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Collaboration, critical thinking key to college prep

By Guest blogger on Jun 23, 2011 03:37 PM

This is the final installment in a series of blog posts from Geoffrey Winikur and Christina Puntel.

As we sit down to write this, with layoff notices in mailboxes and schools scrambling to pick up the pieces in the midst of deep division and loss, collaboration, teacher agency, and student learning might seem like luxuries we cannot afford to discuss now. These times, though, call us to speak out, to question, to make a case for an education that all students in Philadelphia deserve.

The recent data around college admission and graduation is alarming.

Despite this evidence, which the District must be aware of, they are proceeding with reforms that rely heavily on test taking. Test scores are improving, but entrance to college and four-year college graduation rates barely budge, and this is not just limited to Philadelphia.

S.L.A.M day 1

By Timothy Boyle on Jun 23, 2011 11:55 AM

After the STEM fellowship program was canceled due to insufficient enrollment, I decided to teach summer school. Here is my first day experience with S.L.A.M. (Summer Learning And More)

Today started off great.

I got to sleep in. I got to walk to work for the first time ever. When I arrived to my summer school site this morning I couldn't be more happy about what I found.

Notes from the news, June 23

By Anonymous on Jun 23, 2011 08:04 AM

notes from the news imageCity budget set for OK, but sick pay, DROP still in limbo Daily News
Council is scheduled to vote on the budget, which includes $53 in funds for the schools, today.

See also: Inquirer Editorial: Now it's state's turn The Inquirer

Phil Goldsmith: Hit the road, Ack: Superintendent needs to be shown the door Daily News
Removing Ackerman " is necessary if the district is to move forward and regain credibility and stability."

As vouchers hog debate, EITC scholarships grow in Pa., possibly N.J. WHYY/NewsWorks
The Educational Improvement Tax Credit is gaining popularity as a tax credit for business and scholarship source for private schools and organizations.

For 1,600 Philly teachers, the last day of school - for good Daily News
More on Julio Nuñez, who wrote a guest blog earlier this week about the effect of the budget cuts on the elementary school he worked at.

See also: Layoffs hearing set for Friday morning The Notebook blog

Students key in saving accelerated schools, officials say The Notebook blog
Of the additional funds from the city, $8.2 million will go to maintaining programs at the 13 accelerated schools.

MLK High graduates reflect on a tough year WHYY/NewsWorks
Text of King's valedictorian's speech and photos from the ceremony.

The People's SRC speaks at 440 The Notebook blog
Teacher Action Group convened the rally and a "People's SRC" heard testimony about the schools.

See also: Teacher Action Group Assembles a Mock School Reform Commission Meeting, Accomplishes Nothing [VIDEO] PhillyNow blog

Changes to bilingual education ahead at Jackson Elementary The Notebook blog
JUNTOS organized a rally of parents to speak out against how budgets cuts will affect immigrant and English language learner students.

Freedom to Learn: Trust me *Please* Philly Teacher blog

Several Roxborough High Students Get 'Crowned' For Accomplishments Roxborough-Manayunk Patch

OPEN Letter to: Dr. Arlene Ackerman, Dr. Amy Gutmann UC Review

Masterman Teacher to Run 100 Miles to Harrisburg in Support of Public Education Education Voters PA blog

Great OP/ED: Public schools cornerstone of democratic society Keystone State Education Coalition

Green Woods Charter School still seeking a Northwest site Chestnut Hill Local

Philadelphia Vending Repair Program Moves To Randolph Technical Vending Times

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

Students key in saving accelerated schools, officials say

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 22, 2011 06:55 PM

City officials yesterday gave students credit for their efforts to save a network of accelerated schools that were initially put on the chopping block by the School District as it sought ways to slash $629 million from its budget.

Of $53 million in additional funds for the District expected to be approved by City Council Thursday, $8.2 million will go towards maintaining the 13 accelerated schools, which serve mostly over-age, under-credited students looking for a second chance to graduate.

The People's SRC speaks at 440

By the Notebook on Jun 22, 2011 04:10 PM

by Jeniffer Valdez

The People’s School Reform Commission, a small body convened for the day by Teacher Action Group with the support of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and a range of community organizations, led a rally Tuesday. Dozens of students, teachers, and parents gathered on the steps of the School District of Philadelphia on the last day of classes for students.

Changes to bilingual education ahead at Jackson Elementary

By Wendy Harris on Jun 22, 2011 02:49 PM

Immigrant parents joined teachers from Andrew Jackson Elementary School in a rally on the steps on the last day of school to protest proposed cuts to the school’s teaching and support staff.

