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Racial assaults at S. Philly: What went wrong

By Helen Gym on Dec 4, 2009 02:29 PM

The latest beatings of Asian students reported at South Philadelphia High School are an outrage.

The ordeal began Wednesday, Lin said, when a Vietnamese student was jumped by 14 students across the street from the school.

Yesterday, the attackers were roaming the halls "searching for victims class by class during school," he said.

Services for Joaquín Rivera

By the Notebook on Dec 4, 2009 12:52 PM

Joaquín Rivera, Sr., worked as a Spanish bilingual counselor assistant for 26 years at Olney High School. Rivera died tragically while waiting for care at an ER last week. Rivera was also a community activist and a musician with the group Los Pleneros del Batey.

Joaquín's family extended an invitation to all his School District colleagues to attend services that are scheduled for this Friday and Saturday:

Notes from the news, Dec. 4

By Anonymous on Dec 4, 2009 11:00 AM

Pa. schools have not gotten safer, state says The Inquirer
The state announced plans to create formal expectations of districts for school safety and support for Senate Bill 56, which "calls for closer collaboration between police and school districts."

See also: Leaving no child in danger The Inquirer (opinion)
State: After 5 years, classrooms no safer Philly.com
New guidelines urged for Pa. school safety WHYY
Winter 2009-10: Focus on School Climate The Notebook

Asian students under attack at S. Phila. High Daily News
Yesterday 26 Asian students were attacked by other students. 

Despite progress, problems keeping enough qualified teachers The Notebook
This year Philadelphia hired 1,700 new teachers and counselors. There are concerns that new teacher supports are spread thin and that many new teachers are not fully certified.

Pa. auditor urges end to interest-rate swaps The Inquirer
The state auditor found that the School District of Philadelphia has "more than $1 billion in debt tied" to the risky swaps.

Editorial: Work with charters The Inquirer
The editorial encourages Superintendent Ackerman to amend proposed changes to charter rules so that successful charters can "expand to accommodate more children."

You Close the Deficit: Shelly Yanoff It's Our Money
PCCY Executive Director gives her suggestions on how to close the city's deficit.

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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More education reporting needed

By Anonymous on Dec 3, 2009 01:55 PM

The Brookings Institution just released a report about education reporting titled “Invisible: 1.4 Percent Coverage for Education is Not Enough.” Notebook Contributing Editor and Education Writers Association President Dale Mezzacappa was part of a panel discussion that accompanied the presentation.

Here is a video of the presentation and panel:

Notes from the news, Dec. 3

By Anonymous on Dec 3, 2009 11:01 AM

Pennsylvania Education Leaders Announce New Tools for Ensuring School Safety PR Newswire
The tools should include "proven models" to improve school safety. The State Dept. of Ed. plans to do on-site reviews of "certain" buildings in Philadelphia.

Finding a way to hope after personal tragedy Daily News
In memory of her husband, Russell Byers, Laurada Byers created the charter school that bears his name.

What's wrong with the District budget hearings? The Notebook blog
Helen Gym questions what use the public hearings are when information about the budget is so hard to come by.

Invisible: 1.4 Percent Coverage for Education is Not Enough Brookings Institution
The study recommends eight ways to improve education coverage. Notebook Contributing Editor Dale Mezzacappa was on a panel discussion of the report. Here's a video of the event.

KIPP: Earning the right to learn The Notebook
KIPP operates two charter schools in Philly. The schools have a distinct culture where students "earn" everything.

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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What's wrong with the District budget hearings?

By Helen Gym on Dec 2, 2009 04:22 PM

Normally I would laud next week’s public hearings to weigh in on the District’s plans to close a near $200 million shortfall. After all, the District reversed its earlier opposition to the idea and gave plenty of notice ahead of time.

But here’s the catch: what use are hearings when there’s so little substantive information?

Notes from the news, Dec. 2

By Anonymous on Dec 2, 2009 10:47 AM

Too much of a good education? The Inquirer (opinion)
City Councilman Bill Green wrote about the recent Council hearing on charter schools' rules changes. Green supports the growth of "high-quality, fiscally sound, successful charter schools."

Some thoughts on media and justice for Joaquin Rivera Young Philly Politics
Rivera was a longtime bilingual counselor at Olney HS and musician who died while waiting for care in an ER.

Renaissance Schools plan moves ahead as debate continues The Notebook
The turnaround planning will be different this time and include the community, according to the Mayor's Chief Education Officer Lori Shorr.

Today: Research for Action will present at the American Anthropological Association meeting. Entitled "High School Reform in Philadelphia: School Choice, Transition Supports, and Small High Schools", the presentation will take place from 2-3:45 p.m. at the Marriott at 1201 Market St.

Dec. 2 is the 150th anniversary of John Brown's hanging. The Moonstone Arts Center has a series of events this week, including three today.

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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Guest blog: Good management v. bad management

By Guest blogger on Dec 1, 2009 04:36 PM

Welcome to the guest blogger section of the Notebook blog.

