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Notes from the news, Feb. 1

By Anonymous on Feb 1, 2011 10:56 AM

notes from the news imageEducation Secretary, Spike Lee urge more black men to become teachers Philadelphia Tribune
In a town hall meeting at Morehouse College Lee and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan followed up on President Obama's state of the union call for more teachers. Only two percent of teachers are Black men.

The zero-tolerance debate The Notebook blog
Ron Whitehorne responds to an Inquirer op-ed about the recent Youth United for Change study about the District's discipline policies.

Elmer Smith: School-voucher plans can't be vouched for Daily News
This late addition to the Notes includes a batch of opinion pieces discussing vouchers.

See also: Letters: Vouchers that help some shouldn't punish others The Inquirer
Reasserting the right to high-quality schools The Inquirer (opinion)
Voucher bill has fatal flaws The Inquirer (opinion)

Free dental care for kids available Philadelphia Tribune
Tomorrow is "Give Kids a Smile" Day and all week kids can receive free dental care.

Pennsylvania Members of Congress on Federal Education Committees Keystone State Education Coalition
Links to the members of Congress on education committees.

Text of a flyer distributed by the PA NAACP is telling people to contact their representatives "and tell them to say no to vouchers."

Reflections of an Author: The Blame Game Continues on City School Stories
Reflections on the new round of Renaissance Schools.

EduCon Reflection - Seriously Silly Practical Theory blog

The Day Care Decision: Choosing your must-haves Chestnut Hill Patch

Musicopia offers Philadelphia-area kids a chance to compose The Inquirer

PPG: Meet Ron Tomalis, Sec'y of Education Keystone State Education Coalition

Eight students aged between 9 and 14 from Lowell Elementary School participated in the FIRST Lego League Regional Robotics Contest at the Irvine Auditorium of the University of Pennsylvania. AZoRobotics

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

The zero-tolerance debate

By Ron Whitehorne on Jan 31, 2011 03:48 PM

Recently Youth United for Change released a report on zero tolerance that concluded this policy was ineffective in creating safe schools that nurture learning. It also argues that zero tolerance criminalizes youth and disproportionately punishes students of color.

Chris Paslay, a teacher, blogger, and frequent contributor to the Inquirer op-ed page, has been a vocal critic of the report. Writing in the January 28 Inquirer, Paslay suggests that District policies are “quite tolerant” and a choice must be made between making schools “shelters for troubled children”, or “institutions of learning where hardworking children can get an education.”

Notes from the news, Jan. 31

By Anonymous on Jan 31, 2011 10:59 AM

notes from the news imageAccused of rigging, district to redo bids The Inquirer
The District will rebid a job to manage District headquarters because of allegations of rigging previous bidding to ensure a minority firm got the job.

An alarming move at S. Philadelphia High The Notebook blog
South Philly High has made progress this year, but will now be thrown into upheaval again as all of its teachers must reapply for their jobs as part of the Promise Academy (Innovation) turnaround model.

School District Announces Wednesday Makeup Date Roxborough-Manayunk Patch
Wednesday is no longer a staff development day, it is a snow makeup day, and a mandatory day for students.

Teachers on the Front Lines: A Focus Group After the Return blog
Teacher Action Group and Philadelphia Cross City Campaign for School Reform are holding a teacher focus group on Wednesday.

Así es la asignación de recursos para distritos Al Día
You can now find some Notebook content republished in Spanish in Al Día.

See also: ¿Cómo seleccionar una ‘high school’? Al Día

Inquirer Editorial: School shakeup The Inquirer
Since "sticking with the status quo is not an option," the District should keep moving with school turnaround.

Vouchers for Education Metropolis
Instead of being focused on parents supportive of Catholic schools, this voucher incarnation is pitched as civil rights legislation for kids in failing schools.

EduCon - This Is Our School Practical Theory blog
EduCon was this weekend, and it was hosted by Science Leadership Academy.

See also: Morning at Science Leadership Academy Office of Teaching and Unlearning
Saturday at EduCon 2.3: Student Voices, Publishing, and Digital Literacy Office of Teaching and Unlearning

Mapping the Renaissance Schools The Notebook blog
Maps of this year's Renaissance Schools, all Promise Academies, and all Renaissance Schools from Year I and II.

Talented teacher at Juniata Park found stabbed to death in Manayunk The Inquirer
Ellen Rae Greenberg taught at Juniata Park Academy, which Greenberg was chosen to help start.

See also: Teacher's death at Venice Lofts deemed 'suspicious' WHYY/NewsWorks
Ex-neighbor: Greenberg's voice stood out in a crowd WHYY/NewsWorks

Tourney gets kids in on the robotics game The Inquirer

Promise Academies - Year II A Broad View

Germantown High To Become Renaissance School Chestnut Hill Patch

Parents brave arctic overnight for kindergarten 6 ABC

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Notes from the news

An alarming move at S. Philadelphia High

By Helen Gym on Jan 28, 2011 06:30 PM

The decision to name South Philadelphia High School a Promise Academy is an alarming move for a school community that deserved to go through at least one year without dramatic upheaval and chaos.

