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Central office takes a hit

By Paul Socolar on Oct 9, 2009 06:21 PM

District officials will not comment, but staff from central office departments tell the Notebook that some School District departments have been ordered to make 3 percent budget cuts to address the District's budget gap, estimated to be $160 million or more.

For Latinos, aspirations far exceed attainment

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 9, 2009 04:27 PM

A new study from the Pew Hispanic Center reveals that while most Latino students say a college education is essential for future success, fewer than half of them expect to get a college degree themselves.
 
This "aspirations gap" is more acute among young Latino immigrants than among those who were born here, the study said. Only 29 percent of immigrant Latinos age 18-25 said they planned to get a bachelor's degree, compared to 60 percent of the U.S.-born.
 

The Notebook is looking for freelancers!

By thenotebook on Oct 9, 2009 03:46 PM

Want to work with the Notebook? We're now looking for freelance writers, and we're always looking for interns.

Notes from the news, Oct. 9

By Erika Owens on Oct 9, 2009 10:01 AM

Phila. Council begins to reinvent the defunct BRT The Inquirer
City Council has entered the BRT saga, and as promised, changes began on Thursday. But the 80 BRT workers on the District payroll remain a question mark. Last week, Fox 29  had a piece on the BRT.

See also: BRT Workers On School District Payroll Fox 29
Nutter appoints new BRT director WHYY

Teacher campaign takes platform to the mayor The Notebook blog
The Effective Teaching Campaign presented Mayor Nutter with hundreds of postcards supporting their platform that calls for changes in the ways teachers are evaluated and assigned to schools.

Follow the money: Management changes have net cost The Notebook blog
Several changes to District administration were announced this week. Paul Socolar runs down the salary changes and impact on a budget facing a $160 million gap.

2 Catholic high schools to close in Phila. The Inquirer
The schools used to educate thousands of students each year, but their enrollments have dwindled. The announcement elicited a loud reaction from thousands of alumni and supporters.

See also: 'The tradition, the incredible memories' Daily News

Phila schools to give out H1N1 vaccine WHYY
Seeking to avoid school closures due to the flu, the District will give out H1N1 flu vaccines.

See also: Phila. School Nurses Get Swine Flu Vaccination Training KYW

PA Budget Impasse & the Link to Education PhillyIMC
Thursday many groups noted the 100-day mark of the state not having a budget. Children Just For Now Executive Director Viveca Gresham has some ideas on what to do in the face of slashed budgets an unemployment.

Teacher campaign takes platform to the mayor

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 8, 2009 05:44 PM

More than 40 people -- parents, grandparents, students, teachers, and activists -- made a personal plea to Mayor Nutter Thursday to take a proactive role in the ongoing contract negotiations between the School District and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

Members of the Effective Teaching Campaign presented Nutter with hundreds of postcards signed by people who back their platform, which calls for changes in how teachers are evaluated and assigned to schools.

Follow the money: Management changes have net cost

By Paul Socolar on Oct 8, 2009 11:51 AM

Changes in top management at the District include a new chief of staff, Superintendent Ackerman's third in 16 months; a newly created $130,000 position for her former chief of staff; and a chain reaction of shifts to fill vacated positions.

Notes from the news, Oct. 8

By Erika Owens on Oct 8, 2009 09:57 AM

Ackerman moves top school leaders around The Inquirer
Changes in the Ackerman administration leadership include a new chief of staff and the creation of a new position.

Breakfast at school now is on the principal The Inquirer
Dale Mezzacappa blogged earlier this year about the wide variation in breakfast participation. Now, principals will be held accountable for their students eating breakfast.

Phila. Joins Other Schools to Observe ''Walk to School Day'' KYW
Wednesday was "Walk to School Day," highlighting the importance of a safe walk to school.

BRT will yield assessment tasks Inquirer
The Nutter administration takes charge of running the Board of Revision of Taxes, but the 80 patronage jobs of BRT clerks on the School District payroll stay put for now.

Jon Lavery: Nuevo director del Lighthouse Al Día
SRC member Johnny Irizarry was director of the Lighthouse, a nonprofit that provides education, recreation, and economic support services in North Philly. He left the position that will now be filled by Jon Lavery who is from Philly, but has lived for the past 20 years in Boston.

