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Notes from the news, Apr. 4

By Anonymous on Apr 4, 2011 10:04 AM

notes from the news imageThreatening email targets Phila. School Headquarters 6 ABC
The email said the bomb would be in retaliation for Superintendent Ackerman's treatment of teachers. Staff have been asked to report any suspicious activity.

See also: Security stepped up at School District in face of threat The Inquirer
Ackerman recibe amenaza de muerte Al Día
Bomb squad searches School District headquarters WHYY/NewsWorks
Bomb Threat Reported at School District Headquarters Chestnut Hill Patch
Ackerman gets bomb threat Daily News
Philly School Superintendent, Staff Threatened NBC Philadelphia
Bomb Threat at SDP A Very Public Education blog

Healing the Wounds of South Phila. High The Inquirer
The final installment in the "Assault on Learning" series looks at the changes at South Philly High with new principal Oits Hackney.

See also: Inquirer Editorial: Can't learn with violence The Inquirer
Monica Yant Kinney: A city school success has parents working to save it The Inquirer
Hancock School isn't violent The Inquirer (opinion)
Letters to the Editor 'Assault on learning' in Philly schools The Inquirer
Letters to the Editor 'Assault on learning' in Philly's schools The Inquirer

Community responds to the District budget shortfall The Notebook NEWSFLASH
The District shared its plans on how to deal with the deficit, but community groups have other suggestions.

John Baer: Could 'stashed' funds help Pa. schools in crisis? Daily News
Baer presses districts to use rainy day funds, which total $2.7 billion statewide. Philly has no money in its reserve fund.

See also: Letters: To Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett: College, not prison, is the way to go Daily News
ED BUDGET HEARINGS Keystone State Education Coalition

Ackerman talks budget (and chainsaws) at Leeds Middle School WHYY/NewsWorks
Ackerman talked about what changes would be part of a "doomsday" budget scenario and assured parents that only special education services that are "extras" may be cut, not core services required to fulfill a student's IEP.

See also: Ackerman discusses budget cuts, violence in schools West Philly Local

A message from students who left The Notebook
The Notebook's April edition is focused on students who have dropped out or been pushed out of school and their experiences.

See also: Undefining “Dropout” Voice of Philadelphia


Senator proposes rescue plan for state's struggling schools The Patriot-News
State Sen. Vincent Hughes plans to propose a bill today that would focus on turning around the lowest five percent of schools, rather than giving some students vouchers.

Grays Ferry community groups weigh in on Audenried plan The Notebook blog
Community groups say they were not consulted about the plan to turn over Audenried to Universal Companies, but they don't have plans to protest the move.

Education chat: Helen Gym - the continuing conversation The Notebook blog
Helen Gym chatted on on Thursday, and included some excerpts here.

'Parent trigger' laws give parents more power The Notebook blog
The laws allow parents to decide when and how to turn around schools.

Campaign for Nonviolent Schools Marches, 2000 Strong Philly Education Justice blog
Report from Wednesday's rally, with video.

Transcript: Live Chat on District Budget A Broad View blog

More districts looking at nontraditional candidates to lead schools The Inquirer

Private or state schools? What's the difference The Inquirer

Inmates urge West Philly High students to stay in school Philadelphia Tribune

Letters: An unfair aspect to Pennsylvania school vouchers Daily News

Performance Teaching Making the Grade 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

'Parent trigger' laws give parents more power

By Deborah Russell... on Apr 1, 2011 03:22 PM

Imagine us, the folk on Dauphin Street in North Philly, devoid of fancy degrees and titles. No Ed.D., Ph.D., M.A., or even a high school degree in many cases.

Yet, under proposed new legislation, there is a chance we may get more power to speak out on books in the curriculum or weigh in on effective classroom management. And supervise the principal, as if we were the board of directors (and theoretically we are). And work to boost the morale of a dispirited teaching staff that often feels taken for granted.

Or if none of that works, demand the school turn into a charter.

Far-out future or reality?

Grays Ferry community groups weigh in on Audenried plan

By Benjamin Herold on Apr 1, 2011 01:28 PM

A coalition of seven community groups serving the Grays Ferry neighborhood of South Philadelphia has finally weighed in on the School District’s plans to award Audenried High to Universal Companies for conversion to a charter.

Sort of.

