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Only 10 percent of Latino dropouts get a GED

By Gustavo Martínez on May 20, 2010 12:43 PM

Latinos remain at the bottom of educational achievement both locally and nationally. This worsens when one finds out that the alarming dropout rate comes along with low GED attainment.

Barely 1 in 10 Latino dropouts have a General Educational Development (GED) credential, according to a report the Pew Hispanic Center released last week. 

Notes from the news, May 20

By Anonymous on May 20, 2010 05:12 AM

Ackerman set to make top-level changes The Inquirer
"Extremely big" changes to come to Ackerman's cabinet and regional superintendent leadership.

Charters and transparency: Comparing Hardy Williams School to Morton The Notebook blog
It's very difficult to track how all of Hardy Williams Charter's nearly $8 million annual budget is spent, but a comparable neighborhood school has a much clearer money trail.

We need fed $$, stat! Daily News (opinion)
Union leader Cathy Scott calls for an extension of stimulus dollars to support schools and other essential services.

Fels High teen struck and killed The Inquirer
The teen was just about to graduate. She was struck by a car after getting off of the school bus.

Go to www. phillygoes2college.com UC Review
Thorough description of the program to help raise the number of Philadelphians with a college degree.

Mayor Nutter, Child Advocates Call Attention to Plight of Foster Children KYW

Summer jobs programs begin in Philadelphia WHYY

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Charters and transparency: Comparing Hardy Williams School to Morton

By Frank Murphy on May 19, 2010 01:38 PM

In light of the disturbing findings of Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz’s recent investigation of 13 charter schools and the revelation that an ongoing federal investigation of several other charter schools in the city is under way, isn’t it time that we take a more careful look at the District’s Renaissance Schools plan? 

Judging from the provider matches for half of the first 14 Renaissance Eligible schools, it is clear that this plan is going to rely heavily on turning District-managed schools into charter schools. 

Notes from the news, May 19

By Anonymous on May 19, 2010 09:12 AM

16 Philadelphia principals lack state credentials The Inquirer
Former South Philly High principal LaGreta Brown was not the only uncertified administrator. The District said it is working to address the oversight and faulty credential-checking process.

See also: 15 other Philly school administrators lack certification Daily News
District: 16 Philly principals lack credentials AP via York Daily Record

Can't sell off a school that never was closed The Notebook blog
Students from the W.S. Pierce School were relocated in 2007, but the school was never officially closed. In spite of that, last month the SRC passed a resolution to sell it.

At Overbrook High, an atmosphere of caring in school and out of it Philadelphia Tribune
Overbrook's principal says the school supports each other like a family.

Philadelphia Expands Alliance With McGraw-Hill to Enhance Literacy Instruction for Thousands of Students PR Newswire

Philadelphia votes to end BRT The Inquirer

Digging Through the S. Phila High Mess PhillyNow blog

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Can't sell off a school that never was closed

By Paul Socolar on May 18, 2010 11:06 AM

You may wonder whether a school closing decision can be any more last-minute than what is planned for the Childs School in South Philadelphia.

Notes from the news, May 18

By Anonymous on May 18, 2010 08:18 AM

Happy Election Day. Don't forget to vote!

New school, old fears for victims of bullying Daily News
Parents from Childs elementary are concerned about relocating to Barratt middle school.

What's next for South Philly High? The Notebook blog
Principal LaGreta Brown was a problem at South Philly, but not the only one, and it will take more than new leadership to help the school.

See also: Ackerman defends S. Philly principal Philadelphia Tribune

School Libraries: A Disapppearing Act Metropolis
Three out of four schools don't have a certified librarian. Ackerman said at last week's City Council budget hearing that the District will do an inventory of library resources.

Introducing f, our new blogger The Notebook blog
A Philadelphia principal joins our blog and discusses experiences teaching and why anonymity.

A word about school choice PA2010.com
Education is a big issue in this year's primary.

Out of the Mainstream Education Next
Alternative schools of the '70s had a very different definition than they often do now.

See also: School Districts and Alternatives The EdNext Blog

Ballot question puts BRT on the chopping block WHYY

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What's next for South Philly High?

By Helen Gym on May 17, 2010 11:42 AM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s almost impossible to believe that a story that first comes to public light with 30 kids getting beaten up in school can get worse over time, but in fact, that’s exactly what’s happened with the on-going fiasco at South Philadelphia High School.

Last week, South Philly High Principal LaGreta Brown abruptly resigned hours before a teacher vote of no-confidence and amid the finding that her Pennsylvania principal certification was inactive. The latter technicality capped a disastrous tenure for Brown.

Introducing f, our new blogger

By Frank Murphy on May 17, 2010 10:45 AM

Please welcome f to the Notebook blog. If you've read our comments, you've probably read a lot of f's thoughts already. Now, you'll see full blog posts from f.

The Notebook is making a temporary exception to its normal practice of publishing only signed blog posts. We do so in order to highlight an articulate voice representing an important constituency in the local education dialogue.

F, a Philadelphia school administrator whose identity is known to the Notebook, explains blogging anonymously at the end of this introduction.


I've been in education well over 30 years, roughly half that time as a classroom teacher and half as a principal. My career as an educator has been rooted in the belief that the work of a teacher is a vital public service. I am an unabashed supporter of public education. I see our public schools as the means through which we support our children in developing the skills that will assist them to be successful and productive adults. Further, I see our schools as community centers that unify us as a people and prepare our children to be active and responsible citizens of our democratic society.

Notes from the news, May 17

By Anonymous on May 17, 2010 08:50 AM

Next leader at S. Phila. High sees a long haul The Inquirer
Otis Hackney III is returning to the Philly School District after leading a suburban school and says he is "looking forward to traveling" the tough road ahead to improve S. Philly High.

