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PA submits new Race to the Top application

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 1, 2010 05:50 PM

Pennsylvania is one of 35 states and the District of Columbia that have submitted new Race to the Top applications in hopes of winning up to $400 million in federal aid.

The deadline for Round Two of the competition run by the Department of Education was Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. In the first round, only Delaware and Tennessee were awarded grants, getting $600 million between them. The original pot was $4.3 billion.

Former SRC commissioner to head academics in Milwaukee

By Helen Gym on Jun 1, 2010 11:12 AM

Heidi Ramirez, the former School Reform Commissioner who was highly regarded for her commitment to accountability and public engagement during her tenure, is leaving Philadelphia to serve as Chief Academic Officer for the Milwaukee Public Schools.

Notes from the news, June 1

By Anonymous on Jun 1, 2010 08:11 AM

Blackwell: Glad for West Philly delay The Notebook blog
City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell would not confirm that she was the source of the SRC delaying the vote on West Philly High's provider. A District spokesperson said they hope to resolve the issue by tomorrow.

Philadelphia Student Union Celebrates 15 Years of Youth Power Philly Education Justice blog
PSU celebrates its 15th anniversary tonight at FACTS Charter School.

Editorial: Let's do lunch The Inquirer
"If it ain't broke," don't try to fix Philly's successful universal feeding program.

Supporters defend Ackerman Philadelphia Tribune
Ackerman told the Tribune editorial board, "To tell you the truth, I didn’t even want a bonus." Supporters praise her work and say she deserves her $65,000 bonus.

Hebrew-language charter school proposed for Center City The Inquirer
Businessman pushes ahead with plans for a Hebrew charter, to operate as another campus of World Communications Charter School, but the school does not have SRC approval.

Charter Schools as an Option A Very Public Education
Sparked by our Summer edition on charter schools, Public Ed Mom recounts some of her experiences with charters.

The dreaded '5th-year decision' Daily News (opinion)
Urges city leadership to set goals, which will galvanize grassroots action, for the number of newborns today who will enroll in public schools in five years.

Olney: Violence in Schools Philadelphia Neighborhoods
More coverage of the most recent public hearing in a series held by the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.

High School Dropouts Costly for American Economy CBS News

School District of Philadelphia to Recognize Students for High Academic Achievement PRWeb

Mayfair: Abraham Lincoln High School Gets a Face Lift Philadelphia Neighborhoods

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Blackwell: Glad for West Philly delay

By Benjamin Herold on May 31, 2010 11:05 AM

It can seem that all roads in West Philadelphia eventually run through City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell.

Is going back to basics the key to the future?

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 28, 2010 03:16 PM

At Wednesday's SRC meeting, there were two fascinating discussions that touched on one of the most persistent philosophical debates in education: are remediation and rigor mutually exclusive? This debate always plays out in figuring out the best ways improve the basic skills of those who have fallen behind.

One was about Corrective Reading and Corrective Math. The other was about School of the Future.

Notes from the news, May 28

By Anonymous on May 28, 2010 08:48 AM

Charter boom – no end in sight The Notebook
The Summer edition is focused on charter schools, which if taken together would be the second largest school district in the state.

City schools' diversity chief resigns The Inquirer
Theos McKinney worked in the diversity office since October and headed the Task Force for Racial and Cultural Harmony, which was created after the Dec. 3 violence at South Philly.

More on the growth in central office The Notebook blog
An apparent increase of more than 200 jobs in the central office is more complicated than that, according to District Chief Business Officer Michael Masch.

Report: Percentage of high-poverty schools rises AP via Philly.com
The 2010 Condition of Education found wide disparities between high-poverty and low-poverty schools including a 23% gap in the graduation rate.

Teaching from the inside out The Notebook blog
Linda Christensen has a great, inspirational new book about teaching language arts.

Help Wanted - E=mc2 CBS 21
Temple University runs the teacher recruitment program to bring in more STEM middle school teachers.

The PFT will pursue the issue of unlicensed principals PFT blog
PFT president Jerry Jordan reiterates his point that evaluations done by uncertified principals should be thrown out.

Philadelphia Recreation Department offering hundreds of summer jobs WHYY

School Of The Future's 1st Class Graduates Fox 29

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More on the growth in central office

By Paul Socolar on May 27, 2010 07:23 PM

Last week we reported on District budget data that appears to show substantial growth in spending for administrative support since 2008-09, including growth in the number of administrative staff positions.

Teaching from the inside out

By Molly Thacker on May 27, 2010 12:06 PM

Teaching For Joy and Justice: Re-imagining the Language Arts Classroom  - the title makes it sound so easy to do! In her most recent book Linda Christensen offers a combination of practical solutions, theoretical frameworks, and inspirational anecdotes for teachers who attempt each and every day to make their classrooms sites of just and joyful learning. 

Notes from the news, May 27

By Anonymous on May 27, 2010 08:50 AM

Behind the West Philly delay The Notebook blog
The SRC delayed approval of Johns Hopkins/Diplomas Now as a Renaissance Schools provider for West.

See also: SRC delays vote on matching West with Hopkins/Diplomas Now The Notebook blog
West Philadelphia High still in limbo Philly.com

SRC OKs spending plan that relies heavily on state aid The Inquirer
The approved District budget assumes $148 million in new revenue - state aid that is tied up in state budget negotiations and federal aid to schools for which the District must submit grant applications.

