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Notes from the news, May 11

By Anonymous on May 11, 2010 08:33 AM

Philly superintendent: More charter oversight The Inquirer
At a City Council hearing Ackerman discussed the District budget and increased charter oversight via unannounced visits.

See also: School officials defend $3.2B budget Daily News
Ackerman quizzed about revenue worries The Notebook blog
Ackerman Announces Random Audits of Charter Schools KYW
Philadelphia schools Superintendent says progress is far too slow WHYY
Arlene Ackerman sounds optimistic It's Our Money

Schools Chief Ackerman Discloses New, Million-Dollar Security System at South Phila. H.S. KYW
Cameras will cover every part of the school except for the bathrooms.

See also: Ackerman: Security cameras added at S. Phila. High The Inquirer
Violent Philadelphia school gets 126 new cameras AP via Lebanon Daily News

Empowerment schools to switch literacy texts The Notebook blog
The District plans to purchase the Imagine It! series for K-6 and literacy materials from Glencoe for grades 7-8.

Fight to the finish South Philly Review
Parents at Childs elementary are organizing the District's proposed relocation to Barratt Middle School.

Letters: Sorry state of schools shouldn't merit a bonus The Inquirer
Teacher at University City High says "It is incomprehensible to the point of insulting" for the superintendent to get a performance bonus at this time.

School Lunches: From Mystery Meat to Healthier Fare Radio Times

Ackerman congela contratación de maestros en Filadelfia Al Día

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Notes from the news

Empowerment schools to switch literacy texts

By Paul Socolar on May 10, 2010 09:12 PM

Six years after standardizing the textbooks and instructional programs for all of its schools, the District is now planning a switch in its literacy texts for grades K-8, but only in its Empowerment Schools - the schools that have repeatedly failed to meet performance targets.

Ackerman quizzed about revenue worries

By Paul Socolar on May 10, 2010 08:26 PM

In sparsely attended City Council hearings on the 2010-11 School District budget Monday, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and Chief Business Officer Michael Masch said that District administrative and operational costs have already been cut by $76 million, but would be cut deeper if Gov. Rendell's proposed education funding increase for school districts is not fully funded.

Notes from the news, May 10

By Anonymous on May 10, 2010 08:54 AM

Ackerman freezes hiring of teachers The Inquirer
Ackerman is concerned there may not be enough jobs to absorb all the current teachers in the District, including teachers force transferred out of Renaissance Schools.

See also: A wrench in the site selection process: no new teachers allowed The Notebook blog

In city classrooms, teachers with class The Inquirer
On Tuesday night, 66 teachers will receive the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Prize and $3,500.

See also: Distinguished Teachers The Inquirer

South Philly principal receives an award The Notebook blog
Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell presented LaGreta Brown with a Lucien E. Blackwell Guiding Lights in the Community Award, sources say.

A Boy We Knew A Good Day Teaching blog
Another former student died far too soon.

My Guest Post at TransLeadership Philly Teacher blog

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Notes from the news

South Philly principal receives an award

By the Notebook on May 7, 2010 07:10 PM

We have it on good authority that South Philadelphia High School principal LaGreta Brown was among those honored last week by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell with the Lucien E. Blackwell Guiding Lights in the Community Award.

The Notebook asked Councilwoman Blackwell's office to confirm the list of honorees -- something we thought she would be eager to do -- but we did not hear back.

Comments on Ackerman's contract

By the Notebook on May 7, 2010 10:45 AM

Superintendent Ackerman's recent $65,000 bonus received a flurry of media attention. Here is a copy of the contract with key passages highlighted. The contract does state that the evaluation is to be kept confidential. 

Do you see any other passages of note?

Notes from the news, May 7

By Anonymous on May 7, 2010 08:57 AM

Testimony before Phila. panel on school violence The Inquirer
At the fifth in a series of public hearings about school violence, Northeast High's principal raised issues about how school violence is reported.

See also: Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, State Board of Education Chair Announce School Safety and Climate Reviews PR Newswire

Editorial: Closer scrutiny The Inquirer
"It's good to see" the bill that passed the state senate education committee to strengthen charter oversight, but even with the current scandals, the Renaissance Schools plan still relies heavily on charters.

Check out the big budget book The Notebook blog
Its highlights include an organizational chart and description of the District's revenue sources.

Fairhill school getting a free library makeover The Inquirer
Potter-Thomas, a Renaissance School, is getting a new look, books, computers, and other needs for its library.

Philadelphia STEM teacher fellow program The Notebook blog
The District will find out soon if the state funds its application for this new professional development program. Participating STEM teachers would get free graduate courses and other opportunities.

Recess coaches help kids play, and that helps them to learn Daily News
With kids spending more time online, the Playworks nonprofit is working in a pilot program at nine schools in Philly to teach them how to play games and develop skills through play.

Politics and Education Philly Teacher blog
Reflections on the role of politics in education ...for Philly Teacher, her political position is always the one that best serves her students.

On Blast: Youth Produced Radio Show about Education, Labor & Housing Philly Education Justice blog
Students talk about organizing and PSU's recent "I am not a flash mob" action.

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Notes from the news

A wrench in the site selection process: no new teachers allowed

By Paul Socolar on May 6, 2010 10:31 PM

As readers have pointed out on our blog, schools were cancelling interviews with prospective new teachers and putting hiring processes on hold after a Wednesday email from Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to principals announcing a hiring freeze on new teachers.

