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Notes from the news, Oct. 14

By Anonymous on Oct 14, 2009 10:16 AM

Dash for the right high school: As Oct. 30 nears, 8th-graders weigh choices for next year Daily News
Less than a month remains to apply to District high schools and reporter Dafney Tales interviewed a few families considering their options. The Notebook's Fall Guide has a lot of great information about this process, including an article that gives you an insiders' look at applying.

See also: The Notebook Fall Guide

Building better schools Daily News (opinion)
Khalif Dobson is a senior at West Philadelphia High School and member of Philadelphia Student Union. He writes about his experiences at West and how he has "recently seen real improvement in the way teachers teach and students learn."

American schools were always violent The Inquirer (opinion)
NYU Professor Jonathan Zimmerman writes about other violent incidents at schools in the U.S. that have taken place for over a hundred years. The presence of violence in schools is not new, but "the new factor is gun possession, plain and simple."

See also: Teen violence: Chicago incident prompts moving from conversation to action The Notebook blog

Phila. School Reform Commission Gets 2 New Members KYW
The two new commissioners will be sworn in at the SRC meeting this afternoon.

Board, founder of Agora Cyber Charter resign The Inquirer
With a complete change in leadership, the school meets conditions set by the state Department of Education to maintain its charter and remain open.

Soda Bottle Devices Found Outside a School in Mayfair KYW
Those devices were found outside
Edwin Forrest Elementary School on Tuesday morning. The plastic bottles contained a solution meant to build up pressure and make the bottle explode. The principal called police, the area with the bottles was cordoned off, and students went to school.

See also: Soda Bottle Bombs Detonated Near School Fox 29

Philadelphia Principals to Be Held Accountable for Number of Students Eating Breakfast Fox News
This summary frames the issue as principals needing to add "monitoring students' eating habits" to their long list of duties. For more on the topic, read about the wide variation between schools in breakfast participation, which prompted the change in policy.

Where to be on Thursday: Bread & Roses Tribute to Change Event Young Philly Politics
Join the Notebook and hundreds of other allies in celebrating Bread & Roses and Notebook photographer Harvey Finkle!

Teen violence: Chicago incident prompts moving from conversation to action

By Molly Thacker on Oct 13, 2009 11:37 PM

I’m sure by now everyone has heard about the tragic incident of the high school student in Chicago who was killed a few weeks ago. 

And I’m sure by now everyone has probably stopped talking about him. It seems to be the way it goes. 

Jon and Kate’s latest scandal? You’ll be able to find instant updates daily. The brutal beating of a sixteen year old honor student? The story dissipates after the first few headlines. 

I first heard about the murder from a student of mine, who brought the issue into the classroom as her chosen topic for weekly discussions we conduct.  The student did a great job finding an article for students to read and respond to on our class blog. She also facilitated an engaging, critical conversation around teen violence and bullying, intersecting with issues of race. 

Although we did end the discussion on a note of action, thinking about ways we can address violence here in Philadelphia and at our school, our class discussion seemed almost futile in the sense that we were trying to explain an inexplicable occurrence. 

Notes from the news, Oct. 13

By Anonymous on Oct 13, 2009 10:01 AM

Core Standards - Sound Bites and Standardization Practical Theory blog
SLA Principal Chris Lehmann writes about the impact of the National Standards movement. A commenter directs readers to a series in GothamSchools.

See also: Standards: Demystifying, Debunking and Discrediting GothamSchools

A chronicler of social activism The Inquirer
This is a profile of Harvey Finkle, who will be honored by Bread & Roses (the longest-term Notebook funder) at an event on Thursday. Finkle takes photographs for the Notebook and many other groups, and this piece talks about his background and some of the issues he's chronicled.

Corner Stores a Threat to City Kids' Waistlines? ABC News
ABC joins the coverage of student health with this piece about corner stores. The article focuses on a study from Philly that found that twice-daily trips to the corner store, which 42 percent of students surveyed make, could add up to an extra 3,500 calories a week.

NxtUp Education: Tonight! Live blogging from the Notebook The Notebook blog
Monday night was the first NxtUp Education event, and the Notebook's first attempt at live blogging. This post has notes from each of the 12 presenters at the event and will be updated to include the PowerPoint slides presented, as they become available.

Breakfast shouldn't be on the principals The Inquirer (opinion)
Chalk and Talk blogger Chris Paslay has this piece that posits breakfast shouldn't be the responsibility of principals, but of parents.

The Other Thirteen Practical Theory blog
Another post from Lehmann, this one reflects on a NY Times article last weekend about the Ted Ginn Academy. It, and other rigorous schools like it such as KIPP and Mastery, get a lot of praise, but Lehmann wonders why we can't be honest about the fact that they don't work for all students--the other thirteen who did not complete Ted Ginn Academy.