See also: District budget ok'd despite uncertainty The Notebook blog
Schools hear harsh words on budget squeeze Daily News

Letters: Schools superintendent should be judged fairly The Inquirer
SRC Chairman Robert Archie writes in support of Superintendent Ackerman, in response to Paul Davies' recent editorial.

Ronnie Polaneczky: In harmony, a winning point Daily News
South Philly High's boys' volleyball team is racially diverse, and this week the team beat out Central to win the PIAA-District 12, Class AAA Championship.

Ackerman pledges visit to the Childs school Daily News
She also pledged to include parents on a transition panel.

After 4 Years, 'School of the Future' Mired in Mediocrity KYW
The school graduates its first class this year, but a parent told the SRC that students lack basic skills.

See also: School of the Future having problems in the present Daily News

Phila. Mayor Promotes the Value of Education KYW

South Philadelphia: ‘Mighty Words’ Helps Kids with Writing Philadelphia Neighborhoods

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Behind the West Philly delay

By Benjamin Herold on May 26, 2010 08:30 PM

The School Reform Commission delayed a vote Wednesday that would have matched West Philadelphia High School with Johns Hopkins/Diplomas Now for turnaround as a Renaissance School.

SRC chairman Robert Archie said that new information came to light that needed to be considered before the final vote. He did not elaborate.

But later, it became clear that someone had complained to the SRC that one or more of the parent members of West's School Advisory Council, which recommended Hopkins, was paid as part of a parent outreach program run by the Philadelphia Education Fund. PEF has had a longstanding relationship with Hopkins. Beginning in 1999, PEF helped bring the Talent Development program to several high schools in the city, including Strawberry Mansion and Edison. Talent Development also runs a ninth grade academy at West. PEF would be one of Hopkins' local community partners in the West turnaround.

District budget ok'd despite uncertainty

By Paul Socolar on May 26, 2010 04:29 PM

The School Reform Commission approved a budget for 2010-11 today that assumes $148 million in additional revenue from the state and federal government, allowing for the continuation and expansion of the District's Imagine 2014 strategic plan.

SRC delays vote on matching West with Hopkins/Diplomas Now

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 26, 2010 02:08 PM

The School Reform Commission delayed a vote that would have matched West Philadelphia High School with Johns Hopkins/Diplomas Now for turnaround as a Renaissance School, even though there was a resolution prepared to do this.

SRC chairman Robert Archie said that new information has come to light that needed to be considered before the final vote. He did not elaborate.

West's School Advisory Council voted Monday night to choose its turnaround provider. Johns Hopkins/Diplomas Now was the choice of the 15-member committee, which is made up of 8 parents and 7 community members.

Reporter Benjamin Herold compiled a timeline of the Renaissance Schools process at West since January.

UPDATE: Details on the delay.

Notes from the news, May 26

By Anonymous on May 26, 2010 08:57 AM

The damage may be done, say West teachers The Notebook blog
We'll find out today who will manage West next year, but many of the teachers who have helped improve the school over the past few years already have new jobs.

City panel hears of more targeting of immigrants at schools The Inquirer
At another in the series of Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations public hearings students and community leaders were explicit that immigrant students are targets of violence and harassment.

Barratt School tour impresses Childs parents Daily News
Parents approved of the spruced up condition of the Barratt School, but worry that Childs current principal won't be back next year.

See also: South Phila. School Closing Could Put Students with Rivals KYW

South Philly Principal Still On Payroll Fox 29
Ackerman said she wants to be fair to parents who think LaGreta Brown was treated unfairly and parents who think Brown shouldn't be "in any position." She also said she wants to do "what's in the best interests of children and the school system."

See also: Embattled South Philly High Ex-Principal Still Drawing Paycheck KYW

[Tuesday]: State house votes on new revenue stream The Notebook blog
The state House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on taxing tobacco and energy as well as closing tax loopholes to help fund essential services including education.

New school rules for food and exercise WHYY

Guest Column: Real failure of public schools is inattention Delco Times

edcamp Philly: Words Cannot Explain.... Philly Teacher blog

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The damage may be done, say West teachers

By Benjamin Herold on May 25, 2010 03:39 PM

The two-week delay imposed on West Philadelphia High School for choosing a “turnaround” provider under Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s Renaissance Schools process could result in the loss of the some of the schools’ best teachers, according to nearly a dozen faculty members.

The result of Monday night’s final vote by West’s School Advisory Council (SAC) to select their preferred turnaround team will not be made public until Wednesday.  The options were Johns Hopkins/Diplomas Now, Ackerman’s own Promise Academy, and Mastery Charter.

Today: State house votes on new revenue stream

By Anonymous on May 25, 2010 10:26 AM

The Pennsylvania House of Representative is scheduled to vote today on House Bill 2435, which would tax tobacco products and natural gas drilling to head off budget cuts and use the money for education and other critical public services. State Representative Dwight Evans sponsored the bill, which will also close corporate tax loopholes and a sales tax giveaway.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, Public Citizens for Children and Youth, and other organizations are urging voters to call their state representatives. PCCY's website allows you to enter your ZIP code and find out who your representatives are, and how to contact them.

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