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Notes from the news, Mar. 4

By Anonymous on Mar 4, 2010 10:58 AM

Coming to grips with violence Daily News
Tonight there is a symposium at Drexel on school-age violence, which will include a panel with high school students talking about bullying.

Ronnie Polaneczky: I feel terrible about Webcamgate ... and terrible about why Daily News
Lower Merion spends over twice as much per student as Philly does, which allows it to send students home with the laptops that started all the trouble.

RttT finalists out Thursday - but not PA? The Notebook blog
States find out today if they may win some of the first round of grants, and PA is one of the finalists.

Letters: Early schooling can help reduce crime in the city The Inquirer
Philly's DA wrote in to support early childhood ed.

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

RttT finalists out Thursday - but not PA?

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 3, 2010 08:20 PM

UPDATE: Pennsylvania is one of the finalists. Local leaders shared their reactions.

Well, Thursday is the day that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will announce the ten finalists for the coveted Race to the Top pot of gold at 2:30 p.m. States will be notified several hours earlier. Five of these states soon will be chosen as the first round of awardees.

In case you missed it: teacher quality, outside managers

By Anonymous on Mar 3, 2010 05:17 PM

Building a Better Teacher New York Times magazine
Teacher quality is all over the news the days, and Elizabeth Green of GothamSchools.org gives the topic a thorough look in this cover story.

Obama's unfortunate comments on teacher firings The Answer Sheet
Teacher quality also arose in reference to the Rhode Island district that fired all of its teachers. This blog post does a great job of explaining why advocates for wholesale firing "have it all wrong."

See also: School Fires Its Teachers In The Name Of Progress NPR

L.A. School Board Snubs Charter School Operators AP via Education Week
The school board turned the schools over to nonprofit groups of teachers and administrators.

Former 'No Child Left Behind' Advocate Turns Critic NPR
Diane Ravitch has become a vocal critic of NCLB. This piece also includes an excerpt from Ravitch's new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System.

Every weekday you can find a roundup of the local education news, but we're working to make In case you missed it a regular place to catch up on national news. Thanks to Angela Chan and Timothy Boyle for the suggestions for this week's post. Please email us if you have any suggestions, too.

Notes from the news, Mar. 3

By Anonymous on Mar 3, 2010 11:08 AM

Editorial: Now take the next step The Inquirer
The major dailies weighed in on the South Philly High report and both urge further investigation.

See also: School report gets an "incomplete." The Daily News

Students work with pros. The Inquirer
Theatre professionals produce and perform student work this week.

See also: Young Playwrights showcased this week The Notebook blog

Renaissance School provider applicants await the first cut Notebook NEWSFLASH
Twenty-eight groups have applied to run Renaissance schools and over 300 have applied to offer support services.

Reconsider preschool cuts The Inquirer (opinion)
Gov. Rendell's proposed budget includes a $1 million cut to Pre-K Counts.

Science and tech conference in Hershey The Notebook blog
New teacher blogger Timothy Boyle wrote about ideas he learned at a conference in February.

Zero Tolerance & Luzerne County School Stories blog

Distrito Escolar solicita su participación para renacer escuelas Al Dia

Pa. joins a push to boost college graduation The Inquirer 

Mirror, Mirror: Fashion's threatened hoodies The Inquirer

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.

Click here to get Notes from the news in your inbox every day.

Notes from the news

Young Playwrights showcased this week

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 2, 2010 10:40 AM

In all my years covering education, some of my favorite stories have been about Philadelphia Young Playwrights.

I wrote several articles in the early years of the program, which was founded by the late Adele Magner nearly a quarter century ago. Most of these stories were about how English teacher Marsha Pincus and her professional playwright-collaborators were able to coax powerful works of art from students at Simon Gratz High School who were otherwise often considered underachieving.

Science and tech conference in Hershey

By Timothy Boyle on Mar 2, 2010 10:25 AM

In mid-February I attended the Discovery Educator Network Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo PreConference in Hershey.

Educators from Maryland, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania gathered to learn and share Web 2.0 resources for their classrooms. I'll borrow DEN Guru Steve Dembo's definition of Web 2.0 tools as "entirely web-based, interactive, and play well with others." By play well with others, he means these tools work across platform, Mac to PC to whatever you use.

Notes from the news, Mar. 2

By Anonymous on Mar 2, 2010 10:16 AM

From the ugliness at S. Phila. High, a hero emerges The Inquirer
Violet Sutton-Lawson, a South Philly staff member who works with pregnant and parenting teens, was described in the report on South Philly as intervening during violent outbursts.

See also:Phila. Report Details Assaults on Students Education Week (subscription only)

Corrective Reading raising questions The Notebook blog
Teacher blogger Molly Thacker wrote of her concerns with the scripted program.

Should schools be giving out computers? The Inquirer (opinion)
New technologies have been greeted as the saviors for education, but teachers are the only thing that can "save" education.

See also: The Lower Merion School District Paradox Philly School Search 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

Notes from the news, Mar. 1

By Anonymous on Mar 1, 2010 10:21 AM

Actor Tony Danza Will Teach at NE High Through June KYW
The SRC extended Danza's contract from just the fall semester to the full school year.

Editorial: Must students pay to play? The Inquirer
Some districts are making students pay more for extracurriculars, but the Inquirer suggests districts explore other options.

Just Like Me A Very Public Education blog
A parent reflects on why she placed her kids in their neighborhood school.

Kinney Center offering after-school classes for children with autism Philadelphia Business Journal

Reunion de padres de familia y abuelos Al Día

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

Corrective Reading raising questions

By Molly Thacker on Feb 28, 2010 06:15 PM

I think if you asked them, most teachers would say that in addition to having their students excel in their studies, they would hope that they also feel empowered. In our daily interactions with students and in our lesson planning, we attempt to validate students’ experiences, affirm their identities and build trust in order to forge authentic relationships that allow us to teach them well. 