Education chat: Helen Gym - the continuing conversation

By Helen Gym on Apr 1, 2011 11:52 AM

[Clarification: The questions posted below were ones that went unpublished and unanswered on on Thursday due to time or the moderator's choice. I was not the moderator for the questions that did appear on the online chat.]

Yesterday, I was a guest on a live chat at about the District’s budget cuts. The dialogue was fast-paced and lively, and included comments from education advocates, parents, and District communications staff members Shana Kemp and Jamilah Fraser. Because of the timing, we couldn’t get in all the questions, so I posted them below.

For readability’s sake, I pulled out a few Q&As at the top, then posted the rest of the comments below unedited. Hopefully, others can continue the dialogue in the comments section. 

Notes from the news, Apr. 1

By Anonymous on Apr 1, 2011 09:58 AM

notes from the news imageSome Antiviolence Efforts Are Working The Inquirer
In part six of the "Assault on Learning" series the investigation looks at successful programs such as Positive Behavior Supports.

See also: A Fla. district leads in violence prevention The Inquirer
Phila. looking to decrease its reliance on use of out-of-school suspensions The Inquirer
Dealing with school violence: Accusations or conversations? The Notebook blog
Annette John-Hall: Blame game won't stop school violence The Inquirer
Letters: School violence teaches kids the wrong lessons The Inquirer

Philadelphia teachers ready for a kick in the class Daily News
The $629 million deficit will likely mean teacher layoffs.

See also: Chat school cuts with Helen Gym Daily News
Philly School District's Budget Crisis Fox 29
Student Leaders To Fight Cuts Together AP via Fox 29
Philly schools face $629M budget shortfall
Philadelphia Tribune
Students march in Philly to protest education cuts
Philadelphia Tribune

School District to reveal closing-consolidation plan The Inquirer
The District will reveal the plan next Thursday and will hold a series of community meetings to discuss it.

See also: District to present plan for school buildings next week The Hall Monitor blog

Bitter-tweet reaction to Daily News' 'Chainsaw' cover Daily News
The District took to social media yesterday to discuss the Thursday cover of the Daily News, which featured Superintendent Ackerman photoshopped with a chainsaw under a headline about budget cuts.

See also: Violence For Sale's Sake = Okay? A Broad View blog
Maybe we should have used a pickaxe? The Hall Monitor blog
Daily News vs. the School District on Twitter WHYY/NewsWorks
Twitter War: School District Vs. Daily News The Philly Post blog
TWIT STORM: DN And Philadelphia School District Going Mano-A-Mano On Twitter Over Today’s Cover Phawker

At Ford Foundation, a harsh critique of urban school closures The Notebook blog
The Ford Foundation brought together activists from several urban districts to discuss the current tenor of school turnaround.

On the tube The Inquirer
Philadelphia teacher Elisabeth Raab participated in the first ever Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament.

Chaka Fattah on a mission to close opportunity gap between rich and poor The Hall Monitor blog

District launches 2011 March of Dimes' campaign  The Hall Monitor blog

Vouchers don't solve the problem in education Education Voters PA blog

Will Kimora Lee Simmons Makeover YOUR Classroom? A Broad View 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

Dealing with school violence: Accusations or conversations?

By Len Rieser on Mar 31, 2011 06:41 PM

“The students are hopeless."

“The union is useless."

“The administrators are incompetent, and liars to boot."

“The families are horrible."

These, and many more, are among the comments responding to the Inquirer series on school violence.

At Ford Foundation, a harsh critique of urban school closures

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 31, 2011 01:03 PM

For many, the growing push to close underutilized and chronically low-performing urban schools sounds like a common sense plan.

But not Chicago's Jitu Brown.

“School closings actually harm us in our communities,” said Brown, speaking Monday at the Ford Foundation in New York City.

Notes from the news, Mar. 31

By Anonymous on Mar 31, 2011 10:10 AM

notes from the news imageDistrict outlines plan to close $629 million gap The Notebook blog
The SRC adopted a lump sum budget yesterday that includes $281 million in cuts to schools and includes all three phases of the District's plan to address the deficit.

See also: Philadelphia schools raise shortfall estimate to $629 million, warn of major cuts The Inquirer
Our schools: Death by 1,000 cuts? Daily News
Sports, Music Face School Budget Ax Fox 29

Phila. students, supporters rally against school violence, state budget cuts The Inquirer
Nearly a thousand people attended the "Fund Schools, Not Prisons" rally organized by the Campaign for Nonviolent Schools.