NxtUp Education: Tonight! Live blogging from the Notebook

By Anonymous on Oct 12, 2009 05:15 PM

Looking for something to do this evening? Come down to the University of the Arts for the NxtUp Education event. It's from 5:30-8:30 at Broad and Pine (same place as the Notebook's annual event).

It's part of the Design Philadelphia event and the Notebook has an info table. Teacher and Notebook blogger Samuel Reed, III will be presenting as will Philadelphia Student Union, Weavers Way Farm, MYX : Multicultural Youth eXchange, Youth Empowerment Services, and many others.

Check back for updates throughout the event. (Click read more for earlier updates.)

7:48 Miracle a 16yo lyricist from MYX closed with a song from her album.

Notes from the news, Oct. 12

By Anonymous on Oct 12, 2009 12:20 PM

Hope some of you are enjoying the day off! The news from over the weekend:

A good news/bad news education budget The Notebook blog
The budget stalemate finally broke last week and many outlets reported on the boost in education funding found in the budget. This boost is misleading for Philadelphia, which will receive over $160 million less than expected. Read Paul Socolar's piece first for the details on how the budget affects Philly, then check the other coverage.

See also: Budget a boost for Pennsylvania schools The Inquirer
State legislators provide mixed reviews of finally finished budget Philadelphia Business Journal
Central office takes a hit The Notebook blog

Stimulating young minds Daily News (opinion)
ASAP/After School Activities Partnership writes that "we believe after-school enrichment activities can engage young people with mentors who offer positive role models and skills that can last a lifetime."

Editorial: Once again, a child is killed The Inquirer
Violence in and around schools in Chicago prompted a "call to action" from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The Inquirer says "more aggressive action is needed to further reduce the violence and create a better academic setting."

See also: Notebook partner Catalyst Chicago has been closely following the incidents in Chicago.

Charter employs founder's relatives The Inquirer
Another charter school in Philadelphia is under investigation for possible misspending of public money. This piece outlines the salaries of family members of Philadelphia Academy Charter CEO Joseph H. Proietta, who are on the school's payroll.

Behind the scenes, Donna Cooper whirs as Rendell's policy dynamo Daily News
This piece profiles Donna Cooper, Gov. Rendell's secretary for policy and planning. She has a background in education and said that Rendell's emphasis on education is why she works for his administration.

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. Thanks!

A good news/bad news education budget

By Paul Socolar on Oct 10, 2009 02:44 PM

Perhaps you're reading "good news" headlines about education faring well in the state budget agreement and thinking that maybe the talk about a big Philadelphia school funding shortfall was a false alarm. The Rendell administration is touting continued progress toward equitable state funding and preservation of a funding formula.

Central office takes a hit

By Paul Socolar on Oct 9, 2009 06:21 PM

District officials will not comment, but staff from central office departments tell the Notebook that some School District departments have been ordered to make 3 percent budget cuts to address the District's budget gap, estimated to be $160 million or more.

For Latinos, aspirations far exceed attainment

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 9, 2009 04:27 PM

A new study from the Pew Hispanic Center reveals that while most Latino students say a college education is essential for future success, fewer than half of them expect to get a college degree themselves.
 
This "aspirations gap" is more acute among young Latino immigrants than among those who were born here, the study said. Only 29 percent of immigrant Latinos age 18-25 said they planned to get a bachelor's degree, compared to 60 percent of the U.S.-born.
 

The Notebook is looking for freelancers!

By thenotebook on Oct 9, 2009 03:46 PM

Want to work with the Notebook? We're now looking for freelance writers, and we're always looking for interns.

Notes from the news, Oct. 9

By Anonymous on Oct 9, 2009 10:01 AM

Phila. Council begins to reinvent the defunct BRT The Inquirer
City Council has entered the BRT saga, and as promised, changes began on Thursday. But the 80 BRT workers on the District payroll remain a question mark. Last week, Fox 29  had a piece on the BRT.

See also: BRT Workers On School District Payroll Fox 29
Nutter appoints new BRT director WHYY

Teacher campaign takes platform to the mayor The Notebook blog
The Effective Teaching Campaign presented Mayor Nutter with hundreds of postcards supporting their platform that calls for changes in the ways teachers are evaluated and assigned to schools.

Follow the money: Management changes have net cost The Notebook blog
Several changes to District administration were announced this week. Paul Socolar runs down the salary changes and impact on a budget facing a $160 million gap.

2 Catholic high schools to close in Phila. The Inquirer
The schools used to educate thousands of students each year, but their enrollments have dwindled. The announcement elicited a loud reaction from thousands of alumni and supporters.

