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West students take concerns to SRC

By Paul Socolar on Oct 20, 2010 08:40 PM

A group of nine students from West Philadelphia High School painted a vivid picture of disarray at the school in testimony at the School Reform Commission meeting today and in a follow-up conversation with reporters. But after a closed-door meeting for more than an hour with Associate Superintendent Tomás Hanna and new West Principal John Chapman, the students emerged more hopeful.

Will GradeSpeed Gradebook be a game-changer?

By Timothy Boyle on Oct 20, 2010 02:03 PM

This year the School District of Philadelphia has made dramatic changes to report cards in elementary grades. Instead of three report card periods, we now have four. This adds one report card conference for families and teachers. How teachers submit final grades to the report card system has changed as well. Teachers will be able to put all student grades over the course of a marking period into an online gradebook that will in turn send the final averages to the report card system. 

Notes from the news, Oct. 20

By Anonymous on Oct 20, 2010 09:40 AM

notes from the news imageMastery Charter Schools Crosses the River Into Camden NJ Spotlight
Mastery was approved by NJ to bring one new charter school to Camden, and Mastery founder Scott Gordon said that he'd like to see Camden grow to have "multiple campuses."

Obama signs order aimed to improve achievement among Hispanic students The Notebook blog
The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics will work on improving high school and college graduation rates.

Negotiating the high school admissions maze The Notebook blog
Frank Murphy offers a case study on how the Meade school helped its students through the high school application process.

Common Surprises Some Philadelphia High School Students, Talks Higher Education [Video] Hip Hop Wired

School police officer hurt while trying to arrest student at Frankford High The Inquirer

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Notes from the news

Negotiating the high school admissions maze

By Frank Murphy on Oct 19, 2010 04:07 PM

In 2005, when Meade School’s first 8th grade class moved up to high school, less than 10 percent of those students were accepted to schools other than their neighborhood high school. This was a disappointing result for the many students who had sought admission to special admission schools. It was also disappointing for our teachers. Our staff decided that this was not an acceptable outcome. We resolved to do better in future years.

Obama signs order aimed to improve achievement among Hispanic students

By Gustavo Martínez on Oct 19, 2010 01:37 PM

When President Barack Obama renewed the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics today, he did it having in mind that many of those students are undocumented immigrants who find obstacles when trying to attend college, education officials said.

Notes from the news, Oct. 19

By Anonymous on Oct 19, 2010 10:09 AM

notes from the news imageApplause for Ackerman nationally, but locally rhetoric doesn't match reality The Notebook blog
In Superintendent Ackerman's rebuttal to the manifesto she mistakenly signed onto, she says connecting with communities is key, but her actions in Philly don't always match what she wrote.

Obama: Future depends on science, math education Philadelphia Tribune
Obama spent time with science fair winners from across the country, including some students from Philly.

See also: Philly-area students honored in White House Science Fair The Inquirer

Lessons on school reform from Chicago: Like baking a cake The Notebook blog
Research from Chicago shows that like baking a cake, you can't remove any of the essential ingredients of school reform and still have success.

The day of the community colleges is here Daily News (opinion)
President of CCP says that even though the school is a vital part of the education ecosystem in Philly, it is "called to do more with less."

Philadelphia really needs former Washington, D.C. school superintendent Michelle Rhee Daily News (opinion)
Since the "
ignorance-industrial complex" has forced Rhee out of D.C., she should come here.

The independent contractors of higher education Philly Labor blog
A group of adjuncts at Temple is organizing to become part of the AFT.

Furness students urged to spread word about CHIP The Inquirer

School bus hits car; eight students on board OK The Inquirer

Reflections of an Author: Bullies City School Stories

Going Local for Education Movement Escalates to…Lawn Signs? Philly School Search blog

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Notes from the news

Applause for Ackerman nationally, but locally rhetoric doesn't match reality

By Helen Gym on Oct 18, 2010 02:32 PM

I want to be the first to applaud Superintendent Arlene Ackerman for her recent letter to the editor in the Washington Post, which distanced herself from a controversial op-ed fronted by NYC Chancellor Joel Klein and D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee. Ackerman’s letter was not only a thoughtful critique of the Klein/Rhee op-ed, but the first step on the national stage by a major superintendent to challenge the bad teacher/good charter stereotype now making the national media rounds.

The drawback? I guess I’m disappointed how Ackerman’s rhetoric has not quite made it to reality here in Philadelphia.

Lessons on school reform from Chicago: Like baking a cake

By Ron Whitehorne on Oct 18, 2010 01:38 PM

Penny Bender Sebring and her colleagues at the Consortium on Chicago School Research have been studying school reform in the Windy City since the 1980s. Last month at a symposium sponsored by the Public Interest Law Center she drew out some of the lessons of decades of exhaustive research, aided by panelists Deborah Meier and Torch Lytle.

