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Make it better in schools right now

By Frank Murphy on Oct 26, 2010 12:41 PM

“I’m afraid my whole life is going to be like this. People will always be calling me names.” -Jordan, 8th grader, in Confessions of an Urban Principal: October


Asher Brown recently committed suicide. He was 13 years old. He shot himself in the head with his stepfather’s gun. According to media reports, he was relentlessly bullied and tormented by other students in his school. Earlier in the day on which he died, he had told his parents that he was gay.

As I read and followed the numerous media reports related to this recent rash of youthful suicides, I couldn’t help but note the lack of response on the part of educators. 

Notes from the news, Oct. 26

By Anonymous on Oct 26, 2010 09:53 AM

notes from the news imageAt Temple, Secretary Arne Duncan, Tony Danza promote teaching The Inquirer
Duncan spoke of the need to attract great teachers to the profession and promoted the federal TEACH program.

See also: Education chief, actor reach out to teachers WHYY
Philly teaching town hall features Danza, Duncan AP via Washington Post

Rendell: State Must Fund Education To Keep Pace AP via KDKA
Gov. Rendell spoke to the Chamber of Commerce with Sec. Duncan and cautioned about the funding cliff once stimulus money runs out.

They help because they can Daily News
City Year corps members assist students in the Philly Schools.

See also: Here's how you can volunteer Daily News

Bullied Students In Philly Force School To Take Action Huffington Post
A repost of the CNN coverage of student activism at South Philly High.

Arlene Ackerman named top urban school leader WHYY
Some additional coverage of Superintendent Ackerman's award.

See also: Ackerman reconocida a nivel nacional Al Día

No Shades of Grey Philly School Search blog

My Un-PC Holiday Statement A Very Public Education blog

2 by Sherman Alexie chosen for 'One Book' in Philadelphia The Inquirer

COPS: Seventh-grade student brings gun to school Daily News

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, Oct. 25

By Anonymous on Oct 25, 2010 09:58 AM

notes from the news imageAckerman honored for urban school leadership The Notebook blog
The Council of Great City Schools named Superintendent Ackerman the top urban school leader.

See also:Ackerman named “top urban school leader,” one day after students testify, again, to growing patterns of school violence The Clog
Philly's School Chief Takes Home Top Honors Huffington Post
If Ackerman Is The Best, What’s The Worst? PhillyNow

Rendell vetoes education bill over charter-school tax break The Inquirer
As expected, Gov. Rendell vetoed the bill, which had the support of all state senators and 180 legislators, because he thought the tax break for charter schools is unconstitutional.

See also: Rendell nixes education bill Daily News

A happy ending for school library Daily News
Potter-Thomas won a grant from the Target School Library Makeover program for a $200,000 renovation.

See also: Potter-Thomas students excited by their new library The Inquirer

10 hours of testimony on voucher bill The Notebook blog
The State Senate Education Committee heard testimony about the bill, which has support from legislators in both parties.

Philly teaching town hall features Danza, Duncan AP via Lebanon Daily News
The town hall and panel discussion will take place at Temple University and include Superintendent Acerkman, local teachers, and a principal.

See also: Tony Danza's Holding Town Hall on Philly Education | NBC Philadelphia A Very Public Education blog
Tony Danza's Holding Town Hall on Philly Education NBC Philadelphia

Graduate! Philadelphia gets Lumina grant to help other cities Philadelphia Business Journal
Graduate! got an $800,000 grant to replicate its work in three other cities including Chicago and Des Moines, IA.

Through music, transforming young lives The Inquirer
KIPP Philadelphia has a jazz-funk fusion band that teaches middle schoolers how to play music, and how to play it live at events around town.

'Teach' features BCA role in parent-teacher relationship The Notebook blog
Friday night the fourth episode highlighted the role of Bilingual Counseling Assistants in helping teachers connect with parents who don't speak English.