Southern arguably started its own turnaround process this past fall – one that was community-driven, supported by new school leadership, and backed by both federal and state agreements about addressing repeated civil rights violations against Asian immigrant youth. Otis Hackney, the school’s principal, had called on his staff to work with him to create a radically different school culture, a school culture that by all accounts has improved immensely.

The naming of South Philadelphia High School as a Renaissance School sends a bewildering message to everyone involved that the school isn’t on the right path after all and that it is the District, not the school, that holds all the right answers.

What Does it All Mean, Who is This All For?

By Timothy Boyle on Jan 28, 2011 06:01 PM

 We knew when Imagine 2014 was rolled out that the School District of Philadelphia was headed for a serious shake-up. There was a plan in place, a theory of action, on the interventions schools that fared the worst on the PSSA (low-achieving in the parlance of our times) would get.  The School Performance Index was suppose to be the metric by which turnarounds would be judged. Or so we thought.

Mapping the Renaissance Schools

By Anonymous on Jan 28, 2011 04:00 PM

We've built a couple of maps to help you visualize the Renaissance Schools. This year feeder patterns were part of the selection process for choosing Year II Renaissance Schools.

This map shows all of the Year II Renaissance Schools. They are color coded by type of school, and Timothy Boyle added links to the boundary map for each school.

View Renaissance Schools: Year II in a larger map

Notes from the news, Jan. 28

By Anonymous on Jan 28, 2011 10:51 AM

notes from the news imagePhilly schools closed again Friday Daily News
Enjoy the long weekend and stay safe in the snow.

Shifting the numbers: Men of color and education The Notebook blog
The forum Superintendent Ackerman addressed on Tuesday was about men of color and education. African American teacher Sam Reed gives his take on the topic.

Less than 'zero tolerance' The Inquirer (opinion)
Teacher blogger Christopher Paslay responds to the YUC study on zero tolerance, saying the District code of conduct is "quite tolerant."

3 schools in Northwest on Renaissance list The Notebook blog
The Notebook has a partnership with WHYY's Newsworks, and this piece about King, Pennell, and Germantown first appeared on NewsWorks yesterday.

See also: Germantown, MLK High to Become Renaissance Schools; Teachers and Principals Could Be Replaced Mt. Airy Patch

Four Renaissance School models detailed The Notebook blog
Summary of the models: Promise Academy (Traditional), Promise Academy (Innovation), Promise Neighborhood Partnership, Renaissance (Match) Charter.

2009 NAEP Science Results and Coverage Keystone State Education Coalition
The test results of 4th and 12th graders showed less than half of students had proficiency in science.

Choice Cuts Week Ending 2011-01-28: No Snow Stories, We Promise Philly School Search

Pa. Lawmakers Join Corbett in School-Voucher Push Yahoo! News

Powers a bright spot for CAPA team Daily News

Notes from the Field Blog: Voucher Rally: The Wrong Kind of Civics Lesson Keystone State Education Coalition

Vouchers, Vouchers, Vouchers............ Keystone State Education Coalition

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Shifting the numbers: Men of color and education

By Samuel Reed III on Jan 27, 2011 08:34 PM

The statistics paint a bleak picture. In Philadelphia public schools, 51 percent of Latino and 46 percent of African American males do not graduate. The School Reform Commission's African American and Latino Male Task Force commissioned a study to understand what factors contribute to the low achievement and dropout problems for young men of color.

The provocative January 25 panel Shifting the Numbers: Men of Color and Education, sponsored by Makuu Black Cultural Center and Teach for America, was not without its controversy. Any time you discuss issues of race, class, and education you are bound to ruffle a few feathers. The discourse is likely to get heated if you focus on central questions like: How to better educate young males of color? How to increase the number high-quality men of color standing in front of students of color?

3 schools in Northwest on Renaissance list

By the Notebook on Jan 27, 2011 05:02 PM

by Bill Hangley, Jr

[This piece originally appeared on WHYY/NewsWorks. The Notebook's coverage of Renaissance Schools this year is being conducted in partnership with WHYY/NewsWorks with financial support from the Philadelphia Enterprise Reporting Fund and WHYY/NewsWorks.]

Philadelphia School District officials say parents and community members will soon have their chance to weigh in on the future of three Northwest Philadelphia schools slated for major shakeups.

Four Renaissance School models detailed

By Anonymous on Jan 27, 2011 03:59 PM

The District this week has outlined the four models for Renaissance Schools turnaround as part of its announcement of 18 schools for year two of the initiative. The Renaissance Schools fact sheet says the schools "will serve students in a neighborhood catchment area but will differ from traditional District schools by having a greater degree of autonomy in school management in exchange for a high degree of accountability for performance."

