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DREAM Act: Student activist makes it personal

By Gustavo Martínez on Nov 18, 2009 01:36 PM

Student activist María Marroquín is deeply involved in the fight for getting the DREAM Act approved. This is a vital issue for her, an undocumented student majoring in political science.

She was instrumental in Senator Arlen Specter's public support of the 2009 DREAM Act, a bill that has yet to make its way down to the floor for a vote.

Notes from the news, Nov. 18

By Erika Owens on Nov 18, 2009 11:15 AM

City Council questions limits on charter school growth The Inquirer
Council gave charters a sympathetic ear and one member got into a testy exchange with Superintendent Ackerman.

See also: Charter schools: Give us a fair shake Daily News

Straight talk for kids on the brink Daily News
Students at Shallcross, a disciplinary school, heard about alternatives to violence to resolve disputes.

Kensington to get a fourth small school with urban education theme The Notebook blog
The school will open in the fall. A community planning process in 2005 had suggested four small schools replace the single Kensington HS.

New coats for students 6ABC
Kids at five schools will receive new coats as part of the "Keeping Kids Warm Program."

Hidden college scholarships 6ABC

Today: Renaissance Schools community feedback meeting at Benjamin Franklin High School, 550 N. Broad St., 6:30-8:30 p.m.

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.

Kensington to get a fourth small school with urban education theme

By Eric Braxton on Nov 17, 2009 11:58 AM

I am very pleased to report that a fourth Kensington small school will open next year.

At a meeting of the Kensington School and Community Coalition last week, School District Chief of Staff Tomas Hanna announced that in the fall when Kensington CAPA moves into its new building, a new small school will open in KCAPA’s place in the old building. 

This is great news for many in the Kensington community who had been concerned that the District might decide to use the space created by KCAPA’s move to make Kensington Business into a large school again.

Notes from the news, Nov. 17

By Erika Owens on Nov 17, 2009 10:30 AM

Charter schools to sound off on district policy change The Inquirer
Charter school operators can voice their concerns at a City Council meeting today. Council doesn't have oversight of the District, but has "some oversight" of the budget.

Karen Heller: A tightly focused mission: To make Girls High work The Inquirer
A look at Girls High, Principal Dr. Ruffin, and how the school, unlike its neighbor Central, needs support from alumnae.

Listen Now! On Blast Radio Show for November Philadelphia Student Union blog

Today: Renaissance schools community feedback session from 6-8 p.m. at McClure Elementary School, 4198 N. 6th St., 19140

In case you missed it: Race to the top, orchid kids, union CEO?

By Erika Owens on Nov 16, 2009 05:38 PM

Rules Set for $4 Billion 'Race to Top' Contest Education Week
States will be judged on a 500-point scale. This article outlines the details behind the three most important factors: that states "make a persuasive case for their education reform agenda, demonstrate significant buy-in from local school districts, and develop plans to evaluate teachers and principals based on student performance."

See also: Education Department to Demand School Pay Data Education Week

The Science of Success The Atlantic via This Week In Education
A new theory suggests that while most of us are dandelions, hardy  and able to deal with most anything, some of us are orchids. Orchid children can thrive in great environments or wither in less supportive circumstances.

Teacher union's Randi Weingarten for next D.C. schools chief The Washington Post
Jay Mathews' thought experiment is provocative. I like it! A union leader as a district leader would be an interesting change of pace. A commenter on the article notes that in her district, the union-leader-turned-superintendent has done a great job.

Additional Renaissance Schools feedback meetings scheduled Nov. 17, 18, 19, 24

By Erika Owens on Nov 16, 2009 12:26 PM

Due to the SEPTA strike, more community feedback sessions will be held this week.

  • Tuesday, Nov. 17, 6-8 p.m. McClure Elementary School, 4198 N. 6th St., 19140

  • Wednesday, Nov. 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Benjamin Franklin HS, 550 N. Broad St., 19130

  • Thursday, Nov. 19, 3-5 p.m. School District of Philadelphia, 440 N. Broad St., Auditorium, 19130 (Students only. Students will be in the auditorium without a parent or guardian present.)

  • Tuesday, Nov. 24, 6-8 p.m. Boys Latin Charter School,  5501 Cedar Ave., 19143

Refreshments, dinner, and childcare will be provided. RSVP to reserve your seat. Call 215-400-7272.

Notes from the news, Nov. 16

By Erika Owens on Nov 16, 2009 10:56 AM

Phila. Schools CEO Sees Changing Role for Private Firms KYW
Superintendent Arlene Ackerman clarified that she sees EMOs, not only running entire schools, but also handling different parts of school operations.

Al Sharpton and Newt Gringrich provide an educational opportunity (video) The Examiner
The unlikely trio (with Sec. Duncan) was on Meet the Press Sunday. Gingrich cited Mastery as a model for charter schools.

See also: Weekend Quotables Mike Klonsky's Small Talk Blog

Mentoring a child is doing God's work Daily News
The Interfaith Social Change Movement will hold an orientation and training at the District building next week for a new Business and Career Exploration Program.

Hurting convicts' children The Inquirer (opinion)
Most kids in Philly are in school till 3:30 and travel or have activities until 5. This makes visiting incarcerated parents extremely difficult.

The limits of juvenile sentencing The Inquirer (opinion)
"This developmental immaturity does not excuse criminal conduct. But it does diminish teenagers' culpability and undermine the justifications for sentencing them to die in prison."

Greater Phila. Cares Hosts "Principal for a Day" KYW
Last week there were a lot of new faces in the classroom as business leaders entered the principal's offce for a day.