Notes from the news, Oct. 18

By Anonymous on Oct 18, 2010 09:36 AM

notes from the news imageSupt. Ackerman's critique of 'manifesto' The Answer Sheet
Superintendent Ackerman sent her own version of an education reform manifesto signed onto by more than a dozen leaders for districts across the U.S. Ackerman removed her name from that list.

See also: Ackerman removes name from 'manifesto' The Notebook blog

Education Voters of Pennsylvania On Onorato Endorsement PhillyNow
Ed Voters called Onorato the "education candidate" and warned that Corbett has said that the state can't afford an increase in basic education spending with the looming deficit.

'Inviting Families Into the Classroom' The Notebook blog
Notebook member Lynne Strieb turned her decades in the classroom into a "practitioner's guide" on how to engage families in your teaching practice.

EduPunks Philly Teacher blog
Philly Teacher invites everyone to become positive "EduPunks" to counter all the negativity in the discussion about education.

Huffington Post - Rule of Law Practical Theory blog

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Notes from the news

Ackerman removes name from 'manifesto'

By Anonymous on Oct 15, 2010 04:24 PM

The Washington Post published an op-ed signed by several education leaders including Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, and Superintendent Ackerman. But Ackerman has asked for her name to be removed.

'Inviting Families Into the Classroom'

By Timothy Boyle on Oct 15, 2010 02:41 PM

In my school I have seen:

  • My students' family members in the hallways and schoolyard.
  • Moms and dads getting on buses for field trips.
  • Parent volunteers taking quarters and wrapping pretzels in paper towels for our weekly Wednesday pretzel sale.
  • Parents lining the halls during report card conferences seeking information on how their children are performing.
  • The auditorium filled with the families of the performers for the annual talent show.
  • A standing room only crowd of proud families for our 8th grade graduation.

All of this participation seems natural and encouraging. But what happens when the school bell rings and students sit at their desks? The families disappear. If I were to walk into a classroom during instruction and find a parent in the room, I would wonder why. Honestly, my first thought would be what’s wrong?

But after reading Lynne Strieb’s Inviting Families Into the Classroom I have a very different perspective on the role of family members in the classroom.

Students, community to District: 'You broke it'

By Benjamin Herold on Oct 15, 2010 09:32 AM

The District’s handling of West Philadelphia High School has resulted in a sudden, dramatic return of the climate problems that used to plague the struggling neighborhood school, students from the school repeatedly told District officials during a community meeting held Thursday night at Kingsessing Recreation Center. 

Notes from the news, Oct. 15

By Anonymous on Oct 15, 2010 09:00 AM

notes from the news imageStudents, community to District: ‘You broke it’ The Notebook blog
The District held a community meeting last night and heard from students who are dealing with the upheaval at West Philly High.

See also: Principal at West Phila. High steps down for now The Inquirer
Top-job shake-up at West Philadelphia High Daily News

PA Passes Historic Resolution to Study School Libraries School Library Journal
The study will assess how many schools have lost libraries and librarians and what effect that has had.

Williams defends charter schools Philadelphia Tribune
State Sen. Williams says a moratorium on new charter schools would "disproportionally affect the Black community."

The defeat of Fenty and Rhee - What is the lesson? The Notebook blog
Superintendent Ackerman also favors a top-down leadership style, but it is unlikely that she'll be following Rhee out the door. The Answer Sheet lists the accomplishments Ackerman claimed when she too left D.C.

See also: Rhee’s big legacy: Being a whirlwind The Answer Sheet
Memo to Philly: At least give Michelle Rhee a call Attytood

Panel weighs obstacles to college success The Notebook blog
The city's chief education officer, Lori Shorr, described ways the city is working to meet Mayor Nutter's goal of 36 percent of Philadelphians having a college degree by  2018.

Reconciling Tech and Content Philly Teacher blog

Call for Stories City School Stories

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Notes from the news

The defeat of Fenty and Rhee in DC - What is the lesson for Philly?

By Ron Whitehorne on Oct 14, 2010 04:17 PM

The defeat of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and the subsequent resignation of his schools chancellor Michelle Rhee is full of irony.

While Rhee is celebrated on Oprah's show and in the movie theatres as the poster child for fixing public education, the alleged beneficiaries of her reforms, low-income African Americans, repudiated her sponsor Fenty at the polls. A Washington Post poll taken right before the primary indicated that Fenty trailed his opponent among Black Democrats by a 64 to 19 percent margin while leading among Whites by a better than two-to-one ratio.  

Panel weighs obstacles to college success

By the Notebook on Oct 14, 2010 01:38 PM

by Katherine Saviskas

With 101 colleges and universities in the metropolitan area, Philadelphia is second only to Boston in the size of its higher education industry. Yet, just 21 percent of city residents have a college degree.

Lori Shorr, Mayor Nutter’s chief education officer, said at a forum on Oct. 12 that this number is up from 18 percent when Nutter took office in 2008 – but still far from his announced goal of 36 percent by 2018.

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