeopardize academic gains.

Notes from the news, June 13

By Anonymous on Jun 13, 2011 09:02 AM

notes from the news imageCommentary: $8 million District slush fund is why we need more than political theater The Notebook blog
The budget deficit has been getting a lot of attention, but even in the midst of all the discussion, the District is requesting an $8 million slush fund.

See also: Schools' Funding Request Ever-Changing Fox 29
Karen Heller: What about the students? The Inquirer
DN Editorial: Taking custody of the school district Daily News
Nutter meets resistance on higher parking rates
Philadelphia School District's budget crisis demands seriousness Daily News (opinion)
School’s out…of money Philadelphia Sun

Ackerman again pleads for money from city Daily News
On Friday City Council held another hearing to discuss the District's budget.

See also: Philadelphia City Council delays decision on how to aid schools The Inquirer
City Council revisits District budget The Notebook blog
Councilman Green Talks School Funding Fox 29
Philadelphia Councilmembers Grill Schools Chief As Funding Controversy Deepens CBS Philly

District takes teacher-layoff issue to Pa. Supreme Court The Inquirer
The District wants to invoke "Act 46," a state law that could allow the District to circumvent the teachers' contract.

See also: Ackerman takes on a union-busting role Daily News
City teachers rue impact of coming layoffs The Inquirer
Philadelphia School District Seeks Concessions From 5 Unions To Help Balance Budget CBS Philly
Philly teachers, staff sound off on layoffs
Philly School Files blog

Northeast schools: 'Bursting at the seams' The Notebook blog
In many parts of the city schools are underutilized, but in the Northeast, many schools are over capacity.

Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's real mistake Daily News (opinion)
Her real mistake was brinkmanship that put full-day kindergarten in danger in the first place.

South Philadelphia High's healing continues The Inquirer
Progress continues at South Philly High, but there are still areas for improvement.

Action plans sparse at many of Philadelphia's most dangerous schools The Inquirer
In a follow-up to the "Assault on Learning" series, the Inquirer finds that plans to improve climate for persistently dangerous schools can be as short as three lines.

Philadelphia School District's Teacher of the Year is Sharon Mora of Forrest Elementary The Inquirer
Mora is Forrest's technology teacher and "data queen."

See also: Philadelphia School District's Teacher of the Year is Sharon Mora of Forrest Elementary Daily News
Sharon Mora: Teacher of the Year The Notebook blog
Northeast Philadelphia teacher wins Teacher of the Year Award WHYY/NewsWorks

Writing not on wall yet for handwriting The Inquirer

Camelot grads excited about future 6 ABC

Peer-sourcing Teacher Evaluation Making the Grade blog

Competition? Level the Playing Field…… Keystone State Education Coalition

Charter school finds an angel in Agassi Daily News

Fattah Addresses GEAR UP Students at Franklin High, For Third College Readiness Appearance This Month PRNewswire

2 Philadelphia Students Admit Attacking Teacher Over Lunch Bag Confrontation CBS Philly

Grant funds science career days for Philadelphia public school students Eureka Alert

Youth film workshop WHYY/NewsWorks

Wisconsin state assessment results show voucher students’ performance lackluster. Keystone State Education Coalition

Pepper Students Improve Their Stock! A Broad View blog

Kevin Eubanks shares jazz lessons at Philadelphia's Northeast High School WHYY/NewsWorks

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

Commentary: $8 million District slush fund is why we need more than political theater

By Helen Gym on Jun 12, 2011 10:20 PM

Ackerman Remarks About 'Job For Life':

It’s business as usual at the School Reform Commission. $629 million budget gap? Pshaw. Public officials demanding oversight? Meh. 

All you have to do is look at the resolutions on the docket for the Monday, June 13 voting meeting. Let’s start with SRC-16, a resolution that sets aside a whopping $8 million for the coming year for what the administration calls “limited contracting authority” (LCA). District officials define it as contracts under $15,000 that would not require SRC review but would go through a staff committee instead. One argument presented was that the SRC had so many resolutions to look at already, it shouldn’t be bothered with contracts of such a low amount.