Letters: Clarifying perceptions of Everyday Mathematics The Inquirer

Letters: Please turn off those idling school buses Daily News

Hamelses Hold ‘Friendraiser’ For Inner-City Schools The Bulletin

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.

Notes from the news, Nov. 13

By Erika Owens on Nov 13, 2009 09:37 AM

Schools welcome Race to the Top competition for funds The Inquirer
The application for the $4 billion in competitive federal grants was released yesterday. The grants could bring in $200-400 million for Pennsylvania, but only states earning high scores will win.

See also: Fed contest offers states million$ in school aid Daily News

West Philly High School kids hit the big time Young Philly Politics
Helen Gym blogs about the West Philly High auto team making all the news.

Giving young offenders another chance Daily News (opinion)
Science shows adolescent brains are not fully developed, which lessens culpability and points to an increased ability to rehabilitate. 

Children's Scholarship Fund offering 750 new grants
The grants are to help low-income K-8 students afford nonpublic schools.

Charles Payne joins in celebrating Research for Action

By Erika Owens on Nov 12, 2009 04:37 PM

Last month Research for Action celebrated its founders (and frequent Notebook contributors) Jolley Bruce Christman and Eva Gold for 20 years of work in educational research.

The celebration, which began with a lecture by Charles Payne entitled Missing the Point: The State of the National Discussion about Urban Schools, was a great opportunity to reflect and support the organization's work.  An MP3 of Payne's lecture is now available.

Notes from the news, Nov. 12

By Erika Owens on Nov 12, 2009 11:12 AM

Ronnie Polaneczky: City high-school kids best MIT in $10M car contest Daily News
More plaudits for West Philly High's hybrid car design team. They're raising money to complete a prototype for the $10 million competition.

School report cards are up The Notebook blog
The report cards are hard to find on the District's site. They come with a guide to help decipher them. Additions this year include breakfast participation rates and comparing  schools' standing to other schools.

Student playwright to perform original monologue at School Reform Commission meeting UC Review
At today's meeting, CAPA senior Samia Merritt will perform a monologue from her play,
"There Ain’t No Use Unpacking."

Letters: Public sees few pluses to more school spending The Inquirer
Written in response to an op-ed about the state education funding: "More dollars have not, and never will, produce more scholars."

Gary Stager: First We Kill the Teacher's Unions Practical Theory blog
The title is not serious, but Stager's 2008 post was serious about the negative changes in how teachers' unions are viewed.

School report cards are up

By Paul Socolar on Nov 11, 2009 12:43 PM

The District has managed to cram even more data onto their second annual school report cards, which you can now find here on the District's website.

Notes from the news, Nov. 11

By Erika Owens on Nov 11, 2009 10:50 AM

Teachers are made, not born The Inquirer (opinion)
Jerry T. Jordan, the PFT president, writes about the need for a greater focus on teacher retention and support for teachers.

Holiday brings closings, a day off from school Daily News
Philadelphia public schools and administrative offices are closed.

Pa. Senator Calls For 'Parental Accountability' at Schools KYW
State Sen. Anthony Williams is working on legislation that would hold parents accountable if their child chronically acts up in school.

See also: "Castiguen a los padres si los hijos se portan mal" Al Día

Pennsylvania State Brief: National Survey of Programs and Services for Homeless Families Institute for Children and Poverty
This summary of survey data details the number of homeless families. It also has a timeline of Philadelphia's efforts to end homelessness.

Notes from the news, Nov. 10

By Erika Owens on Nov 10, 2009 10:59 AM

Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Innovation Center for American Progress
The report is a joint effort between CAP, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and American Enterprise Institute. Pennsylvania scored mostly Cs, but got an A for removing ineffective teachers.

West Philly high school team builds hybrid The Temple News
The team has garnered national attention as it competes for millions of dollars in prize money for building a hybrid car.

Four college fairs scheduled in Philadelphia

Today: Greater Philadelphia Cares "Principal for a Day" brings business and civic leaders to the principal's offices of over 100 Philadelphia public schools.

In case you missed it: Merit pay, youth violence, Halloween

By Erika Owens on Nov 9, 2009 03:55 PM

The Debate Over Differentiated Pay: The Devil is In the Details Rethinking Schools
Great, multi-faceted look at merit pay and the ideas swirling around on how to improve teacher compensation.

A Powerful Idea on Youth Violence The New York Times (opinion)
The Times praises Chicago's public schools chief for his ideas on how to curb violence. But, Alexander Russo cautions praising a plan that is not fully public yet.

Thompson: The Edusphere This Week In Education
John Thompson reflects on NCLB and "cyberpolarization" in the education blogosphere.

The demise of Halloween Washington Post, Great Pundit Contest
One of the contestants is Kevin Huffman, an executive with TFA. This entry is pretty funny, and looks at the changing expectations for Halloween, inside and outside of the classroom.

Many unanswered questions at Renaissance meetings

By Helen Gym on Nov 9, 2009 12:33 PM

The last community feedback session of the Renaissance Schools Advisory Board is being held tonight at Audenried High School, from 6-8 p.m. Dinner and child care are provided.

What to expect: The meetings are being chaired by Lee Nunery, a former executive with Edison Schools, Inc. and current consultant with the District for the Renaissance Schools plan. A 21-page PowerPoint on the Renaissance Schools Initiative is available here.

Last week, I attended a Renaissance Schools meeting at the High School of the Future. With the SEPTA strike and rumored low attendance at two previous meetings, I wasn’t expecting a lot of turnout. I was pleasantly surprised – not so much by the 30 people or so in attendance but in the scrutiny and questions being asked.

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