Layoffs hearing set for Friday morning

By Benjamin Herold on Jun 22, 2011 01:00 PM

Common Pleas Court Judge Idee Fox will hear arguments about the School District's process for laying off over 1,600 teachers Friday morning in City Hall.

Notes from the news, June 22

By Anonymous on Jun 22, 2011 08:16 AM

notes from the news imageHappy last day of school, teachers!

Another closed-door meeting on King comes to light The Notebook blog
Rep. Dwight Evans privately met with SRC members, which is a possible violation of the Sunshine Act.

Yellow buses to roll with extra $53.4 for city's schools Daily News
The city and District discussed how to use the $53.4 million. In addition to yellow buses, it will go towards reduced class size, accelerated schools, and early childhood education.

See also: Philadelphia City Council and School District agree on how to spend new school money The Inquirer
Karen Heller: A land of magical thinking on budget cuts The Inquirer
Dear Council, We promise to be good. Love, the School District. It's Our Money blog

Four parents of autistic children sue Philadelphia School District The Inquirer
The parents are suing over an alleged District policy that moves autistic students to a new school at the end of 3rd and 5th grades.

See also: Philly parents sue district over school switch for autistic kids WHYY/NewsWorks
Parents of Autistic Kids Sue Philly School District NBC Philadelphia

Teachers, Students Rally At Philadelphia School District On Last Day Of Classes CBS Philly
A couple of hundred people came out for the "People's SRC Meeting."

See also: Public Education Is Getting Pushed Out, In Front of Public’s Eyes PhillyNow blog

Public campaign will reach out to young people suffering homophobic bullying The Inquirer
The Attic Youth Center is running a campaign on SEPTA vehicles. Earlier this year elementary school counselors learned about LGBT issues.

Stimulus teacher: The rise and fall of teacher 'coolness' The Notebook blog
A second-year teacher discusses being laid off and how the budget cuts are affecting services for English Language learners at his school.

New Media, New Literacy: Learning from Youth in Philadelphia & Chester Research for Action
This research looks at the media literacy work of Philadelphia Student Union and Chester Voices for Change.

Washington High offers kids a world of diversity Philadelphia Tribune
This week's Learning Key looks at a big, diverse high school in the Northeast, the Sponsor-A-Scholar program, student writing, and more.

See also: Public school ‘scholars’ make plans for the future Philadelphia Tribune
Student Writing “Untitled”
Philadelphia Tribune
District schools receive Clinton health awards
Philadelphia Tribune

Truancy: A Major Urban Problem CBS Philly
The District made changes to how it handles truancy.

Chess wins college scholarships for five Philadelphia students The Inquirer

Reflections Then and Now- The Cradle of Liberty and School Reform City School Stories

Inquirer Editorial: Fact failures The Inquirer

It's the Student, Not the School Metropolis

School Nurse Has Vision A Broad View blog

Mount Airy School Discussion Group 2011 Philadelphia School Search

You can't "vouch" for this proposal! Education Voters PA

Philadelphia Teacher To Run 100 Miles For School Funding CBS Philly

Charter School Graduates Entire Class Fox 29

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

Another closed-door meeting on King comes to light

By the Notebook on Jun 21, 2011 02:56 PM

As the city probe into potential impropriety around the School District's process for converting Martin Luther King High into a charter enters its ninth week, sources have confirmed that Rep. Dwight Evans met privately with the School Reform Commission  during an executive session, in possible violation of Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act.

Stimulus teacher: The rise and fall of teacher 'coolness'

By Guest blogger on Jun 21, 2011 01:17 PM

On this final day of the school year for students we have this guest blog post from Julio C. Núñez, a bilingual elementary teacher in Philadelphia.

Tears, laughs, museum visits, flawless and dreary lessons, fires, and street brawls were some of the highs and lows of my two-year tenure as a public school teacher in one of the most poverty-stricken and dangerous parts of Philadelphia. There was also a constant and deeper understanding of the needs of a community, and its perception of neglect from those who are supposed to support and advocate for it.

Notes from the news, June 21

By Anonymous on Jun 21, 2011 07:57 AM

notes from the news imageHappy last day of school, students!

Democrats target SRC's power over unions The Inquirer
Philadelphia-area legislators introduced legislation that would remove the SRC's ability to cancel collective-bargaining agreements.

See also: Philly Teachers Remain In Job Limbo Fox 29
Some contracts are more equal than others Daily News (opinion)
Lawmaker: City funding could help schools win state funding Daily News
Hughes: Revoke SRC's power to break union contracts Philly School Files blog

Education secretary to Council prez: Remember, state's in charge Daily News
Sources say that Ron Tomalis called Councilwoman Anna Verna and reminded her that the SRC has authority over the schools and that council can't direct funding to certain purposes.