The problem, Ackerman said, is that there may not be enough District jobs to absorb all the current teachers wishing to return to the District next fall. She wrote:

Check out the big budget book

By Paul Socolar on May 6, 2010 01:29 PM

If you have an appetite for numbers, you might want to dig into the District's 431-page budget book, just posted on the District's website in time for upcoming City Council hearings next Monday and Tuesday at City Hall. Several other public meetings on the budget are scheduled, including one tonight at King H.S.

Philadelphia STEM teacher fellow program

By Timothy Boyle on May 6, 2010 11:58 AM

The District will find out soon if it can offer a new professional development opportunity to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers.

The District is in the process of applying for a state grant to build a three-year STEM fellow program. This program would take on three cohorts a year and provide teachers with graduate level instruction in STEM topics. Applications from teachers are being accepted now, and the District expects to hear if the grant is approved within a few weeks.

Notes from the news, May 6

By Anonymous on May 6, 2010 09:11 AM

Daroff council: Promise Academy model 'lacks promise' The Notebook blog
Report on Daroff's School Advisory Council's deliberations on provider options.

Why I support school choice PA2010.com
State Senator Anthony Williams, a candidate for governor, argues how school choice helps kids get "a chance at a great education."

See also: Unveiling education platform, Hoeffel again hits Williams on vouchers PA2010.com
Candidates for governor debate issues at forum The Chestnut Hill Local

New report: Pennsylvania must improve alternative education Education Law Center
The report offers suggestions on how to improve alternative ed, which would be the third largest district in the state if all the alternative schools were a single district.

Secret school bonus Daily News (opinion)
Superintendent Ackerman's bonus is described as another case of public money being spent without public scrutiny.

See also: Exclusive: Philly School CEO’s Contract Fox 29
More on Ackerman's bonus It's Our Money

Foro de violencia en las escuelas Al Día
Another in a series of public hearings on school violence happens this afternoon.

US Labor Department awards $7.4 million to 9 high schools deemed ‘persistently dangerous’ to reduce violence and improve educational outcomes Dept. Labor press

Senate Committee approves charter school reform bill WHYY

For-profit colleges leave many students in debt The Inquirer

Too late too often, so no prom for her Daily News

Students Checkmate Eagles But Everybody Wins KYW

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Notes from the news

Daroff council: Promise Academy model 'lacks promise'

By Benjamin Herold on May 5, 2010 10:59 AM

The Daroff School Advisory Council (SAC) unanimously rejected on Monday the District’s invitation to submit a revised application to become a Promise Academy, opting instead to focus on its deliberations to select an outside turnaround team to assume management of the troubled K-8 school as part of the District’s Renaissance Schools initiative.

The Daroff SAC discusses Mastery Charter Schools' proposal to radically transform their school.

Notes from the news, May 5

By Anonymous on May 5, 2010 08:14 AM

Pa. Senate panel OKs charter-oversight bill The Inquirer
The bill would create a state office to investigate charters and give Philly's city controller the authority to audit the city's charter schools.

Scenes from the Renaissance process: Smedley's school council hits the road The Notebook blog
School Advisory Council members from Smedley visited Young Scholars Charter School to see one of the options for how their school could be managed next year.

Benchmarks for Ackerman bonus withheld The Inquirer
A District spokesperson said that Ackerman's contract prohibits the District from releasing the benchmarks that were used to evaluate Ackerman for her $65,000 bonus.

See also: Philadelphia schools chief surprised by attention to her bonus WHYY
Ackerman gets $65K bonus for...secret reasons It's Our Money

Educators Eye Ning's Move to Pay Model Education Week
Philly Teacher blogger, Mary Beth Hertz, said she wasn't sure what service to use now to bring together educators.

Team Clean, Inc. and 32BJ Service Employees International Union Reach Agreement Citybizlist (Press release)

Thornton brings Philly moxie to MPS job BizTimes

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Notes from the news

Scenes from the Renaissance process: Smedley's school council hits the road

By Bill Hangley Jr. on May 4, 2010 12:40 PM

Charlene Young, a parent at Smedley Elementary in Frankford, doesn’t want much for her daughter’s school – just an end to the chaos.

“More controlled classrooms,” she said. “More organization, more respect for the teachers, more respect for each other inside the school.”

Jana Wilcox, development director at the Young Scholars Charter School, promised that her team could deliver.

Notes from the news, May 4

By Anonymous on May 4, 2010 09:06 AM

Ackerman gets $65,000 performance bonus The Inquirer
The bonus was detailed in Ackerman's contract. It and other perks help bring the value of her annual salary to nearly $500,000.

See also: 65G performance bonus for Ackerman Daily News
Ackerman Receives $65K Performance Bonus Fox 29

Phila. school janitors ratify pact with raises The Inquirer
The janitors from 22 high schools were ready to strike, but negotiated a contract to bring their pay and benefits more in line with other janitors in the District.

A different vision of education - TAG Fair The Notebook blog
The Teacher Action Group's first curriculum fair on Saturday brought together teachers and education supporters.

Philly teacher honored on Rach[a]el Ray Show 6ABC
Frankford High's culinary arts teacher got a new kitchen from Rachael Ray last month, and on Monday she appeared on the show.

See also: A Phila. Public School Teacher is Honored on National Cooking Show KYW

School District of Philadelphia Holding Community Budget Hearings! Frankford Gazette

Philly Parks Searching for Summer Interns Plan Philly

Ludlow Elementary Serves As Second Home For Students Philadelphia Neighborhoods

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