Hold on a second right there.

Northeast schools: 'Bursting at the seams'

By Benjamin Herold on Jun 10, 2011 06:26 PM

Bernie Rogers spends 45 minutes each day teaching inside a cramped storage closet.

Packed shoulder to shoulder, up to eight children sit in plastic chairs and hold their books and papers in their laps. Rogers stands almost directly on top of them while he conducts his supplemental reading lesson. 

Sharon Mora: Teacher of the Year

By Anonymous on Jun 10, 2011 03:11 PM

Today Sharon Mora, computer science teacher at Forrest Elementary, received the Dr. Ruth Wright Hayre Teacher of the Year Award. Mora received a $2,5000 check from award sponsor Lincoln Investment Planning. 

According to a District press release, Mora is "routinely tapped to provide training for other teachers and principals and to lead monthly workshops for parents on how to navigate the District’s website and access their children’s records online."

City Council revisits District budget

By Anonymous on Jun 10, 2011 11:21 AM

City Council held another hearing Friday on the District budget. Superintendent Ackerman and District Chief Financial Officer Michael Masch presented details about the budget deficit to council. Council members asked the District questions for nearly two hours, but did not appear closer to agreement on providing the District with extra funds.

In response to a question from Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr. on how much the District is requesting from the city. Superintendent Ackerman responded, "We are asking for $102 million."

Notes from the news, June 10

By Anonymous on Jun 10, 2011 09:17 AM

notes from the news imageAgreement with city, state: A big deal? The Notebook blog
The agreement calls for more sharing of District budget information and five-year budget plans.

See also: New deal gives Philadelphia more say over schools The Inquirer
City, state, school district sign 'Education Accountability Agreement' Daily News
Inquirer Editorial: Bailout for schools The Inquirer
A historic dud on schools WHYY/NewsWorks (opinion)
Nutter's shotgun wedding with the school district WHYY/NewsWorks (opinion)
Annette John-Hall: As temperatures soar, Philadelphia school officials generate rhetorical heat The Inquirer
Philly schools, facing $629 million deficit, sign accountability agreement with city, state AP via Daily Journal
School Reform Commission Agrees To Open Books For Mayor Nutter CBS Philly
Philly Schools Agree To More Transparency Fox 29
Cynical, realistic or hopeful about Nutter's school accountability pact? It's Our Money blog

Promise Academy Saturday attendance poor The Notebook blog
Attendance at Saturday program at the six current Promise Academies is just over half.

Rally in Philadelphia to restore funding for alternative schools The Inquirer
Youth United for Change organized the rally, which included current students at alternative schools and legislators.

See also: Students Rally In Support Of Philadelphia ‘Alternative’ Schools CBS Philly
Rally for accelerated schools; state rep. talks "Ackerman problem" Philly School Files blog

Philadelphia School District response: Philadelphia Daily News budget articles deserve a rebuttal Daily News
Point by point, the District responds to assertions made in Daily News columns and coverage of the budget.

See also: School district response: Why we're concerned Daily News (opinion)

Presenting, discussing the Renaissance start-up The Notebook blog
TAG and PCCY are hosting a presentation and panel discussion of RFA's Renaissance Schools report on Tuesday.

CNS Students tell MSNBC- Restorative Practices Decrease Violence Campaign for Nonviolent Schools blog
Campaign for Noniviolent Schools students appeared on "Hardball" and discussed how to reduce violence and stop the school to prison pipeline.

How is this budget going to affect your community? Education Voters PA blog

Yellow Bus Service Still at Risk For City Schoolchildren Chestnut Hill Patch

Clout: Drink tax has a familiar taste Daily News

Others built bridges for you, Cosby tells Girard grads Daily News

Community Partnership School launching first class The Inquirer

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

Promise Academy Saturday attendance poor

By Benjamin Herold on Jun 9, 2011 11:54 PM

Only slightly more than half of students in the School District’s six current Promise Academies participate in one of the schools’ most significant – and expensive – interventions.