Nxt Up Education KYW
On Monday at 6 p.m. at University of the Arts Nxt Up Education will give a presentation. Twelve educators will speak for five minutes each with 20 slides about "
what they are doing to help improve the education of Philly’s young people."

Other news: "Very Hungry Caterpillar" author Eric Carle will be at William Dick Elementary today for an event with Mayor Nutter and Superintendent Ackerman to promote early childhood literacy.

The AFT will announce today that PFT President Jerry T. Jordan will receive AFT Innovation Fund Grants, "which will provide support for students in 10 community schools. "

Notes from the news, Oct. 7

By Erika Owens on Oct 7, 2009 10:14 AM

Danny Glover adds voice for school workers Daily News
School cafeteria workers and noontime aides are organizing for better pay, and back pay to be paid at the level of city workers. City Councilman Wilson Goode just introduced a bill asking the SRC to apply the city worker pay level, at least 150% of minimum wage, to cafeteria workers.

State budget stalemate strangling a day-care center The Inquirer
The lack of a state budget continues to strain the resources of child care providers. This piece looks at a center in Bucks County that may have to close if a budget is not approved soon.

See also: Nonprofits go into debt without state funds WHYY
Budget deal mired in delay and confusion WHYY

Nutter comes out swinging on the BRT Young Philly Politics
Mayor Nutter unveiled a plan for the BRT that would bring it onto the city payroll and have the mayor's office make the appointments, rather than political insiders.

See also: Nutter Still Pushing For Unified Effort on Tax Board Reform KYW

Attack PSU blog
Philadelphia Student Union organizer Koby Murphy reflects on his encounter last week with Rev. Al Sharpton. Koby had "
never felt more disrespected and hurt" in his career as an organizer.

Editorial: More time for learning The Inquirer
And, even more support for the longer school day.

Letters: District has not changed its school violence policy The Inquirer
The District's Chief Safety Executive responds to Monday's editorial about school safety.

Hanging on to student work

By Anna Weiss on Oct 6, 2009 08:08 PM

When I was in 7th grade - about the same age that my own students are now - we moved to a new school district. My new junior high, while perfectly serviceable, was not as elite as my previous middle school, and my mother was already nervous for my sister and me. She asked me after the first week how things were going.

"It's okay," I said tentatively. "But I think I'm in the wrong class."
 
"What do you mean?" answered my mom, whirling around in the driver's seat.  

Notes from the news, Oct. 6

By Erika Owens on Oct 6, 2009 10:20 AM

Education: The shame of the city Daily News (opinion)
The title of this editorial is pretty shocking, but the content turned out not to be. It's about the college graduation rates in Philly, which stand at the back of the pack for major cities. Mayor Nutter has pledged to improve the college graduation rates, and the writer supports Nutter in this.

Dental Care Project for Philadelphia School Kids Expands KYW
The Oral Impact Health Project is filling the void the recession has helped create with families skipping dentist appointments. Students in 145 schools will get free exams twice a year from the project.

Noted educator Thomas-El set for leaders breakfast Herald Review
Philly principal Salome Thomas-El will be in Decatur, IL for a Community Leaders Breakfast. He'll also appear on the Dr. Oz show and is in development for his own reality TV show, "Principal."

'Something Intangible,' 'Cinderella' win big at Barrymores The Inquirer
Philly school's current reality TV star, Tony Danza got a brief mention in the Barrymores coverage. He handed out the award for educational programming to Lantern Theatre Company.

About the budget stalemate - from our new blogger, Christie Balka

By Christie Balka on Oct 5, 2009 09:01 AM

This blog post begins with a mea culpa: Friday at midday I posted a note on Facebook saying the House had just voted for a revenue plan that nullified the handshake budget agreement announced two weeks ago.

In actuality, it took the House another ten hours to vote for the plan. Almost five of those hours were filled with passionate speeches from House Democrats for the benefit of folks back home: about the harm a tax would inflict on the arts, culture and local fire companies, about the importance of taxing smokeless tobacco and paying to clean up the environment once corporations drill for natural gas. Republicans chimed in with well-worn arguments about the need to reduce government spending.