See also: Students: fund schools, not prisons The Notebook blog
Campaign for Nonviolent Schools Keeps Building Power After Citywide March PSU blog
High School Students Rally Against State’s Proposed Budget Cuts CBS Philly
Estudiantes protestan ante recortes del gobernadora Al Día
Temple Students Protest Cuts To Higher Education CBS Philly
High school students rally to protest education cuts 6 ABC
March to City Hall garners support for education The Temple News

A Flawed System Of Intervention The Inquirer
In part five of the "Assault on Learning" series, the investigation finds that interventions like CSAP "too often fail."

See also: Philly schools insist on CSAP for a disabled boy, instead of the care he needs The Inquirer
At Philly disciplinary school, students face a strict day The Inquirer
Full district response to Assault on Learning Philly School Files blog
Letters: School violence teaches kids the wrong lessons The Inquirer
Philadelphia school violence: where's the superintendent? WHYY/NewsWorks
Notes from the Field-A Shameless Abdication of Responsibility City School Stories

Nunery: no school closings this September The Notebook blog
The District is counting on some savings from the implementation of the facilities master plan, but Nunery says closings won't happen in September.

The case for an elected school board The Notebook blog
In part two of a three-part series about governance for the Philadelphia schools, Ron Whitehorne describes why a democratically elected school board is important.

Education chat: Helen Gym Young Philly Politics
Helen Gym will be chatting on at 1 p.m. today.

Letters: Hope Moffett is not quite ready for beatification Daily News

Meals on Wheels marches on at Southern South Philly Review

Guest Blog: Violence, No Disposable Youth A Broad View blog

Language Services: Making Education Accessible A Broad View blog

Flipping the Urban Classroom Making the Grade blog

Point of View: My Stand For Ackerman, Gamble And Renaissance Plan Could Prevail If… UC Review

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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Nunery: no school closings this September

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 30, 2011 09:44 PM

Deputy Superintendent Leroy Nunery said Wednesday that there will be no school closings this September, even though the District is counting on some savings next year by implementing parts of its facilities master plan.

Besides school closings, other options include school consolidation, relocation, expansion, and co-location with charter schools. Those options are still on the table for this fall, a spokesperson said.

Students: fund schools, not prisons

By Celeste Lavin on Mar 30, 2011 09:34 PM

More than 1,500 elementary, secondary, and college students marched up Broad Street today protesting Governor Corbett’s massive cuts to education in his proposed budget.

The case for an elected school board

By Ron Whitehorne on Mar 30, 2011 05:14 PM

This is the second in a three-part series about governance of the Philadelphia schools.

Today, Philadelphia's schools are governed by a state commission with a majority selected by the governor in Harrisburg. Ten years ago we had a school board appointed by the mayor and nominated by a panel of civic notables, who were selected by the mayor based on criteria enumerated in the city’s charter. In both cases, Philadelphia's citizens did not select the people responsible for the city's public school system.

District outlines plan to close $629 million gap

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 30, 2011 12:48 PM

UPDATE: The School Reform Commission adopted a $2.7 billion lump sum budget Wednesday that closes a $629 million revenue gap that officials called "unprecedented" in its scope and potential impact. 

The plan includes $281 million in cuts to schools, $220 million through centrally allocated services, and $61 million -- or 13 percent -- in school budgets. These cuts will likely result in increased class size, fewer specialty teachers, fewer nurses, fewer counselors, and fewer teachers for special education students and English language learners. The average school budget will be cut more than $1 million.

Principals will get their individual school budget on Friday.

The plan counts a number of tenuous revenue assumptions, including $75 million in wage and benefits concessions from unions and reducing reimbursements to charter schools by $57 million, even though that requires a change in state law. It also includes $11 million in savings by transferring some costs to the city.

Notes from the news, Mar. 30

By Anonymous on Mar 30, 2011 09:44 AM

notes from the news imageViolence Targets Teachers, Staff The Inquirer
The fourth installment in the "Assault on Learning" series looks at violence against teachers. In the past five years more than 4,000 teachers were assaulted.

See also: Students' exodus is the verdict on violence The Inquirer (opinion)
Ronnie Polaneczky: Why we need a Safe School Advocate. Fast. Daily News
Guest Blog: Preventing Violence: What Can Schools Do? A Broad View blog

Education chief defends Corbett cuts The Inquirer
Ron Tomalis said the budget reflects the administration's commitment to the "core mission" of public education. Tomalis testified for six hours answering questions from skeptical Republican and Democratic legislators.

