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Notes from the news, Mar. 17

By Anonymous on Mar 17, 2011 09:02 AM

notes from the news imageCharter operators named for six Philadelphia schools The Inquirer
The SRC approved Superintendent Ackerman's recommendation of charter school turnaround providers for six Renaissance Match schools.

See also: SRC vote okays 5 of 6 SAC first choice The Notebook blog
Differing opinions for the future of Olney West The Hall Monitor blog
When Is A Public Meeting NOT A Public Meeting? A Good Day Teaching blog

Councilwoman Blackwell: Don't fire Moffett The Notebook blog
Blackwell plans to introduce a City Council resolution to retain Moffett.

See also: Exiled teacher Hope Moffett e-mails students as they take state exams Daily News

Violent Philadelphia schools need independent watchdog, state audit says The Inquirer
Auditor General Jack Wagner says the independent Safe Schools Advocate position should be re-funded.

See also: Audit: District breaks safety rules Daily News
Wagner calls for security upgrades at Philadelphia school district WHYY/NewsWorks
Philly schools dilemma: Save money or stay safe? 6 ABC
Auditor General Jack Wagner Renews Call for Funding of Safe Schools Advocate for School District of Philadelphia PRNewswire

Nonunion school workers face firings, cuts Daily News
The SRC voted to revoke policies about guaranteed benefits and firing, in the face of the District budget deficit.

See also: SRC to vote on changing rules for layoffs of non-union employees The Notebook blog

 

WATCH: Fund Our Schools Citywide Mobilization Philly Education Justice blog
The Campaign for Non-Violent Schools released this video about its work.

Reflections: Then and Now-Budget Cuts Short Change Our Children City School Stories

PSEA To Teachers: Consider Pay Freeze Fox 29

Excited for Green Woods Charter in Chestnut Hill Chestnut Hill Local (opinion)

Morality vs. Legality 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

Councilwoman Blackwell: Don't fire Moffett

By the Notebook on Mar 16, 2011 06:16 PM

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell plans to introduce a resolution in City Council tomorrow calling for the retention of Audenried High School teacher Hope Moffett.

SRC vote okays 5 of 6 SAC first choices

By Paul Socolar on Mar 16, 2011 02:57 PM

[Updated 9:30 pm] Mastery, Mosaica, and ASPIRA are the winners in this year's process of matching six low-performing Renaissance Schools with turnaround managers. All six schools are slated to become charters after a Wednesday vote by the School Reform Commission.

Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and District staff recommended the first choices of the School Advisory Council at five of the six schools slated for turnaround.

SRC to vote on changing rules for layoffs of non-union employees

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 16, 2011 11:16 AM

One item on today's School Reform Commission agenda is a resolution that will repeal some job protections for non-unionized employees.

In part, it reads:

Ackerman: Moffett 'crossed the line'

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 16, 2011 10:38 AM

Despite an avalanche of criticism, Philadelphia Superintendent of Schools Arlene Ackerman remains adamant that exiled Audenried High teacher Hope Moffett should be fired for “poor judgment” that jeopardized the lives of her students.

Notes from the news, Mar. 16

By Anonymous on Mar 16, 2011 09:55 AM

notes from the news image A conversation with Superintendent Arlene Ackerman WHYY/NewsWorks
Reporter Benjamin Herold speaks with Ackerman about Hope Moffett and protests against her Renaissance Schools plans. This piece includes a radio segment.

See also: Ackerman: Moffett 'crossed the line' The Notebook blog

Pa. figures show graduation rates lower than previously reported The Inquirer
Using a new method, based only on the four-year graduation rate, Philadelphia's graduation rate is 57.4 percent.

See also: Pennsylvania adopts 4-year criteria for tracking graduation The Patriot-News

Olney West protests plans to make it a charter school The Inquirer
Olney West wants to become a Promise Academy Innovation school rather than a charter-run school.

District releases Renaissance SAC monitoring reports The Notebook blog
The second-quarter reports are for the Renaissance Schools already being managed by charter operators.

Inquirer Editorial: A better fix for failing schools The Inquirer
Congress is taking up NCLB again and it can use some changes.

Exiled teacher Hope Moffett gets court date Daily News
Next Tuesday is her scheduled date in court.

Carver students get hands-on learning Philadelphia Tribune
This week's Learning Key includes a look at the medical and tech programs at Carver, a Philadelphia Young Playwrights program, and a student's essay.

See also: Students find their voices at Monologue Festival  Philadelphia Tribune
‘A Girl’s Journey to Dreamland’
Philadelphia Tribune

School districts on border patrol Daily News
Looking at shrinking budgets, suburban districts are watching out for students who do not live within their boundaries.

