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Obama's speech at Masterman

By Anonymous on Sep 14, 2010 10:01 AM

In case you missed the big news, President Obama is giving his back to school speech this afternoon at Masterman. We'll have coverage of the event later today.

The text of the speech is already available. Much of the speech is bland, but a more personal and reflective passage offers important reminders about the value of diversity.

The speech starts predictably. Obama makes no mention of the fact that Masterman is a magnet school. He starts with praise:

Notes from the news, Sept. 14

By Anonymous on Sep 14, 2010 09:15 AM

notes from the news imageRonnie Polaneczky: Prez at Masterman: Unreal choice Daily News
A White House spokesperson said Masterman was chosen as an example of "what's possible" in a school, but Polaneczky calls the choice disingenuous.

See also: President Obama to welcome U.S. students back to school with speech at Masterman in PhiladelphiaThe Inquirer
Obama to deliver speech at Masterman Philadelphia Tribune
Masterman prepares for President Obama WHYY
Obama picked wrong school to give speech The Answer Sheet blog
Dream big, Obama to tell students Politico
Obama Picks Philly for Back-to-School Speech Phillyist
Read Obama’s School Indoctrination Speech, Year II PhillyNow blog
A.M. Top News: Obama to urge students to 'dream big' during back-to-school speech in Philadelphia The Star-Ledger

Phila. schools to get $96 million The Inquirer
The money must be used to hire, retrain, or rehire teachers or other school employees. Superintendent Ackerman says it will save 524 jobs.

See also: Briefly... CITY/REGION Daily News

Corbett, Onorato, Press Conflicting School Agendas AP via CBS3
The candidates will discuss their agendas at a conference at the National Constitution Center today.

A new year begins at South Philly High The Notebook blog
South Phila. High Asian Student Advocates conducted a training on how to deal with harassment as students start a year with a new principal and many new programs.

New Phila. campaign aims to increase college graduation rate The Inquirer
The Graduation Coaches Campaign will train mentors to help students make it to postsecondary education.

See also: Recruiting coaches for Philadelphia students WHYY

Are things so bad in Harrisburg that the city might cut kindergarten? It's Our Money

Across Oceans and Across the Street Philly Teacher blog

Plan ahead to aid low literacy issue Temple News (opinion)

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

A new year begins at South Philly High

By Helen Gym on Sep 13, 2010 12:43 PM

As the school year approached, I got my children ready in the annual tradition – buying uniforms and supplies, planning lunch meals, and rushing through the waning days of summer. I also helped get another set of students ready for school but in a far different way.

SASA (South Phila. High Asian Student Advocates) – which includes the core organizations and individuals who have been actively working with students and families at the school around anti-Asian/anti-immigrant harassment – conducted a three-hour training for nearly 40 incoming students to South Philadelphia High School. 

It was a deeply moving event, with students and adults sharing their experiences of harassment, intimidation, and even violence. It was a safe place, where students could express their fears and frustrations and ask questions. And it was an empowering space – co-led by current and former students who had challenged the District to fulfill its responsibility to stop the abuse of Asian immigrant youth.

Notes from the news, Sept. 13

By Anonymous on Sep 13, 2010 09:11 AM

notes from the news imageTeachers: Back to school Daily News (opinion)
Just how big of an issue is it for scores of teachers to miss the first and second days of school?

Masterman, Obama, and Ackerman. Part I The Notebook blog
President Obama will give his back to school address at Masterman tomorrow and former Masterman teacher Marsha Pincus reflects on that choice.

Teach the Children Well WHYY (opinion)
Chris Satullo remembers his teachers and how teachers and students are at the center of public education.

City schools' trust problem The Inquirer (opinion)
Former Safe Schools Advocate Jack Stollsteimer says that reopening that office, which was closed last year, would help instill trust in the District.

The doctor's Rx for Philadelphia school violence Daily News (opinion)
To address school violence we need parental responsibility and leadership from the School Distirct.

Editorial: Failure is the rule The Inquirer (opinion)
Philly should look to other urban districts such as Chicago for best practices about how to handle the dropout crisis, particularly among Black and Latino males.

Test scores not increased solely by spending, group finds Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
A study by the 21st Century Partnership for STEM Education found that test scores were "nearly identical" in districts that spent the least and the most per student.

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

Masterman, Obama, and Ackerman. Part I

By Guest blogger on Sep 10, 2010 02:52 PM

This week's guest blog post comes from former teacher Marsha Pincus. This piece was originally published on her blog, Her Own Terms.


