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Keith Look's turnaround work in Nashville

By the Notebook on Mar 3, 2011 05:25 PM

The Notebook recently began sharing content with Education Week, where this piece originally appeared. Keith Look formerly worked at the Philadelphia Education Fund and served as an administrator in the Philadelphia School District.

Education Week logo

by Alyson Klein

Louisville, Ky.

The test scores aren’t in yet, but by almost every other measure that matters—school climate, instructional strategies, staff satisfaction—the former Shawnee High School isn’t the same place it was just a year ago.

A student's take on King High's turnaround

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Mar 3, 2011 02:57 PM

The young man said, “You’re with the news?”

Yes, I said.

“I’m a student leader,” he replied, slender and thoughtful-looking in clean jeans and a blue windbreaker. “My name is Taylor Smith.”

We stood in the back of the auditorium at Martin Luther King High in Germantown. Up front, about sixty parents and teachers sat and listened while a professional moderator explained the evening’s agenda. Next year, as part of the Philadelphia School District’s Renaissance program, King will be under new management. Three different independent organizations are vying for the contract. On this rainy Thursday night, the District’s goal was to gather feedback from parents about what they’d like to see from King’s next administration.

A week before, like students at two other newly-designated Renaissance high schools, about 75 of King’s 1,000 students walked out of class to protest the shakeup. Smith  wasn’t one of them. “Most of those kids, they didn’t even know what they was protesting,” he said.

This story continues on the NewsWorks website; it is a product of a reporting collaboration between the Notebook and WHYY.

Notes from the news, Mar. 3

By Anonymous on Mar 3, 2011 10:35 AM

notes from the news imageTeachers brace for layoffs, reassignments The Notebook NEWSFLASH
The budget situation could lead to staffing changes in schools.

District keeping Hope on the hook Daily News
Moffett had a disciplinary hearing yesterday and found out the District plans another hearing, which likely means "204" charges that could result in unpaid suspension or termination.

See also: Audenried teacher expects disciplinary charges The Inquirer
While Moffett waits, her students drift The Notebook blog
Outspoken Philadelphia School Teacher Sits In Exile CBS Philly

Civil Rights Deal Signals Federal Push for Translation Services Education Week
A look at the Justice Department agreement that arose from the District's response to the violence at South Philly High.

Mapping District facilities The Notebook blog
The Notebook worked with PlanPhilly to create a map of all District facilities with details about when they were built, ownership, and other info.

The MLK turnaround - a view from the back of the room WHYY/NewsWorks
A student's view of the turnaround of King High School.

Dr. Ackerman: In Her Own Words A Broad View blog
Ackerman discussed her experience going to a segregated school in a video for NBC 10.

Power outage closes E.W. Rhodes High School on Thursday Daily News

Saul students off to Flower Show Roxborough Review

Green Woods Charter School Plans Move To Chestnut Hill Roxborough-Manayunk Patch

Ángel Cruz: Irresponsable extender contrato de Ackerman Al Día

Council to fight school bullying Philadelphia Tribune

Notes from the Field-The Power of Social Networks to Counter Media Bias City School Stories

Documentation Station Making the Grade blog

It’s all about the kids? Keystone State Education Coalition

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

While Moffett waits, her students drift

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 3, 2011 03:20 AM

While exiled English teacher Hope Moffett continues to languish in “teacher jail,” her 106 11th grade students at Audenried High School are preparing for their third – and in some cases, fourth – substitute teacher in the past eight days.

With the all-important state PSSA exam – the first for the recently re-opened Audenried – just two weeks away, some students and parents say that teaching and learning in the school’s English III classes has largely ground to a halt.

Mapping District facilities

By Anonymous on Mar 2, 2011 04:50 PM

Click here for a larger version of the map.


In partnership with PlanPhilly, the Notebook has created a map of School District of Philadelphia facilities.

The map includes details about schools and other properties the District leases or owns like pools, annexes, and administrative offices.

Notes from the news, Mar. 2

By Anonymous on Mar 2, 2011 10:55 AM

notes from the news imageSchools get 'clear road map' on resolving violence Daily News
The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations issued the report based on 11 community meetings held after the violence at South Philly High.

See also: District needs ‘system-wide’ violence plan: report The Inquirer
District 'taking seriously' commission report on intergroup conflict The Notebook blog
Report: Cultural barriers spark violence in Philly schools WHYY/NewsWorks
Report: Student conflict common in Philly schools AP via Sign On San Diego

Senate panel OKs Pa. school-voucher bill The Inquirer
The State Senate education committee passed Senate Bill 1, which would bring vouchers to Pennsylvania.