See also: 'The tradition, the incredible memories' Daily News

Phila schools to give out H1N1 vaccine WHYY
Seeking to avoid school closures due to the flu, the District will give out H1N1 flu vaccines.

See also: Phila. School Nurses Get Swine Flu Vaccination Training KYW

PA Budget Impasse & the Link to Education PhillyIMC
Thursday many groups noted the 100-day mark of the state not having a budget. Children Just For Now Executive Director Viveca Gresham has some ideas on what to do in the face of slashed budgets an unemployment.

Teacher campaign takes platform to the mayor

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 8, 2009 05:44 PM

More than 40 people -- parents, grandparents, students, teachers, and activists -- made a personal plea to Mayor Nutter Thursday to take a proactive role in the ongoing contract negotiations between the School District and the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers.

Members of the Effective Teaching Campaign presented Nutter with hundreds of postcards signed by people who back their platform, which calls for changes in how teachers are evaluated and assigned to schools.

Follow the money: Management changes have net cost

By Paul Socolar on Oct 8, 2009 11:51 AM

Changes in top management at the District include a new chief of staff, Superintendent Ackerman's third in 16 months; a newly created $130,000 position for her former chief of staff; and a chain reaction of shifts to fill vacated positions.

Notes from the news, Oct. 8

By Anonymous on Oct 8, 2009 09:57 AM

Ackerman moves top school leaders around The Inquirer
Changes in the Ackerman administration leadership include a new chief of staff and the creation of a new position.

Breakfast at school now is on the principal The Inquirer
Dale Mezzacappa blogged earlier this year about the wide variation in breakfast participation. Now, principals will be held accountable for their students eating breakfast.

Phila. Joins Other Schools to Observe ''Walk to School Day'' KYW
Wednesday was "Walk to School Day," highlighting the importance of a safe walk to school.

BRT will yield assessment tasks Inquirer
The Nutter administration takes charge of running the Board of Revision of Taxes, but the 80 patronage jobs of BRT clerks on the School District payroll stay put for now.

Jon Lavery: Nuevo director del Lighthouse Al Día
SRC member Johnny Irizarry was director of the Lighthouse, a nonprofit that provides education, recreation, and economic support services in North Philly. He left the position that will now be filled by Jon Lavery who is from Philly, but has lived for the past 20 years in Boston.

Nxt Up Education KYW
On Monday at 6 p.m. at University of the Arts Nxt Up Education will give a presentation. Twelve educators will speak for five minutes each with 20 slides about "
what they are doing to help improve the education of Philly’s young people."

Other news: "Very Hungry Caterpillar" author Eric Carle will be at William Dick Elementary today for an event with Mayor Nutter and Superintendent Ackerman to promote early childhood literacy.

The AFT will announce today that PFT President Jerry T. Jordan will receive AFT Innovation Fund Grants, "which will provide support for students in 10 community schools. "

Notes from the news, Oct. 7

By Anonymous on Oct 7, 2009 10:14 AM

Danny Glover adds voice for school workers Daily News
School cafeteria workers and noontime aides are organizing for better pay, and back pay to be paid at the level of city workers. City Councilman Wilson Goode just introduced a bill asking the SRC to apply the city worker pay level, at least 150% of minimum wage, to cafeteria workers.

State budget stalemate strangling a day-care center The Inquirer
The lack of a state budget continues to strain the resources of child care providers. This piece looks at a center in Bucks County that may have to close if a budget is not approved soon.

See also: Nonprofits go into debt without state funds WHYY
Budget deal mired in delay and confusion WHYY

Nutter comes out swinging on the BRT Young Philly Politics
Mayor Nutter unveiled a plan for the BRT that would bring it onto the city payroll and have the mayor's office make the appointments, rather than political insiders.

See also: Nutter Still Pushing For Unified Effort on Tax Board Reform KYW

Attack PSU blog
Philadelphia Student Union organizer Koby Murphy reflects on his encounter last week with Rev. Al Sharpton. Koby had "
never felt more disrespected and hurt" in his career as an organizer.

Editorial: More time for learning The Inquirer
And, even more support for the longer school day.

Letters: District has not changed its school violence policy The Inquirer
The District's Chief Safety Executive responds to Monday's editorial about school safety.

Hanging on to student work

By Anna Weiss on Oct 6, 2009 08:08 PM

When I was in 7th grade - about the same age that my own students are now - we moved to a new school district. My new junior high, while perfectly serviceable, was not as elite as my previous middle school, and my mother was already nervous for my sister and me. She asked me after the first week how things were going.

"It's okay," I said tentatively. "But I think I'm in the wrong class."
 
"What do you mean?" answered my mom, whirling around in the driver's seat.  

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