Ever since I heard that President Obama had decided to make his "Back to School" speech to the nation from the auditorium of J.R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School in Philadelphia, the place where I spent the final ten years of my 34-year teaching career before retiring in 2008, my head has been spinning with questions.

test photos

By Gloria Wang on Sep 10, 2010 01:26 PM

Last week, I wrote about how the District had spent a million dollars on turnstiles and miscellaneous security equipment. The authorizing resolution, which the SRC passed at its August meeting, came months after installation. Despite the delayed approval and exorbitant price tag, the resolution passed with no questions or debate.
 

Notes from the news, Sept. 10

By Anonymous on Sep 10, 2010 09:07 AM

notes from the news imageObama to give back-to-school speech Tuesday at Masterman The Inquirer
Big splash for the Philly schools! President Obama is giving an address during the school day again this year.

See also: Obama Chooses Phila. School for Speech Site KYW

Philadelphia is our city - and they're our schools Daily News (opinion)
The legislative director of ACTION United writes about how the community is a "substantial resource" for the District.

False goals for city schools The Inquirer (opinion)
Chalk and Talk blogger Christopher Paslay draws on the work of The Bell Curve author Charles Murray in arguing that not every student will get high test scores.

Changing Skyline: Philadelphia learns a lesson in school design The Inquirer
A look at the new Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School, which YUC students were heavily involved in designing.

Filling the Need for Skilled Workers Requires Smarter Education Huffington Post
Philadelphia Education Fund board chair Diane Melley writes about "the pressing need to keep students in school."

What Comes Before Filtering, Fearlessness and Foresight Practical Theory blog
Those are the top three leadership skills, which SLA principal Chris Lehmann describe in a Technology and Learning magazine article.

Superintendent Ackerman to make first visit to Imhotep Institute Charter High School The Examiner

Training for School Cops WHYY

public school teacher bashing in local media Young Philly Politics

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

Notes from the news, Sept. 9

By Wendy Harris on Sep 9, 2010 08:47 AM

notes from the news imageOn 2nd day, even more teachers are truant Daily News
The District's Chief Talent Development Officer Estelle Matthews said that 201 teachers did not report for work yesterday, a number of them not following the proper procedure for an excused absence. There were 171 absences the day before.

See also: Hundreds More Phila. Schoolteachers Fail to Show Up KYW

South Phila. High teacher sues administrators, alleging retaliation Inquirer
Former South Philly High social studies teacher William Aitken has filed a lawsuit against the District claiming that administrators treated him unfairly when last October he warned then Principal LaGreta Brown that students were using cell phones to coordinate attacks on Asian students.

Opinion: Spend the Philadelphia school money first, then get the OK Daily News
In August, the School Reform Commission approved more than $1 million to install turnstiles at 440, but this was months after the security equipment had already been put into place.

See also: Turnstiles: Delayed approval not unusual The Notebook blog

Teenage activist will see if Philadelphia school has changed, too The Dallas Morning News
The Texas newspaper is the latest to pick up the AP dispatch about student Duong Nghe Ly that has also run in the Washington Post, confirming that the violence against Asians in South Philadelphia High and its aftermath is a story of national importance. 

The First Week  A Very Public Education blog
One mom's perspective on what she calls a odd first week of school.

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

Stetson: 'A new beginning for all of us'

By Benjamin Herold on Sep 8, 2010 03:00 PM

This morning, Stetson Middle School began its new life as a charter school, opening its doors to roughly 700 students from the predominantly Latino community that surrounds the ancient building at B and Allegheny Streets in Kensington.

Notes from the news, Sept. 8

By Anonymous on Sep 8, 2010 08:19 AM

notes from the news imageAt long last, a new Willard School opens The Notebook blog
After decades of community organizing and delays, a new Willard Elementary School welcomed students.

See also: New school year, new fancy school building WHYY
Back to School for Area Students KYW
Gleaming new Willard School a 40-year dream The Inquirer

Editorial: Clock is ticking for students The Inquirer
Entering her third year as superintendent, Arlene Ackerman continues to face big challenges in the Philly schools.

Back to school: Education issues in the Delaware Valley Radio Times
Discussion included Pennsylvania's second failed Race to the Top application and Gov. Rendell's plans for school funding.

171 teachers are no-shows on first day Daily News
It's unclear how many no-shows are resignations, but teachers who quit without adequate notice will not be eligible for rehire by the District.

School cops learn new techniques for 'climate change' Daily News
The Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania trained the school police officers on how to identify mental and social needs and how to help students.

Police still probing Feltonville school break-in The Inquirer
The break-in occurred Sunday afternoon, but students were in school on Tuesday.

