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How does your school rank?

By Paul Socolar on Feb 3, 2010 11:30 AM

The School District has made available on the Web its School Performance Index (SPI) rankings for every school in the District, rating the schools on a scale of 1 to 10.

Notes from the news, Feb. 3

By Anonymous on Feb 3, 2010 11:02 AM

PFT contract: Huge power shift Daily News (opinion)
Op-ed from Phil Goldsmith, District CEO in 2000-1. He said many items in the contract are overdue and that with these changes that the PFT can no longer be used as a scapegoat.

See also: The Gold Standard: This teacher contract would have been great ten years ago It's Our Money

Getting school turnaround right: Response to Ren. Schools The Notebook blog
The Teacher Action Group is meeting to organize community response. Ron Whitehorne also wrote about the limits of staff reconstitution.

See also: TAG meeting Feb. 8 The Notebook blog

Sayre High School Students Organizing Despite Obstacles Philly Education Justice blog
PSU members have not been able to meet at Sayre even though they used to hold meetings there and organized a successful training of school police officers.

Jenks' Parents and the SRC This Year at Jenks blog
After a quiet few months, the blog is back with several new posts.

The Steepest Hill Metropolis
Notes that close to half of Philly students are educated in "failing" schools.

Thank you, readers! The Notebook blog

Charter school's ex-board chief reports to prison The Inquirer

My Educon Takeaway Philly Teacher blog

Language Immersion And Philly Primary Schools Philly School Search blog

Letters: No Child Left Behind has left plenty of them 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

Thank you, readers!

By Anonymous on Feb 2, 2010 06:32 PM

Over the past few weeks our site has received hundreds of comments and thousands of visits. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, questions, and concerns and returning to our site for your news on the contract and Renaissance Schools.

I'm working on highlighting some comments and conversations from the past couple of weeks - an abridged guide to catch up new readers on the topics in the air. Let me know if there are any comments you want to make sure get noticed.

I'll update this space over the next couple of days with the summary. Thanks again for your readership and feedback - and please, invite your friends to join the conversation! A great way to stay up to date is to join our Facebook page, which has an RSS feed of all blog posts, or join our email list to get our Newsflash.

Getting school turnaround right: Response to Ren. Schools

By Ron Whitehorne on Feb 2, 2010 03:59 PM

Last night I went to a meeting of the Teacher Action Group (they're also on Facebook) that talked about how to respond to Renaissance Schools.

People talked about a different vision of school turnaround in which teachers alongside parents, students, and the community had a voice in designing and implementing a reform plan. The other focal point of discussion was to press for the best options within the Renaissance Schools framework.

TAG meeting Feb. 8

By Anonymous on Feb 2, 2010 03:37 PM

The Teacher Action Group is holding a meeting next Monday, Feb. 8, for educators and allies to strategize about Renaissance Schools. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at 4205 Chestnut St.

Ron Whitehorne has a forthcoming blog post about the planning for Monday's meeting, and he'll continue posting updates about the response to Renaissance Schools.

EduCon 2.2 reflection

By Molly Thacker on Feb 2, 2010 11:23 AM

EduCon 2.2, presented by Science Leadership Academy, promised to be more than just a conference, and it delivered.  

The notion of being talked with, not at, was only one departure I found from other conferences I have attended.  Another major difference I noticed is how free my hands were.  At typical English teacher conferences I am used to having my hands full of papers and pamphlets, books and of course, the ubiquitous tote bag.  At EduCon, much of the conversation was paperless and taking place on live streams and Twitter feeds.

I walked away from EduCon 2.2 with my mind swirling with ideas about how to improve my teaching and create more meaning in my classes – pretty good for a snowy Saturday afternoon.

Notes from the news, Feb. 2

By Anonymous on Feb 2, 2010 10:58 AM

Parents implore district: Stop tinkering, fix schools The Inquirer
Meetings to answer questions and hear concerns at the Renaissance Eligible Schools have begun.

See also: School district gets an earful on its ‘Renaissance’ schools proposal Philly.com

District rules may cancel college road trip Daily News
An outside group has taken students on college road trips for years, but rules have changed on funding those activities and the funds are nearly gone.

Annette John-Hall: Beau Zabel's legacy to Phila. The Inquirer
The murder of Zabel, an aspiring teacher, has been turned into a play that raises many questions.

EduCon 2.2 reflection The Notebook blog
Teacher Molly Thacker reflects on her exciting and informative weekend at EduCon.

See also: Educon 2.2: Day Two Philly Teacher blog

All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten 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.

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

Notes from the news

Notes from the news, Feb. 1

By Anonymous on Feb 1, 2010 11:21 AM

District changes to address violence at Audenried The Inquirer
The District is adding police officers and a climate manager to help the school where families testifed violence is back and a student was recently shot on his way home from practice.

See also: At young athlete's funeral, pleas for peace The Inquirer 
Stories of Violence in Philly Schools NBC Philadelphia

Promises and concern: The Renaissance Plan emerges The Notebook
Renaissance Schools would face dramatic transformation. Teachers and parents shared their thoughts about the plan.

See also: Phila. teachers jittery over school-overhaul plans The Inquirer

Asian American group fights against injustice The Inquirer
Profile of Asian Americans United and its work with students at South Philly High.