Just 2 left in search for new school chief The Herald News
Pamela Brown, assistant to the deputy superintendent, is a finalist for a superintendent job in Michigan.

DN Editorial: Not a prayer Daily News
Of all the education issues City Council could hold hearings on, school prayer should not be the priority.

Social School Search: Announcing Parents Discussion Group and Meetups Philly School Search
The site will host two in-person meetups, one in Northwest and one in Center City.

March 16th: SRC Meeting A Broad View blog

2 state bills would help parents with choosing schools Daily News

Green Woods Charter details multi-year move plan to Chestnut Hill WHYY/NewsWorks

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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District releases Renaissance SAC monitoring reports

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 15, 2011 04:13 PM

The District has released the second quarterly monitoring reports from School Advisory Councils (SACs) at seven existing Renaissance charter schools.

Three of the providers - ASPIRA, Inc, Mastery Charter, and Universal Companies - are vying for additional schools in the second year of the Renaissance Schools initiative.

Some school-by-school highlights:

Olney West fights to stay under District control

By the Notebook on Mar 15, 2011 10:48 AM

by Bill Hangley, Jr.

They say you can’t beat City Hall, but can you change the Philadelphia School District’s Renaissance plans? That’s what supporters of one Philadelphia high school want to find out.

On Tuesday, members of Olney West High School’s School Advisory Council (SAC) will rally at District headquarters to ask Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to reconsider her plan to turn the school over to a charter school manager.  They say they’ll share a detailed alternate proposal with Ackerman and members of the School Reform Commission on the same day.  It’s a last-ditch effort for a school that’s scheduled to learn the name of its new charter manager later this week.

As part of the District’s Renaissance program for underperforming schools, Olney West is one of six schools slated to be turned into charters next year in which school teams get to help choose their  providers. Ackerman plans to announce her choice of managers for all six schools at the SRC’s meeting on Wednesday. The SRC plans to vote to approve her selections that same day, followed by a final, authorizing vote in April.

Supporters of the Olney West effort say the long-struggling school is on track to hit or exceed the academic targets set for it this year. Larry Arata, an English teacher and assistant football coach,said it was “premature” for the District to turn the school over to a charter manager.

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

Sources: King SAC prefers Mosaica over Foundations

By the Notebook on Mar 15, 2011 10:34 AM

by Bill Hangley, Jr.

While the official vote results have not been released, the head of a group representing alumni of Martin Luther King High says their school’s advisory council has recommended Mosaica Education over Foundations, Inc. to run King as a charter next year.

“The vote went to Mosaica,” said Darran Whitfield, founder and president of the Martin Luther King Alumni Association, in a phone interview. Whitfield says he heard the news directly from members of King’s School Advisory Council (SAC), who have been instructed by school district officials not to comment publicly on the vote.

A  spokesperson for Foundations confirmed Whitfield’s account. “I heard [the vote] was 8-1, in terms of numbers,” in favor of Mosaica, said Executive Director of Communications John Henderson.  Other sources close to the King SAC reported the same results.

Monday, Whitfield’s group held a press conference at King to voice their support for Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s Renaissance process, designed to bring new management to chronically underperforming schools. The alumni group is not represented on King’s School Advisory Council (SAC), but has been a frequent presence at King’s Renaissance-related events, and helped organize a series of meetings between students and the charters.

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. 15

By Anonymous on Mar 15, 2011 09:37 AM

notes from the news imageHundreds protest Renaissance Schools plan Daily News
The PFT organized the rally, its first in 10 years, to speak out about teacher intimidation, Renaissance Schools, and the budget.

See also: 1,000 rally outside District headquarters The Notebook blog
Teachers, students rally against school cuts, for disciplined teacher The Inquirer
The Phlog: Civil War In Philly Education PhillyNow blog
Union alleges District intimidation tactics
Philadelphia Tribune

School-specific data related to closing decisions obtained The Notebook blog
The Notebook obtained a document listing the school-by-school numbers for facilities' utilization and condition, information that may give a hint as to which schools will be closed.

See also: School District Of Philadelphia To Come Up With Plan For Excess Capacity CBS Philly

Parents and residents still skeptical about turning Audenried High into a charter WHYY/NewsWorks
This piece includes a radio segment recapping the recent community meeting at Audenried High.

Sources: Foundations out at King WHYY/NewsWorks
Sources say that the School Advisory Council voted to recommend that Mosaica Education manage the school next year rather than Foundations, Inc., which has been involved with the school since 2003.

Olney West fights to stay under district control WHYY/NewsWorks
The School Advisory Council at Olney West plans to rally at District headquarters today to ask Superintendent Ackerman to reconsider the plan to turn Olney West over to an outside manager.