See also: Feltonville School Opens on Time Despite Vandalism KYW

Security Top Priority In Philly Schools Fox 29

The Blog Is Back... And So Is School Biology and Blueberries

Walter D. Palmer Students March on District Headquarters, Demand $1.7 Million from Ackerman PhillyNow

Bus drops special needs girl off 4 hours late 6 ABC

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Notes from the news

Turnstiles: Delayed approval not unusual

By Helen Gym on Sep 8, 2010 07:21 AM

Last week, I wrote about how the District had spent a million dollars on turnstiles and miscellaneous security equipment. The authorizing resolution, which the SRC passed at its August meeting, came months after installation. Despite the delayed approval and exorbitant price tag, the resolution passed with no questions or debate.

The resolution was not unusual.  At that very same meeting, the SRC approved at least another eight resolutions in which the projects appeared to be underway or had already been completed.  

Since last week’s posting, I did a review of the past school year. The review revealed more than two dozen examples of this very un-public ratification “process.”

At long last, a new Willard School opens

By Paul Socolar on Sep 7, 2010 09:40 AM

The School District held its ceremonial bell-ringing for the new year at the brand new Frances E. Willard Elementary School on Elkhart St. in Kensington, celebrating the opening of arguably the District's longest-overdue and most desperately needed building replacement.

Notes from the news, Sept. 7

By Anonymous on Sep 7, 2010 08:59 AM

notes from the news imagePhila. public schools, others open today The Inquirer
Welcome back! Philly public school students head to school today. Students at Willard Elementary and Kensington High School for the Creative and Performing Arts will enter brand new buildings.

See also: Back to School for Area Students KYW
With new school year comes the opening of two new Phila. schools
The Inquirer

Toward a better year at South Phila. High The Inquirer (opinion)
South Philly student Duong-Nghe Ly writes how the climate at South Philly can be improved with better communication. Ly was profiled in an AP report that ran nationally.

See also: Racial violence changes student and school AP via Washington Post
South Philadelphia High Asian students get safety instruction
The Inquirer

As new year starts, high hopes for Phila.'s Promise Academies The Inquirer
Six low-performing schools will be run from Superintendent Ackerman's office. Those students will receive a "private-school education in a public-school setting," Ackerman said.

What we talk about when we talk about Arlene Ackerman Daily News
Editorial page editor Sandy Shea imagines what would happen if Arlene Ackerman really did leave due to recent controversies.

Who'll be watching district officials? Daily News
Education advocates are calling for more transparency of the District and School Reform Commission.

See also: Ackerman focusing on the future in Philadelphia schools Daily News

Wait lists for neighborhood students at 3 Mastery Renaissance charters The Notebook blog
The charters are supposed to serve the same students as the previous neighborhood school, but charters have enrollment caps.

The SRC and the million-dollar turnstiles The Notebook blog
It appeared that the District had paid $1 million for new turnstiles at 440. The District later said the cost was $390,000, but the turnstiles were installed before the SRC approved the expenditure.

Finding the Right Cyber Charter Metropolis
Students from all over PA can attend one of several cyber charter schools.

School Voucher Breakout Wall Street Journal
The full text is behind a pay wall, but the "bipartisan endorsement" of vouchers by PA's gubernatorial candidates is making national news.

We Need Headphones! Philly Teacher blog
Want to help a local teacher? Philly Teacher has a project on DonorsChoose.org.

A call to action on city’s dropout crisis Philadelphia Tribune (opinion)

In Philadelphia, back to school or pay $25 fine WHYY

District block party celebrates new school year Philadelphia Tribune

Testing and Money and Computers, Oh My! A Year in the Life of a Teacher 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

Wait lists for neighborhood students at 3 Mastery Renaissance charters

By Benjamin Herold on Sep 3, 2010 03:52 PM

Mastery Charter’s three new Renaissance charter schools seem to have been successful at bringing families back to their neighborhood schools – perhaps too successful.

At Mastery’s Harrity, Mann, and Smedley Elementary Schools, all of which opened on September 1, there are currently waiting lists for neighborhood children.

The SRC and the million-dollar turnstiles

By Helen Gym on Sep 3, 2010 09:59 AM

Update: Read Helen's op-ed in the Daily News and her follow-up here at the Notebook.

What would you buy for a million dollars worth of school money? Some modernized classrooms, you say? Noontime aides and community liaisons to replace the ones the District laid off at the beginning of the summer, perhaps?

How about a handful of turnstiles at District headquarters?

Last week, the School Reform Commission ratified Resolution A-28, a contract amendment with Elliott-Lewis Corporation for $1,006,959.43 for installation of security turnstiles. You can see those million dollar beauties above.

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