According to month-by-month reports released by the District this week, the median student attendance figure for the six schools’ Saturday school programming was 54 percent. The schools are open for two four-hour Saturday sessions a month, which are used for both academics and enrichment activities.

Agreement with city, state: A big deal?

By Paul Socolar on Jun 9, 2011 11:43 PM

For Thursday's press conference and ceremonial signing in City Hall of a new deal between the School District, the city, and the state education department, Mayor Nutter had a row of officials on either side of him that was so long he didn't mention everyone by name.

Most of City Council was there as well as some state legislators, top District officials, and Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Ronald Tomalis - all upbeat about the significance of the announcement.

District signs 'accountability agreement'

By the Notebook on Jun 9, 2011 04:24 PM

Mayor Nutter, Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, and SRC Chair Robert Archie gathered with other local and state elected officials at a press conference at City Hall today to announce the "educational accountability agreement," which the District agreed to today.

A 24-page document including the agreement was released shortly after the press conference. It includes the District's responses to a requested detailing of its use of Title I funds and a chart showing priorities for the use of additional funds secured.

The District posted a photo of the group signing the agreement at the press conference this afternoon.

The District issued a press release about the agreement, promising to "provide the City with a litany of facts, documents, and financial reports requested in order to provide complete transparency." The accountability agreement proposed by the mayor is now a three-way agreement committing the District to provide more information to both state and city officials.

Kristen Graham of the Inquirer liveTweeted the press conference.

Presenting, discussing the Renaissance start-up

By Timothy Boyle on Jun 9, 2011 02:01 PM

Next Tuesday, June 14, Teacher Action Group and Public Citizens for Children and Youth will host a presentation on the start-up of the Renaissance Schools Initiative by Research for Action

Notes from the news, June 9

By Anonymous on Jun 9, 2011 09:23 AM

notes from the news imageAckerman Remarks About 'Job For Life' Fox 29
Ackerman didn't know her mic was on when she quipped that she wanted her "job for life back," a District spokesperson later clarified that the job Ackerman was referring to was her previous position at Columbia University.

See also: She wants her 'job for life back,' beleaguered Ackerman quips Daily News
Ackerman: Caught on camera? Philly School Files blog

SRC responds to mayor, will negotiate agreement The Notebook blog
The SRC voted on Wednesday to negotiate an accountability agreement that the mayor requested.

See also: Philadelphia School District accepts more accountability The Inquirer
Nutter seeks role in school oversight Daily News
How about some state help on educational accountability? It's Our Money blog

Reformers, please listen to what parents want for schools CNN (opinion)
An op-ed from Helen Gym describes why parents are a critical part of school reform.

Notebook event draws nearly 300 The Notebook blog
Thank you to everyone who joined us on Tuesday. The event included great conversations, awards for student journalists, and honoring of long-time Spanish translator Milly Suazo-Martinez.

News from the SRC; legislator calls for elected school board Philly School Files
State Rep. Angel Cruz has called for dissolving the SRC and creating an elected school board.

Ready for college? The Notebook blog
Remediation classes can take up a lot of time once a student starts college and tries to start accumulating credits.

See also: ¿Están los estudiantes realmente listos para la universidad? Al Día

Education was 'Hardball' topic here Daily News
Mayor Nutter, Lisa Nutter, and students from the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools were among the guests on the "Hardball" episode.

Philadelphia students take part in annual Scrabble event WHYY/NewsWorks

Community Academy in Kensington appeals to renew charter The Inquirer

Northeast Philadelphia ‘Alternative’ School Guides Its Girls Through Summer And Beyond CBS Philly

City Year Works To Revitalize the Overbrook High School Library :: With Hopes To Re-Ignite a Passion For Reading Among Students UC Review

Congressman Fattah Announces Three AmeriCorps Grants for Philadelphia UC Review

Voucher “Expose” Keystone State Education Coalition

Notes from the Field-In Ackerman's Hands City School Stories

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