The District describes the four turnaround models as follows:

Notes from the news, Jan. 27

By Anonymous on Jan 27, 2011 11:03 AM

notes from the news imageStrong reactions at West: Outrage, weariness The Notebook blog
Staff and community members are not happy that at least 50 percent of teachers must leave and that the community did not get to choose a turnaround model.

Forecast lets Philly-area school administrators down The Inquirer
Districts were surprised by the storm that lead to the Philly public schools being dismissed early yesterday and closed today.

TFA teacher gets angry response from Ackerman The Notebook blog
Superintendent Ackerman spoke at a recent forum, and one teacher's comments about bureaucracy stifling her ability to teach got a strong reaction.

Northwest Renaissance - 3 local schools slated for overhaul NewsWorks
Germantown high and Pennell elementary will become Promise Academies (Traditional), and King high will be a Renaissance (Match) Charter managed by an outside group.

See also: Notebook radio piece on Ren. Schools The Notebook blog
18 Renaissance Schools Named In Philly Fox 29
Philadelphia School District Announces 18 Low Performance Schools for Change RFA blog

Madonna Poll shows 67% of Pennsylvanians oppose giving public money to parents so they can send their children to private school Keystone State Education Coalition
The poll found that when described as "taxpayer-funded," most Pennsylvanians don't support vouchers.

See also: Notes from the field-Voucher Rally: The Wrong Kind of Civics Lesson City School Stories
Supporters rally in Capitol for school-choice Senate bill The Inquirer

"Imagine Great Schools" - Round Two A Broad View
Details and dates for the second round of facilities master plan community meetings.

Eight teachers to receive "Hero" award tomorrow The Hall Monitor blog

The Annenberg Institute for School Reform Releases New Report on Community Organizing and Education Reform RFA 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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TFA teacher gets angry response from Ackerman

By the Notebook on Jan 26, 2011 09:19 PM

by Celeste Lavin

When the young teacher attending a panel discussion about men of color and education stood up to tell Superintendent Arlene Ackerman that the School District’s constant bureaucratic requirements impeded her ability to teach, she hardly expected what happened next.

Ackerman blew up at her and, in essence, told her to quit.

Strong reactions at West: Outrage, weariness

By Benjamin Herold on Jan 26, 2011 06:12 PM

West Philadelphia High School is set to experience another dramatic shakeup, but there will be no repeat of last year’s tumultuous Renaissance match process.

On Tuesday, District officials announced that West will become a Promise Academy – an outcome that was bitterly opposed by some teachers, parents and community members during West’s ill-fated Renaissance experience last year.

Notebook radio piece on Ren. Schools

By the Notebook on Jan 26, 2011 12:17 PM

You will hear the Notebook on  WHYY again today reporting on Renaissance Schools. This piece describes more about Tuesday's press conference and the impact of the announcement of 18 additional turnaround schools.

Notes from the news, Jan. 26

By Anonymous on Jan 26, 2011 11:02 AM

notes from the news imageUPDATE: Schools will be dismissed at noon.

Second group of Renaissance Schools announced The Notebook blog
Turnaround strategies, including two new "Promise" models, have already been decided for the 18 schools.

See also: Announcing 18 more Renaissance Schools, District questioned on cost, community input The Notebook blog
Radical restructuring for 18 chronically failing Phila. schools The Inquirer
District sets 'turnaround' for 18 more schools Daily News
16 'Renaissance alert' schools also revealed The Notebook blog
Olney East y West serán ‘Escuelas Renacimiento’ Al Día
Year II Renaissance Schools Announced Today A Broad View blog
Big changes coming to S. Phila. High The Inquirer
Arlene Ackerman Screws South Philly High … Again The Philly Post blog

7 Renaissance provider finalists named The Notebook blog
The District also named the seven outside provider organizations eligible to be matched with schools under the Renaissance (Match) Charter model.

West Philly student sits with first lady Daily News
Brandon Ford is a member of the Hybrid X Team and attended last night's State of the Union address.

See also: West Philly Student to Witness State of the Union A Broad View blog

Hundreds Rally For School Choice. Capitol Ideas blog
Most of the students at the rally came from Philadelphia in support of Senate Bill 1, to bring vouchers to Pennsylvania.

See also: School choice debate heating up CBS 21
Agenda for Senate Education Committee Public Hearing Senate Bill 1 February 16, 2011 Keystone State Education Coalition

McCall School displays diversity in action Philadelphia Tribune
This week's Learning Key profiles McCall, looks at an After School Activities Partnership program, introduces a Hill-Freeman's new IB program, and more.

See also: Chess Day shows how game solves problems Philadelphia Tribune
Hill-Freeman students going international
Philadelphia Tribune
Day school welcomes Eagles staff to pep rally
Philadelphia Tribune
Build-A-Bear Workshop awarding $10,000 to 10 kids Philadelphia Tribune

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Notes from the news

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