Notes from the news, Oct. 5

By Erika Owens on Oct 5, 2009 08:48 AM

Editorial: Cooked numbers The Inquirer
The Inquirer questions the District's current policy on crimes in the classroom. With principals deciding whether to call the police the number of crimes reported has gone down, but the Inquirer doubts that is due to an actual improvement in school safety.

Head Strong: It's time to get smarter on extended school day The Inquirer (opinion)
More support for a longer school day, but the overwhelming majority on our blog are skeptical.

About the budget stalemate - from our new blogger, Christie Balka The Notebook blog
We cited Balka last week in an update about the state budget situation, and she writes in with her first blog for the Notebook to explain the situation further.

New Web Site Connects the Disabled with Cultural Events KYW
Several organizations have gathered at one hub on the web to centralize information about arts and cultural events of interest to disabled people.

Developing story: Handshake agreement on the PA budget is off

By Erika Owens on Oct 2, 2009 01:43 PM

UPDATE: The House approved the budget with tax revenue plans that were not part of the previous budget agreement. The bill now goes to the State Senate. According to the Inquirer article, "a top [Republican] aide promptly condemned the plan but said leaders would work through the weekend in hopes of working out a new agreement."

According to Christie Balka of PCCY, the tentative budget agreement has collapsed. Balka posted on Facebook:

"Handshake Agreement" on the PA budget just fell through. The House passed a revenue plan that's a vast improvement over the last one and the Senate said it violates the spirit of the agreement. All bets are off about when we'll have an actual budget. THIS IS NOT A VICTORY FOR ANYONE: IT PUTS US THAT MUCH FURTHER AWAY FROM HAVING AN ACTUAL BUDGET THAT REAL PEOPLE DEPEND ON. To see how this situation impacts people in our communities click here: http://pccychildwatch.blogspot.com/2009/09/what-does-budget-impasse-mean... . Then call your legislators and tell them to get the job done!

The sticking point appears to be the Arts tax. Democrats in the House removed that from their version of the budget bill, "instead backing taxes on cigars, smokeless tobacco, casino table games and natural gas drilling."

KYW has a report on the "collapse" of the budget deal and says this could mean a delay of at least another week. The spokesman for the state senate Republican leader says that the change in revenue in the House bill essentially "resets" the negotiations.

We'll post more details as they become available.

Creating collaborative working environments

By Eric Braxton on Oct 2, 2009 01:02 PM

Everyone agrees that the best schools are the ones where teachers and administrators are working together. So how do we get past the decades of mistrust that prevent the teachers union and school district from working together to improve our schools? Maybe we should send them all to a ropes course and have them practice trust falls. Maybe we need some new age facilitators to come in and let the healing begin. 

Thursday morning Timothy Kraus gave a very interesting presentation to the Education First Compact about how the teachers' union and school district in Cincinnati have worked together to create a collaborative approach to improving schools. While things are by no means perfect in Cincinnati, there are clearly some interesting lessons to be learned there about how to create democratic, collaborative work places, which is essential to improving our schools. 

Notes from the news, Oct. 2

By Erika Owens on Oct 2, 2009 12:50 AM

Schools dangerous, or is reporting to blame? Daily News
Thousands of dangerous incidents have been reported in Philadelphia schools over the past two years, but less than half have involved a call to police.

Confirmado el reemplazo de Heidi: un “lobbyist”  Al Día
David Girard-diCarlo, one of two newly confirmed members of the SRC, will head a lobbying division at his law firm.

To help their kids advance, parents are headed back to school Daily News
October is Parent Appreciation month. Saturday will be a parent appreciation day at the District, and this piece describes other offerings for parents like Parent University and parent roundtables. The first roundtable will be on Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. at University City High School.

Notebook guest blog: From behind the fence The Notebook blog
The first in a new feature on the blog, this piece looks at the Sept. 29 visit from Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Rev. Al Sharpton. This blog also has a PSU video of PSU and YUC students speaking with Duncan and Sharpton about setting up a meeting.

Community Love Gathering for Education PSU blog
This post describes an upcoming event on October 6 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Beloved St. John Evangelistic Church, 4500 N. Broad St. Panelists include Seth Williams, Dr. Charles Williams, Lori Shorr, youth leaders from the Philadelphia Student Union, and Dr. Ackerman.

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