See also: Pa. School-Voucher Bill Advances Fox 29
Are school vouchers real reform? The Notebook blog
Vouchers: Give Breonna a chance Daily News (opinion)
Voucher bill one step closer to passing The Hall Monitor blog
SB1 Reactions, Video and Press Coverage Keystone State Education Coalition

Elverson students protest district deficit, proposed cuts The Hall Monitor blog
Students in their JROTC uniforms walked out of school Tuesday and protested at District headquarters.

Accident led to a new Hope Daily News
Hope Moffett describes a car accident that changed her priorities in life.

Inquirer Editorial: Time to learn The Inquirer
The Inquirer suggests Ackerman's contract extension be a prompt to "refuel" for her work on a variety of issues facing urban schools.

See also: The superintendent's contract extension: Another misstep for the SRC The Notebook blog

Kids’ ‘voices’ honored at Marshall Elementary Philadelphia Tribune
This week's Learning Key includes a look at arts programs in two schools and a Muñoz-Marin student's published book.

See also: Sixth-grader’s book inspires hope in sick kids Philadelphia Tribune
ArtsRising exhibits students’ creative works
  Philadelphia Tribune

Universal Companies among grant recipients to redevelop Point Breeze, Grays Ferry Philadelphia Tribune

Sometimes It Takes a Few Tries Philly Teacher blog

We Shall Not Be Intimidated Making the Grade blog

School District May Owe IRS Millions Fox 29

Hill residents are Green Woods parents, too Chestnut Hill Local

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

District 'taking seriously' commission report on intergroup conflict

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 1, 2011 06:30 PM

District officials are "taking very seriously" a report from the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations finding that it lacks the policies and procedures to prevent and counteract widespread intergroup conflict in city schools.

The report, drawn from 11 public hearings on school violence triggered by December, 2009 incidents at South Philadelphia High School, was officially released at a City Hall press conference Tuesday.

Are school vouchers real reform?

By Guest blogger on Mar 1, 2011 02:29 PM

This guest blog post comes from Caitlin Garman, a former elementary school teacher and current staffer on the support team at a District high school. Today the state Senate's education committee passed Senate Bill 1, which would bring vouchers to Pennsylvania.

The latest school reform movement is gaining momentum in Harrisburg and it goes by the name of school choice. Pennsylvania’s Senate Bill 1 would provide “opportunity scholarships” to low-income students attending the lowest performing schools in the state. This would allow them to leave their neighborhood school and apply a voucher to another institution of their choice.

The superintendent's contract extension: Another misstep for the SRC

By Helen Gym on Mar 1, 2011 02:27 PM

The announcement by the School Reform Commission that it will extend Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s contract through June 2014 sends a terrible message about the SRC’s approach to the most serious financial disaster the District has seen in recent memory.

The move effectively preserves one of the most lucrative pay packages for a public employee in the state, flying in the face of a national bipartisan trend toward curbing exorbitant compensation for school chiefs.

Notes from the news, Mar. 1

By Anonymous on Mar 1, 2011 10:46 AM

notes from the news imageReport: Phila. school violence cuts learning The Inquirer
The city's Commission on Human Relations' report found that violence is "a system-wide problem." The report is based on 11 community meetings the commission held after the violence at South Philly High.

See also: Human Relations Commission to release findings on violence in schools The Hall Monitor blog

ACLU wants to hear about retaliation for speaking out Daily News
The ACLU wants to hear from teachers who have witnessed or experienced retaliation for speaking out about planned school reforms.

Is Friday's rally the beginning of a new movement? The Notebook blog
Hundreds of people rallied for public education on Friday, and this energy and organization could signal a revived movement.

See also: Students and Teachers Demand their Concerns about Schools "Reforms" Be Heard Philly Education Justice blog
Notes from the Field-TAG Speaks Up: Can You Hear Us Now? City School Stories
Proud To Be A Philadelphia Teacher A Good Day Teaching blog

The Ackerman renewal: Just another financial misstep Daily News (opinion)
Helen Gym writes that the automatica one-year extension on Ackerman's contract sends a "terrible message" during a time of fiscal crisis.

Notebook bloggers win national award The Notebook blog
The Notebook blog won an Education Writer's Association award for community blogging. Congrats to Notebook staff and bloggers!

At conference, education, labor secretaries warn about declining college graduation rate The Inquirer
A town-hall meeting on community college took place at CCP yesterday.

See also: Community college summit The 1600 Report blog
Harnessing community colleges The Inquirer (opinion)
Secretaries of Education, Labor visit Community College of Philadelphia WHYY/NewsWorks
Duncan, Solis promote job-college collaborations CNBC

Meetings with turnaround teams start Tuesday The Notebook blog
The Renaissance Schools provider finalists will start giving presentations to Renaissance Match schools today.

Students Accused Of Stealing 60 Laptops Fox 29
The students are accused of stealing 60 laptops from West Philly High.