Palmer charter school wins round in money battle with Philadelphia School District The Inquirer

Youngsters hit the books in the hospital The Inquirer

Students Take A Stand Against Asian Violence At SPHS Philebrity

SLA on Apple Education Website! Practical Theory 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

'Teach' features BCA role in parent-teacher relationship

By the Notebook on Oct 22, 2010 03:53 PM

by Margaret Ernst

Last school year, Tony Danza filmed “Teach” at Northeast High School, and the Notebook continues to cover the excitement and issues the show raises. Tonight is the fourth episode.


Eric just doesn't seem to get it. He's always playing with his pencil, folding paper into origami when he should be listening, and leaning his head on his desk. And it's getting on Tony Danza's nerves.

10 hours of testimony on voucher bill

By the Notebook on Oct 22, 2010 02:49 PM

by Patrick Gailey

The state Senate’s Education Committee held a hearing on Oct. 13 to discuss the future of proposed Senate Bill 1405, which would amend current state law to allow for a publicly funded voucher program in Pennsylvania. The bill was proposed by Sen. Anthony Williams who, along with Sen. Andrew Dinniman and Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, led the hearing.

Ackerman honored for urban school leadership

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 22, 2010 11:50 AM

Is Arlene Ackerman the best urban school superintendent in America?

The Council of the Great City Schools has just awarded her that status at its annual conference in Tampa, FL Thursday evening.

Notes from the news, Oct. 22

By Anonymous on Oct 22, 2010 09:41 AM

notes from the news imageSuperintendent Arlene Ackerman named top urban school leader in the U.S. The Inquirer
The Council of Great City Schools gave Ackerman the Richard R. Green award, which is given every two years to a top superintendent from 65 of the biggest districts.

See also: Ackerman awarded for leadership Philadelphia Tribune

At West, students and staff say they fear reprisals for speaking out The Notebook blog
Some say staff have been stripped of leadership roles and students have been transferred out of the school for speaking out about problems at West Philly High.

On school reform, by Philadelphia's mayor and superintendent The Answer Sheet
"Comprehensive and respectful community participation" in the Renaissance Schools process made Philly's version of turnaround less tense, Nutter and Ackerman write in a column distinguishing their approach from Michelle Rhee's.

Racial violence spurred Asian students to take a stand CNN
Part of coverage about bullying, CNN recounts students' struggles and activism at South Philly High.

See also: ACTIVISM/WATCHDOGS: South Philadelphia High Asian Student Advocates City Paper

Rendell expected to veto school-code bill over tax break provision The Inquirer
The bill would exempt nonprofits that rent to charter schools from paying property taxes, which Rendell thinks is unconstitutional because not all nonprofits fit the definition of a public charity.

High school applications due Oct. 29 The Notebook blog
Check out the Notebook's Fall Guide and new school search tool to help with applications, which are due in one week.

Annette John-Hall: Pennsylvania School for the Deaf students take anti-bullying pledge The Inquirer

Taskforce’s drop-out report submitted to SRC Philadelphia Tribune

Germantown Settlement fails to file $3 million in audits Daily News

My First Experiment with Checking for Understanding Philly Teacher blog

School bus flips on side in Philadelphia 6 ABC

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Notes from the news

At West, students and staff say they fear reprisals for speaking out

By Benjamin Herold on Oct 21, 2010 01:34 PM

West Philadelphia High School senior Marie Hines told the School Reform Commission on Wednesday that students are scared to speak up about the sudden return of the climate problems that used to plague the school.

“We feel as though no one can speak out, or you could be transferred,” Hines told the SRC in public testimony. “I was concerned about speaking today.” Hines came with a group of nine students from West who then met with District officials about a range of concerns about the school.

High school applications due Oct. 29

By Anonymous on Oct 21, 2010 11:56 AM

The application deadline is just over a week away tomorrow, and the Notebook has provided new tools to search for schools along with lots of helpful tips about high school selection in its second annual Fall Guide.

Profiles of each District and charter high school are available, as well as data about school performance  - data you will not find in the School District's 2011 high school directory.