Inquirer Editorial: Answers aren't in the past The Inquirer
Gov. Corbett should not have asked former school board president Pedro Ramos to be on the SRC.

See also: The coming conversation on School District oversight It's Our Money blog

Power Map of Philadelphia: identifying board and commission members [chart] Technically Philly
The Daily News released a new tool sharing information about board and commission members and their affiliations, including the SRC.

Elmer Smith: Why keep spending on these school cyberfailures? Daily News
Facing a budget deficit, one place to cut could be cyber charters since "We already know that cybercharters aren't worth what we're paying for them."

Changes on the horizon for NCLB The Notebook blog
Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said that even if Congress doesn't move on updating NCLB, he'll work with states.

Four parents of autistic children sue Philadelphia School District The Inquirer

Presentan hoy DREAM-Act en Pensilvania Al Día

Video: Students to City Council: "Save Our Schools" Chestnut Hill Patch

Nutter's success limited by failures dealing with Council The Inquirer

Ten-Year Extension of Penn Alexander School Pact Continues Penn's Support of Public Schools Media Newswire

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

Changes on the horizon for NCLB

By April Lin on Jun 20, 2011 02:03 PM

With the deadline to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (more commonly known as No Child Left Behind) fast approaching, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has promised revision and reform of the controversial policy before the start of the next school year. Should Congress fail to meet this deadline, Duncan has said that he is prepared to work with states and issue waivers exempting them from the "perverse incentives" and sanctions they face under NCLB.

Notes from the news, June 20

By Anonymous on Jun 20, 2011 08:16 AM

notes from the news imageSouth Philadelphia High School students receive freedom from fear award angry asian man blog
At Netroots Nation this weekend two students from South Philly High accepted the award on behalf of the four students who won the honor, which is sponsored by the Public Interest Projects.

See also: Celebrate Fearless Activists Freedom from Fear Award
South Philly High: A tribute to some cool warriors Mojado Citizen

City, District, Mastery: Renaissance success merits more state funds The Notebook blog
Mastery's three Renaissance charter schools released PSSA data showing improvement on Friday.

See also: Philadelphia schools get their money; now come the decisions The Inquirer
School spending worked, data show The Inquirer (opinion)

Stanford report finds good and bad in Pennsylvania charter schools The Inquirer
The CREDO study out of Stanford compared traditional public schools, brick and mortar charter schools, and cyber charter schools.

Quick fixes don't work; schools need new leaders The Inquirer (opinion)
Helen Gym writes about quick fixes of privatization in the past and Renaissance Schools today that haven't brought lasting improvements.

See also: We need a solution that fixes the problem... Education Voters PA blog

DN Editorial: Your property-tax hike: How will it help the schools ... and why don't you have a say? Daily News
Taxpayers "want to be part of the process" of deciding about taxes and how the money is used.

Monica Yant Kinney: Soda-tax defeat is just the latest fizzle for Nutter The Inquirer
Mayor Nutter couldn't rally support on Council for the soda tax, and he's had trouble pushing through several other items as well.

See also: How Philadelphia's City Council decided on a property-tax boost The Inquirer
City Council’s Scare Tactics The Philly Post
Emotions Mixed After Latest Tax Hike Fox 29

Ex-School District official challenges his firing under Pa. whistle-blower law The Inquirer
Francis X. Dougherty is challenging his firing after the $7.5 million no-bid contract scandal.

Education Nation's marketing challenge The Notebook blog
The Education Nation event was sponsored by some organizations with their own education agendas, so how does that affect the news coverage?

More money for Pennsylvania college grants The Inquirer
A $50 million infusion to PHEAA will allow it to give bigger grants this year.

Many educators find Twitter a useful tool The Inquirer

Ramos reacts to nomination to School Reform Commission WHYY/NewsWorks

Special Tech program impacts students 6 ABC

Letters: The true value of school crossing guards in Philadelphia Daily News

Stollsteimer Meets With Pelosi, Sestak Meets with Donors PoliticsPA

Homework, Homework, Give Me a Break! Philly School Search

Budget deal by week’s end? 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

City, District, Mastery: Renaissance success merits more state funds

By Benjamin Herold on Jun 17, 2011 05:23 PM

Leaders from the School District, the Mayor’s office, and Mastery Charter gathered Friday to tout preliminary test score results at Mastery’s three turnaround schools – and to ramp up their argument that the state should restore funding to the District.

Education Nation's marketing challenge

By Samuel Reed III on Jun 17, 2011 01:52 PM

I have to offer marketing kudos to NBC for its Education Nation tour.

Philadelphia was the last leg of the three-city tour. The National Constitution Center served as the epicenter of a glitzy showcase of “solution-focused” discourse to address the education crisis ailing our country.

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