Mastery's big gamble set to pay off The Notebook blog
The School Advisory Councils at Clymer and Gratz recommended that Mastery manage their schools next year.

Once again, the District proves it is its own worst enemy The Notebook blog
The District's poor responses to high profile issues may make it harder for it to negotiate state funding for schools with skeptical state legislators.

Why We Should Be Teaching Social Media Philly Teacher blog
The comments on a recent story about blogging teachers spark a lesson in civility online.

Phila.'s Randolph Skill Ctr. H.S. closed today 6 ABC

Fatimah Ali: New proposal would return prayer to Philadelphia's public schools Daily News

You've Got to Be Kidding: Don’t Think About Thinking. It's Time For The PSSA! City School Stories

PTRIB: Corbett wants to grade schools, pay teachers on merit basis Keystone State Education Coalition

Are You the "Next Big Thing"? 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

1,000 rally outside District headquarters

By Celeste Lavin on Mar 14, 2011 09:10 PM

More than 1,000 teachers, students, parents, and community members rallied outside District headquarters Monday, calling for an end to the conversion of public schools to charters, a reversal of education budget cuts, and no more teacher intimidation.

Mastery's big gamble set to pay off

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 14, 2011 06:42 PM

The School Advisory Councils (SACs) at Simon Gratz High and George Clymer Elementary schools have both recommended that Mastery Charter be selected as their “turnaround team” for next year, according to multiple sources.

School-specific data related to closing decisions obtained

By Celeste Lavin on Mar 14, 2011 01:49 PM

[Updated with statement from the District and more data highlights]

A document obtained by the Notebook gives the first hint as to which schools might be candidates for closing under the District’s Facilities Master Plan

With a study showing that it is carrying 70,000 empty seats in its nearly 300 buildings, the District has been working on a comprehensive plan to “rightsize” its physical plant by closing, consolidating, and co-locating schools. But it has yet to share any school-specific data about closings, even though it has held two series of public meetings.

After the posting of this story, the District issued a strongly-worded statement objecting to the decision to publish the document.  

Once again, the District proves it is its own worst enemy

By Helen Gym on Mar 14, 2011 12:49 PM

The School District’s jaw-dropping decision to terminate Audenried teacher Hope Moffett is just another example of the polarizing style that defines this administration. Whether it’s handling an outspoken young teacher, racial violence at South Philadelphia High School, or parents who disagreed with turnaround policies at West Philadelphia High School, the District has shown the lengths it will go to make a point and its willingness to sacrifice its moral authority to do so. 

But with a political and economic climate that's just waiting for excuses to underfund schools, has this administration's leadership failures become a liability to itself and the city? 

Notes from the news, Mar. 14

By Anonymous on Mar 14, 2011 09:56 AM

notes from the news imageRally targets Corbett's education cuts Daily News
Nearly a hundred people attended a rally at District headquarters Friday afternoon.

See also: Activists rally against school cuts Philadelphia Tribune

Philadelphia school's students and parents urge new managers to keep faculty The Inquirer
At a community meeting at Audenried on Saturday, Universal reiterated its plans for the school, and parents and students responded with their concerns.

See also: Universal makes its case on Audenried The Notebook blog
District: Audenried plan doesn't need SRC approval 'because it's different' The Notebook blog
Moffett, student take on district's data The Hall Monitor blog

Free speech suit over Philly teacher's firing spotlights emotions surrounding failing schools AP via The Republic
Hope Moffett's story brings up issues surrounding the national effort to turn around failing schools.

See also: School Plans to Fire Teacher for Talking Courthouse News Service
Free speech suit fights Philly teacher's firing 6 ABC

Support schools to boost recovery The Inquirer (opinion)
Philadelphia Education Fund Executive Director Carol Fixman describes the positive results of investments in education.

See also: Inquirer Editorial: Some cuts aren't smart The Inquirer
Letters: State-related schools are economic engines The Inquirer
Karen Heller: Corbett's budget cuts almost everything but prisons The Inquirer
Budgeting away our children’s future Education Voters PA

How far can schools go in regulating teachers' social-media use? The Inquirer
Local educators who blog discuss how writing affects their work.

Philly Councilwoman Blackwell to hold hearing on school prayer The Inquirer
Council passed a resolution Blackwell had introduced to hold the hearings.

See also: Philadelphia Councilwoman Wants Prayer Allowed In Schools CBS Philly

Structured recess is paying off in the classroom The Inquirer

Anti-Bullying Seminar Held At School In South Philadelphia CBS Philly

Mighty Writers hopes to fund documentary on radio influences South Philly Review

Voucher and budget news roundup Keystone State Education Coalition

A Winning Formula: Science Fair Awards! A Broad View blog

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