What you can only access online is our new school search page. You can search for things like specific AP classes or types of sports or activities and find which schools match your query. Each profile includes data about enrollment, answers from a survey of the principal about key features of the school, SEPTA routes that serve the school, and more.

Notes from the news, Oct. 21

By Anonymous on Oct 21, 2010 09:48 AM

notes from the news imageWest students take concerns to SRC The Notebook blog
Nine students told the SRC about the disarray at West Philly High. They then met with District administrators in a private meeting, which left them hopeful.

See also: Students air issues of violence, leadership at West Philly High Daily News

School district's budget balanced for now, but tough choices loom The Inquirer
One challenge was that the District is spending $6.8 million more than expected on the Renaissance charter conversions due to increasing enrollment at the schools.

Will GradeSpeed Gradebook be a game changer? The Notebook blog
The District is training teachers on a new online gradebook that will allow instant snapshots of student progress, and next year parents may have access to the info.

Guv hopefuls sit & chat, in a 'nonpartisan' way Daily News
Mayor Nutter criticized Corbett's education plan, but both Corbett and Onorato agreed about the value of early childhood education.

See also: Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Debate 2010 Part 1 Education Voters PA

15 laptops worth $25,000 stolen from Girard Academic Music Program magnet school The Inquirer
A District document obtained by The Inquirer showed that last year $615,000 in computer equipment was stolen from District schools.

See also: $25,000 in laptops stolen from Phila. school 6 ABC

Ooh La La A Very Public Education
Public Ed Mom puzzles over why parents wouldn't want their kids to learn a foreign language.

New program aims to create future string teachers, performers Temple University

Potter Thomas estrena biblioteca Al Día

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Notes from the news

West students take concerns to SRC

By Paul Socolar on Oct 20, 2010 08:40 PM

A group of nine students from West Philadelphia High School painted a vivid picture of disarray at the school in testimony at the School Reform Commission meeting today and in a follow-up conversation with reporters. But after a closed-door meeting for more than an hour with Associate Superintendent Tomás Hanna and new West Principal John Chapman, the students emerged more hopeful.

Will GradeSpeed Gradebook be a game-changer?

By Timothy Boyle on Oct 20, 2010 02:03 PM

This year the School District of Philadelphia has made dramatic changes to report cards in elementary grades. Instead of three report card periods, we now have four. This adds one report card conference for families and teachers. How teachers submit final grades to the report card system has changed as well. Teachers will be able to put all student grades over the course of a marking period into an online gradebook that will in turn send the final averages to the report card system. 

Notes from the news, Oct. 20

By Anonymous on Oct 20, 2010 09:40 AM

notes from the news imageMastery Charter Schools Crosses the River Into Camden NJ Spotlight
Mastery was approved by NJ to bring one new charter school to Camden, and Mastery founder Scott Gordon said that he'd like to see Camden grow to have "multiple campuses."

Obama signs order aimed to improve achievement among Hispanic students The Notebook blog
The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics will work on improving high school and college graduation rates.

Negotiating the high school admissions maze The Notebook blog
Frank Murphy offers a case study on how the Meade school helped its students through the high school application process.

Common Surprises Some Philadelphia High School Students, Talks Higher Education [Video] Hip Hop Wired

School police officer hurt while trying to arrest student at Frankford High The Inquirer

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Notes from the news

Negotiating the high school admissions maze

By Frank Murphy on Oct 19, 2010 04:07 PM

In 2005, when Meade School’s first 8th grade class moved up to high school, less than 10 percent of those students were accepted to schools other than their neighborhood high school. This was a disappointing result for the many students who had sought admission to special admission schools. It was also disappointing for our teachers. Our staff decided that this was not an acceptable outcome. We resolved to do better in future years.

Obama signs order aimed to improve achievement among Hispanic students

By Gustavo Martínez on Oct 19, 2010 01:37 PM

When President Barack Obama renewed the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics today, he did it having in mind that many of those students are undocumented immigrants who find obstacles when trying to attend college, education officials said.

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