See also: Teens nabbed for selling school computers on Craigslist The Inquirer
Cops Nab Teens Trying to Sell Stolen Laptops on Craigslist NBC Philadelphia
Thieves arrested in West Philadelphia High theft
Philadelphia Tribune

Lawmakers to vote on voucher bill  [today] The Hall Monitor blog

SB1 - A Taxpayer Funded Bailout of Struggling Parochial Schools? Keystone State Education Coalition

Annette John-Hall: Ganging up at an anti-bullying event The Inquirer

How renaissance status could benefit Audenried The Workshop blog

City could lose $150M in federal aid, Nutter says Daily News

Philly students lagging in science survey Daily News

Young Scientists Explore Their World A Broad View

A Great Week Indeed, For People Who Read NBC Philadelphia

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

Meetings with turnaround teams start Tuesday

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 28, 2011 06:25 PM

School Advisory Councils and community members at six schools designated for outside management as part of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's Renaissance Schools turnaround initiative will have the chance to meet with prospective providers starting tomorrow.

A series of forums at the six "Renaissance Match" schools starts with Olney East High School tomorrow night and concludes Wednesday, March 9 at Birney Elementary.

Notebook bloggers win national award

By Anonymous on Feb 28, 2011 04:26 PM

The Notebook has won second prize in the community blogging category of the Education Writers Association National Education Reporting Awards.

The winning entry included 10 posts written by both regular Notebook bloggers and guest bloggers: Ron Whitehorne, Molly Thacker, Caroline Ebby, James "Torch" Lytle, Shania Morris, Marsha Pincus, and Helen Gym.

It also acknowledges the editorial staff for the blog: Erika Owens, web editor, who compiled the prize-winning entry, along with Paul Socolar, Dale Mezzacappa, and Wendy Harris. Congratulations to the Notebook staff and blogging team!

Is Friday's rally the beginning of a new movement?

By Ron Whitehorne on Feb 28, 2011 02:23 PM

Video from Nuala Cabral, independent filmmaker and educator

Last Friday’s demonstration, which brought over 500 people to District headquarters on the heels of student walkouts at three city high schools and an outpouring of community opposition at an Audenreid community meeting, signals the emergence of a new level of opposition to the District’s school reform process.

Notes from the news, Feb. 28

By Anonymous on Feb 28, 2011 11:08 AM

notes from the news image'More collaboration. No intimidation.' The Notebook blog
The rally for public education, organized by the Teacher Action Group, brought hundreds to 440 N. Broad on Friday afternoon.

See also: Teachers, students, parents rally against plans in Philadelphia The Inquirer
Rally for public education, [Friday] at 4 The Notebook blog
Teachers, students to rally at District HQ The Notebook blog

Ackerman’s contract extended to 2014 Philadelphia Tribune
The SRC announced the automatic contract extension Friday evening.

See also: Contract extension for the superintendent The Notebook blog
Se extiende el contrato de superintendente Al Día
Philadelphia schools chief set to receive automatic contract extension The Inquirer

Day 4 in isolation: Teacher Hope Moffett gets some air Daily News
Opening a window made the Moffett's reassignment center more pleasant. She also attended and spoke at the rally for public education.

See also: Teacher removed for supporting students UPI

Inquirer Editorial: Voucher bill doesn't pass The Inquirer
The state senate education committee is expected to vote on the voucher bill this week.

See also: SB1 Vote Tomorrow; Voucher coverage and opinion around PA Keystone State Education Coalition

Seeking stability at Germantown High WHYY/NewsWorks
Germantown High's principal is optimistic about the school's Renaissance turnaround.

Keeping standards high at Boys Latin The Inquirer
Boys' Latin Charter School will graduate its first class this year and already more than half of the students have been accepted to college.

Duncan visits Philly for community college summit AP via Centre Daily Times
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will host the first of four town-hall forums at community colleges around the country at CCP today.

See also: U.S. secretaries of Labor and Education come to Philadelphia WHYY/NewsWorks
Solis and Duncan to visit city Monday Voice of Philadelphia

New coalition launches campaign to preserve education funding The Notebook blog
The coalition includes a variety of partners helping to make the case for adequate funding for Philly schools.

Giving 3d graders the reading habit The Inquirer

Technology and the Whole Child Practical Theory blog

It's Time to Take Our Schools Back Philly Teacher blog

Abbottsford, Allegheny leaders desperate to halt violence Daily News

Kindergarten open houses March 1 West Philly Local

Charter Schools: Public Education With a Twist Mt. Airy Patch

Taking a Hands-On Approach to Water A Broad View

College aid is an economic engine The Inquirer (opinion)

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

Contract extension for the superintendent

By Paul Socolar on Feb 25, 2011 11:40 PM

Shortly after crowds dispersed from what may have been the largest organized protest ever at the School District's current headquarters, a statement issued by the School Reform Commission Friday afternoon announced that Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's contract has been extended for a year - through June 2014.

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