This week's post is from Alan Kaman, a pseudonym for a teacher and frequent Notebook blog commenter.


What separates good organizations from bad organizations is how problems are dealt with. In a good organization a problem is seen as opportunity to correct and improve an existing situation. Colleagues work together to analyze what happened that negatively affected the system, what can be done to prevent it from happening again, and whether or not proper actions were taken and how these actions could be improved.

Notes from the news, Dec. 1

By Anonymous on Dec 1, 2009 10:46 AM

Phila. schools, teachers extend contract - again The Inquirer
Negotiations continue as PFT President Jerry Jordan says his members are anxious.

See also: Another Phila. Schoolteachers' Contract Extension Approved KYW
PFT and District extend contract to January 15, 2010 The Notebook blog

Scaled-back budget still has a record spending increase The Notebook
The District has a 12 percent spending increase this year, even after its adjustments to close a $196 million gap in the budget.

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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In case you missed it: RttT and turnarounds, class disrupters, constructive criticism

By Anonymous on Nov 30, 2009 04:47 PM

Stimulus Rules on 'Turnarounds' Shift Education Week
In the final version of rules for the $4 billion grant competition, school "transformation" became a first option for school turnaround in addition to more aggressive methods. Transformation methods include "providing professional development and coaching for a school’s current staff, and making changes to curriculum and instruction." 

Alternative Class for Disrupters? The Core Knowledge blog
A teacher in Florida wrote about problems caused by students who check out of class. School climate is also the topic of our Winter edition, and an editorial by the NY Times.

Why Every Student Needs Critical Friends Educational Leadership
This piece outlines how to bring constructive criticism between peers into the classroom, and the benefits of that approach.

Poor Schools or Poor Kids? Education Next (via Core Knowledge blog)
Q&A between Joe Williams for the Education Equality Project and Pedro Noguera for A Broader, Bolder Approach to Education.

PFT and District extend contract to January 15, 2010

By Anonymous on Nov 30, 2009 02:36 PM

The teachers' contract (already extended twice this year) was set to expire today, and has now been extended for another 46 days. Negotiations between the District and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers are continuing.

Notebook coverage of the teachers' contract is included in the just-released Winter edition, with an article highlighting the contract implications of the 163 emergency-certified new teachers hired this year. There is also a report on the District's scaled-back budget, which may limit the District's flexibility in negotiations. Since the spring, District officials have said publicly that there is no money in the current budget to fund teacher raises.

The joint statement announcing the contract extension is available here.

Notes from the news, Nov. 30

By Anonymous on Nov 30, 2009 11:01 AM

Welcome back! And some stories from the past several days:

Teacher contract extension expected Philly.com

Backdrop to contract talks: 163 new teachers are emergency-certified The Notebook
More than 9 percent of the new teachers hired this year are emergency-certified.

Daniel Rubin: Once lost, now a leader The Inquirer
A former student returns as a co-teacher in a special education class at George Washington High School.

Student performer used foster care as inspiration The Inquirer
Samia Merritt, who attends CAPA, performed a monologue from her play about living in foster care at an SRC meeting held earlier this month.

When Charters Take Liberties WHYY (opinion)
A take on the charters as experiments model.

TeacherPlanIt.com KYW
The online collaboration tool is being used in 15 Philadelphia schools.

Phila. events commemorate John Brown's legacy The Inquirer

Vacant storefronts to bloom with artwork from schools Chestnut Hill Local

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, Nov. 25

By Anonymous on Nov 25, 2009 10:41 AM

Have a Happy Thanksgiving. See you back here on Monday.

Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane WHYY
Interview with Laurence Steinberg about risky behavior and the adolescent mind.

Helping Philabundance Daily News
Students at Rhoads Elementary collected more than 300 pounds of food.

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, Nov. 24

By Anonymous on Nov 24, 2009 10:56 AM

Things are a little quiet this Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

Today is the final Renaissance Schools community feedback session. Tonight from 6-8 p.m. at Boys Latin Charter School,  5501 Cedar Ave.

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.

In case you missed it: Choice, evaluation, war, charters and segregation

By Anonymous on Nov 23, 2009 04:22 PM

School choice series: High school search frustrates ambitious student The Times-Picayune
The final installment in a series about school choice in New Orleans, the current home of Philly's former CEO Paul Vallas.

Mr. Goldfarb’s Evaluation The Core Knowledge Blog
This post urges readers to check out Jay Mathews' piece that details Mr. Goldfarb's experience with the new evaluation system in place in D.C.

The War on Kids: What Ails Public Schools? Better Ask, What Doesn’t? The New York Times
The new documentary "suggests a system regulated by fear and motivated by the desire to control." But Alexander Russo is skeptical.

Push for charter schools sparks segregation concerns Montgomery Advertiser via JCCF
Alabama, and nine other states, do not currently have charter school laws, but the Race to the Top application is pushing states to quickly change that.

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