Do we fall short some days? Absolutely. But the intent and the purpose of making real connections with students so that they can make real connections with their learning is there. Lately, I have been grappling with finding the intent and purpose behind the Corrective Reading initiative taking place in classrooms all across our city.  

Notes from the news, Feb. 26

By Anonymous on Feb 26, 2010 10:20 AM

On the origin of lawsuits The Notebook blog
Len Rieser wrote about how lawsuits happen and what can sometimes prevent them, in light of "webcamgate."

See also: Laptop family is no stranger to legal disputes The Inquirer

Nutter Defends Decision to Close Phila. Schools Thursday KYW
Nutter says the forecast warranted the closure. Today the streets are snow covered and schools are closed again.

"Highly Qualified Teachers": Who's Paying for It? Philly Teacher blog
Philly Teacher used her snow day to review her grad school loans. To retain her teaching certificate, and continue to be considered "highly qualified," she had to get a Master's degree.

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

On the origin of lawsuits

By Len Rieser on Feb 25, 2010 01:26 PM

Where do big lawsuits come from?

This is the Darwinian question that occurred to me last week when I learned about “webcamgate” (as some Lower Merion students have called it). That’s the situation that has led to a class action complaint in which a student accuses the district of spying on him and others in their homes, through cameras installed in laptops.

Notes from the news, Feb. 25

By Anonymous on Feb 25, 2010 09:38 AM

Phila. schools chief vows action against violence The Inquirer
The police chief, DA, Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, and others supported Superintendent Ackerman as she described what the District will do about school violence.

See also: Teens on school violence: 'Everybody's dying young' Daily News
Ackerman, others vow action on youth violence Philly.com
Mob Mentality City Paper

No resolution on violence at South Philly The Notebook blog
Helen Gym wrote about the "frightening analysis" in the investigation of events in South Philly.

SRC modifies its charter-school policy The Inquirer
The policy allows successful charters to apply to add grades in year three of the five-year charter term, rather than only at renewal.

See also: SRC: Change for charters Daily News

Phila. School District Extends School Year KYW
The last day of school is one day later and two days were removed from spring break.

See also: A snow day [today] — yippee Philly.com

How Do We Best Teach Technology? Philly Teacher blog
A technology teacher reflects on how to teach a subject that should not be taught in isolation.

Why Don't Liberals Really Like Poor Children? A Good Day Teaching blog
A response to the liberal hand-wringing about sending kids to public schools.

Netter Center continues to make strides in Community UC Review

North Central Philly: Tree House Books Helps Youth, Captures “Voice of Philadelphia” Philadelphia Neighborhoods

But Zero Tolerance MAKES no sense! School Stories blog

Philly Teachers Need Anger Management? Philly School Search 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

No resolution on violence at South Philly

By Helen Gym on Feb 24, 2010 04:36 PM

It’s hard to look at the findings of the District’s independent investigation into the December 3 violence at South Philadelphia High School without significant shock and outrage. After all, this was an incident in which more than two dozen Asian immigrant students were assaulted throughout the day in multiple attacks, which sent 13 youth to the hospital at a school with a history of violence overall and against Asian immigrant students in particular.

Yet nearly three months after the Dec. 3 violence, we have a report that – while providing some insight – mostly sets us right back where we were before: with glaring discrepancies between accounts of student victims and witnesses and findings that appear to absolve the District of any accountability. The investigation was based on interviews with only a fraction of student victims and witnesses and contains innuendos and reliance on rumors that serve only to distract from the main question: could the school/District have done anything differently to avoid or minimize the attacks?

New blogger: The state of science instruction in the District

By Timothy Boyle on Feb 24, 2010 01:50 PM

Please help us welcome another new blogger to our site. You  may recognize Mr. Boyle from the comments, and now you can read his views on science education every week on the Notebook blog.


Hello, my name is Timothy M. Boyle and I am a science prep teacher in School District of Philadelphia. In my three years in the District I have taught science in grades 1-4. Through professional development workshops I have gotten to know elementary science teachers across the District. Discussions about our struggles and successes have yielded inspiration as well as concern.

Notes from the news, Feb. 24

By Anonymous on Feb 24, 2010 11:12 AM

Report released on racial violence at S. Phila. High The Inquirer
The report detailed the incidents of last December and made a series of recommendations.

See also: A graphic account of South Philly violence The Notebook blog
Fix for violence: Ban on hoodies Metro Philadelphia
Asian group hits report on school fights Daily News
Whitewash in South Philly Attytood

Data, please It's Our Money
City Controller Alan Butkovtiz said the cut-off time for students to use TransPasses should be moved up from 7 p.m. to 4 p.m. to help prevent flash mobs.

See also: Controller want time limit on student SEPTA passes Daily News
City official: Restrict student transit passes
The Inquirer
Phila. Controller Urges Tighter Controls on SEPTA Student Fare Passes KYW
Controller's Pass Idea Fails Daily News (opinion)
Piden restricción a estudiantes en SEPTA Al Día

New teacher contracts in Minn., Conn., Philly support reforms in failing urban schools AP via LA Times
The Renaissance Schools plan is getting more regional and national attention for its turnaround approach.

Philadelphia kicks off campaign to boost college attendance WHYY
PhillyGoes2College.com and an office in City Hall opened yesterday.

See also: Philadelphia Offers One-Stop Shopping for Prospective College Grads KYW

Mantua: West Philadelphia Community Center Enriching Young Minds Philadelphia Neighborhoods

What's A Good Liberal To Do? Len Lipkin and Philly School Search Philly Weekly

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