See also: Bethlehem Considers Heavy Teacher Layoffs NBC Philadelphia

Teamwork raises Carroll High scores and morale Philadelphia Tribune
This week's Learning Key looks at the test prep and other programs at Carroll High, the all-city music fest at the Kimmel Center, and a Q+A with the District's student of the month.

See also: Excellence on display at all-city music fest Philadelphia Tribune
Student of the Month sets ambitious goals
Philadelphia Tribune

UPenn Writers House reaches out to Philly students The Notebook blog
The Kelly Writers House recently launched an online literary journal, The Blacktop, which features work from students in Philly schools.

The question the voucher man could not answer Young Philly Politics
Teacher Keith Newman got an angry response from State Sen. Anthony Williams when he questioned that the voucher program would only help a small number of kids.

Enlightened Self-Interest (or Send Mr. Chase to Harvard) Practical Theory blog
SLA English teacher Zac Chase is crowdsourcing funding for a Harvard graduate degree in education, and this prompts SLA principal's to reflect on leadership.

Queen Arlene Is Earning Her Nickname The Philly Post blog

Guest Blog: Serve the Community, Serve the Students A Broad View blog

2 Pa. Bills Aim to Make Teens Think Twice Before Cyberbullying Philadelphia Weekly

Letters: On Fatimah Ali & prayer Daily News

What We Can Learn from Peer Pressure Philly 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

UPenn Writers House reaches out to Philly students

By Guest blogger on Mar 29, 2011 05:25 PM

This guest blog post comes from Allyson Even, outreach coordinator at the Kelly Writers House. The KWH hosts a new online literary magazine for students in Philadelphia, The Blacktop.

The other night, I sat, coffee in hand, with two friends in the rooftop lounge of our dorm doing homework. My companions were reading chapter two of Terry Eagleton’s "How to Read a Poem," entitled What is Poetry? As an employee of the KWH, it was a question that I hear more often than you might expect. To me, the question of what is poetry? is misplaced. Perhaps in academia it has its place, but I spend more time at University City High School than in my own classes.

Notes from the news, Mar. 29

By Anonymous on Mar 29, 2011 10:00 AM

notes from the news imageYoung and Violent, Even Kindergartners The Inquirer
Part three in the "Assault on Learning" series looks at students from five to ten years old. One in six assaults in District schools is committed by a student under ten.

See also: Other cities taking steps to deal with violent behavior The Inquirer
School Violence: A Matter of Public Health A Broad View blog
Safer Neighborhoods = Safer Schools Making the Grade blog
Reflections: Then and Now- School Violence a Symptom of a More Serious Illness City School Stories

Lawmakers would reinstate safe-schools advocate Daily News
State Reps. Taylor and Keller called for reinstating the Office of the Safe Schools Advocate. They introduced the legislation that created the position in 2001. The position was defunded in 2009.

See also: Legislators to seek funding for Philly school-safety post The Inquirer
State reps. want safe schools advocate again The Notebook blog
Lawmakers calling for safe schools watchdog
Philadelphia Tribune

What Waiting for Superman Got Right (And Wrong.) Practical Theory blog
Eighth-grade students find out what high schools accepted them this week. Science Leadership Academy did 1,000 interviews for 125 seats.

Students rally against proposed education budget cuts at the Pennsylvania State Capitol The Patriot-News
Student-athletes from state-supported colleges ran to Harrisburg to join the rally.

See also: Hundreds Of Pa. Students Protest Cuts Fox 29
Corbett Defends Massive School Cuts Fox 29
ED BUDGET HEARING LIVE FEED Keystone State Education Coalition

Proposed Pennsylvania law would give local school boards more freedom to award charters The Inquirer
The bill would also create a State Commission on Charter Schools and Cyber Charter Schools that could grant charters and hear appeals if a charter is rejected by a local district.

Philadelphia-area businesses take part to mentor young readers The Inquirer
The businesses participate in the Philadelphia Reads program, which was founded by Marciene Mattleman in 1997 and now serves 950 students.

OP-ED: Time For Queen Arlene To Vacate The Throne Phawker
Phawker's editor says if Superintendent Ackerman "can't or won't" create a safe learning environment, she should step aside.

See also: It's good to be the queen Attytood

Guest Blog: When Students Have a Voice A Broad View blog

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