See also: Director de Montco acepta el reto de 'South Philly High' Al Día
Editorial: Another failing grade The Inquirer
LaGreta Brown Steps Down; Calls for Ackerman To Be Next A Very Public Education blog

S. Phila. principal's lack of credential was known The Inquirer
The District knew LaGreta Brown's principal certification was expired when she was hired. Brown never got the emergency certification the District required, and the District dropped the ball on following up.

See also: Ackerman: District Dropped Ball On Principal's Certification Fox 29

9 Phila. charters under U.S. probe seek Race to the Top money The Inquirer
The acting state Secretary of Education said it would be unfair to not allow the schools to participate in the state's application for additional federal dollars when no wrongdoing had been found.

School District of Philadelphia pushes healthier snacking WHYY
The push gives Philly the "most restrictive snack policy in the country."

Happy 100th Birthday Frankford High School The Frankford Gazette

Encouraging Dialogue Philly Teacher blog

Enrollment Down, Hiring Up The Bulletin

This Economy: Education and health care dominant jobs in Phila. region The Inquirer

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"Waiting for Superman"

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 14, 2010 10:05 AM

I am out here in San Francisco where the Education Writers Association, of which I am the current board president, is holding our annual meeting. EWA is a national organization committed to improving the quality of education journalism, and this is our 63rd annual meeting.

Last night, we heard from Davis Guggenheim, director of "An Inconvenient Truth," and saw clips from his movie "Waiting for Superman." In "Waiting" he gives  public education the same treatment he gave global warming, in hopes of raising public awareness about the issue. 

Notes from the news, May 14

By Anonymous on May 14, 2010 08:59 AM

South Phila. principal, lacking credential, resigns The Inquirer
LaGreta Brown resigned effective immediately on Thursday, in advance of a scheduled no confidence vote by teachers. Her principal certification is inactive. Springfield Township principal Otis D. Hackney, III will be South Philly's new principal.

See also: S. Philly High principal resigns over missing certification Daily News
South Philadelphia principal steps down WHYY
Reaction to Brown's departure from S. Philly The Notebook blog
Springfield Township High School principal to step down Springfield Sun
Ackerman needs to resign, too Attytood
Principal of South Philadelphia High School Resigns KYW
LaGreta Brown steps down from S. Philly The Notebook blog
South Phila. High principal steps down 6 ABC
S. Philly High Principal quits Young Philly Politics

Editorial: Justify bonuses The Inquirer
Calls for the SRC and Ackerman to explain the reasoning for Superintendent Ackerman's $65,000 bonus.

Williams' charter school has had rocky times The Inquirer
State Sen. Williams is running for governor with the support of school choice advocates, but his charter school has missed AYP for the past three years and went five years without filing its federal tax return.

See also: Williams campaign driven by school choice, hefty donors WHYY

Hybrid built by West Philadelphia students wins another round WHYY

We want to know what you're thinking The Notebook blog

Improve a School, Improve a Neighborhood Philly School Search

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Reaction to Brown's departure from S. Philly

By Gustavo Martínez on May 13, 2010 04:18 PM

Superintedent Arlene Ackerman said that there is a racial divide among the staff at South Philadelphia High School. She commented after leaving a meeting with teachers to discuss the resignation and immediate departure of South Philly principal LaGreta Brown.

South Philly High students did not know about Brown's resignation until told by a reporter.

"I'm surprised with the news, but it's a good thing she finally left," said Duc Le, a 17-year-old junior at South Philly High. "She tried to make everything look normal after we were attacked."

LaGreta Brown steps down from S. Philly

By Paul Socolar on May 13, 2010 02:24 PM

The School District has confirmed that LaGreta Brown, the embattled principal of South Philadelphia High School, has resigned, effective immediately. A release from the District names Otis D. Hackney, III, principal at Springfield Township High School as the new principal. He will begin his tenure as principal in the summer; retired District principal Ozzie Wright will serve as interim principal immediately.

According to a teacher at the school, a faculty vote of "no confidence" in Brown was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

The Inquirer reports that Brown's principal's certification is currently inactive. She had agreed to leave at the end of the school year, but due to the certification issue she left today.

We want to know what you're thinking

By Anonymous on May 13, 2010 02:23 PM

We're collecting feedback from readers about the Notebook and our new Membership program. Could you take a moment to fill out our survey now?

Notes from the news, May 13

By Anonymous on May 13, 2010 08:56 AM

Phaseout of EMOs accelerates The Notebook blog
Superintendent Ackerman said the EMO model is "flawed" and that "we're phasing it out," shifting 16 EMO-operated schools back to the District.

Providers picked for seven schools set for makeovers Daily News
The SRC approved charter operators to run seven Renaissance Schools. Potter-Thomas will be a Promise Academy and West is as yet unassigned.

See also: Seven Phila. schools to become charters The Inquirer
8 'Renaissance' provider matches are made The Notebook blog
Smedley School The Frankford Gazette

Teens from two cultures share their views through photography The Inquirer
Notebook Student Journalism Award winner Ian McShea of Constitution High is one of the students involved in a cross-cultural photography program that will open at the National Constitution Center and National Museum of Afghanistan.

School Reform in South Philadelphia: My Personal Ground Zero UC Review
More about the moms working to improve Jackson Elementary.

Phila. schools to open two hours late on primary day The Inquirer
Schools will be open to make up a snow day.

See also: City School and Election Officials Remain At Odds Over Election Day Access to Schools KYW

Fitting Creativity into Assessment Philly Teacher blog

Eight state-related units banding together The Inquirer

Check out The Hechinger Report The Notebook blog

Student treated after a fight at University City High The Inquirer

Philadelphia Academy unveils technology upgrades The Inquirer

Williams proposes plan to increase arts education funding WHYY

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Notes from the news

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