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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

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.

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

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.

Education Not Incarceration gathering Sat.

By Anonymous on Jan 28, 2010 06:44 PM

Education Not Incarceration-Delaware Valley is holding a public gathering on school climate and discipline this Saturday.

The event is from 12:30-4:30 p.m. at El Centro de Estudiantes, 2010 N. Mascher St.

The Notebook's Winter edition focused on school climate, and the panel discussion will include some topics covered in that edition.

Here's some information about the event from its organizers:

EduCon 2.2 This Weekend

By Molly Thacker on Jan 28, 2010 02:44 PM

I can't think of a better - or more necessary - time than late January to generate discussion, ideas, creativity, collaboration, and energy around issues of education.  Which is I am so looking forward to attending the EduCon 2.2 conference this weekend hosted by Science Leadership Academy.

Check back after the weekend for a recap of events and to continue the conversation!

Note: The event is sold out, but there is a wait list and an option to "attend digitally."

District FAQs for Ren. Schools' staff

By Anonymous on Jan 28, 2010 11:36 AM

The District has Frequently Asked Question sheets with timelines for instructional staff, instructional support staff, and CASA employees (school administrators) at Renaissance Schools.

You can also contact the Hotline for Renaissance School Staff with questions not covered in the FAQ. Someone will respond within 24 hours to a call at 215-400-5999 or email at

Some highlights from the FAQs:

Notes from the news, Jan. 28

By Anonymous on Jan 28, 2010 10:25 AM

Under new management: Struggling schools? Daily News
The District announced the pool of potential Renaissance Schools turnarounds.

See also: The list of schools, the basics, profiles of the pool, call for your reaction, and union fallout The Notebook blog
14 Phila. schools eligible for improvement program The Inquirer
District ready for its school ‘Renaissance’ Metro Philadelphia
Overhauls Ahead for Phila. School District's Worst Schools KYW
Phila. Schools targeted for turnaround announced WHYY

SRC OKs teacher contract Daily News
Other business from yesterday's SRC meeting.

Penn Hosting 9th Graders From West Philadelphia, FitzSimons High Schools on Shadowing Day Feb. 2 Media-News wire

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

Call for Renaissance reaction

By the Notebook on Jan 27, 2010 03:56 PM

Here at the Notebook, we’ve anxious to hear from parents, teachers, and school staff who may be affected by the District’s Renaissance plan.

Renaissance Schools list announced

By the Notebook on Jan 27, 2010 03:52 PM

The District just released the 14 "Renaissance Eligible Schools" and the 12 "Alert Schools" for 2010-11. The Notebook has published a FAQ about the Renaissance Schools, as has the District.

UPDATE: Each school name now links to a fact sheet with its School Performance Index data.

The Renaissance Eligible Schools are:

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