Academic dreams for many extinguished before they even get a chance The Patriot News (opinion)
Harrisburg's paper had an op-ed from FACTS teacher Bill Davidson about the state of education in Philly.

Motivos, bilingual magazine: By and for youth Philadelphia Business Journal
Profile of Motivos, which is produced by young people who hold meetings at Benjamin Franklin HS.

Big screen and bigger ideas The Inquirer
EduCon 2.2 was a sold out event for techy teachers organized by the Science Leadership Academy.

See also: Educon 2.2: Day One Philly Teacher blog
EduCon 2.2 First Reflection - The Kids Practical Theory blog

Chess Club: No pads, no helmets, just pawns The Notebook blog
After School Activities Partnership sponsors chess clubs around the city. Students from Blankenburg have gained confidence through chess.

Grow Your Own: A Community Based Model of Teacher Development Philly Education Justice
PSU's weekly On Blast radio show focused on the "grow your own" model.

College Scholarships A Very Public Education
Meeting tomorrow at the School District building about scholarship opportunities.

School Days: A Sub's First Day Metropolis

Need to Know Information For Upset Educators, A Meeting to Take Action! Philly Teacher Talks blog

Three Seriously Injured in Shooting Near SW Phila. School KYW

Phila. Students Learn Robotics in 'Lego League' Competition KYW

Fans, foes: Status report due on stimulus jobs The Inquirer

Editorial: Cleaning up the BRT mess 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.

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Notes from the news

Waiting for the Renaissance

By the Notebook on Feb 1, 2010 10:34 AM

This is the front page article from our February 2010 edition of the paper. Look for more stories online and the print edition later this week!

Article by Bill Hangley, Jr.

It’s nothing new for Janiece Jones to wonder about the future of her child’s school.

“It was supposed to be closed down,” she said as she stood in front of the Paul L. Dunbar Elementary School in North Philadelphia. “[Then] they just said that someone was going to try and change the performance of the school.”

The first rumor didn’t come to pass. But the second just might, in potentially dramatic fashion.

PFT posts clarifying info to its site

By Anonymous on Jan 29, 2010 04:14 PM

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers posted the information below on the members' section of its site. The post references information already given in the staff FAQs from the District, but it does show that the PFT is trying to respond to members' concerns. What do you think about this post? Do you still have questions?

Here is the text of the post:

Summary of Renaissance School info

By the Notebook on Jan 29, 2010 01:52 PM

Here's a quick rundown of our Renaissance Schools coverage from late January/early February:

You can bookmark this page for a running list of all articles and blog posts with info about Renaissance Schools. This post will also be updated with an annotated list of coverage, including articles from our edition on school turnaround, which comes out next week.

Chess Club: No pads, no helmets, just pawns

By Samuel Reed III on Jan 29, 2010 11:42 AM

Chess is not just a game for nerds!

Blankenburg is the leading chess team in the west region of the Philadelphia Scholastic Chess League, sponsored by the After School Activities Partnership (ASAP). Players who sit across the board each week may even be considered cool. Many excel in sports such as basketball and football, and have seen academic growth that they attribute to playing chess.

Notes from the news, Jan. 29

By Anonymous on Jan 29, 2010 10:17 AM

Commission hears of violence in many city schools The Inquirer
The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations held the first in a series of public forums on school violence, and heard accounts that the PCHR chairwoman called "frankly shocking."

See also: Violence has students attending in fear Daily News
Frustration with District failures marks public hearing on school violence The Notebook blog
Hearing on school violence held in Philadelphia AP via Lebanon Daily News

Editorial: Good deal for students? The Inquirer (opinion)
With this new contract there should now be "no excuses for not boosting the quality of education for students."

District FAQs for Ren. Schools' staff The Notebook blog
The FAQs answer some pressing concerns of instructional, instructional support, and administrative staff in the turnaround schools and include timelines.

Free Dance: Philadelphia Youth Create the "Hidden City Festival" What Kids Can Do
Students in Joshua Block's class at SLA organized the dance festival. Links to the students' work are at the bottom of the piece.

Letters: Yes, there's hope for schools Daily News
State senate education chair Piccola wrote in response to Elmer Smith's column.

No Longer Employees of the District...? Philly Teacher Talks
This post reiterated the concern about losing union members to Renaissance Schools that has been much discussed on the Notebook blog.

BRT patronage workers sue to stop takeover The Inquirer

Also: Two events this weekend, EduCon 2.2 and Education Not Incarceration's gathering to discuss school climate.

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

'Renaissance' info from the District

By Anonymous on Jan 29, 2010 05:36 AM

The District has information about the Renaissance Schools Initiative on its site. The site continues to be updated with additional information.

You can find on the site:

Frustration with District failures marks public hearing on school violence

By Helen Gym on Jan 29, 2010 12:55 AM

A series of speakers at a packed public hearing on school violence – some in tears – shared their experiences last night in what can only be described as a damning indictment of the District. Speaker after speaker – parents, teachers, and a number of students – spoke about their frustration, desperation, and anger in the face of repeated failures by the District to address safety and climate in city schools.

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