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'More collaboration. No intimidation.'

By Paul Socolar on Feb 25, 2011 08:25 PM

Braving a bitter wind on Broad Street, a diverse and vocal crowd of hundreds of demonstrators tried to send a message to District officials Friday - they're tired of being excluded from important decisions and angry that they see the District  squelching dialogue about its plans instead of encouraging it.

The protest action at District headquarters Friday follows a series of student walkouts and heated community meetings this month in response to District proposals to radically overhaul 18 schools as part of its Renaissance Schools plan.

New coalition launches campaign to preserve education funding

By Wendy Harris on Feb 25, 2011 06:24 PM

A new local coalition called “Our Students, Our Philly, Our Futurelaunched a campaign at District headquarters Thursday that will call on state legislators to continue investing in public education.

The coalition – now at 12 members, but growing – consists of state representatives, business leaders, parents, clergy, and students, and has several sponsors, including SEPTA, Clear Channel Outdoors, Independence Blue Cross, PRWT Services, Inc., and the School District of Philadelphia.

Teachers, students to rally at District HQ

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 25, 2011 02:39 PM

Hope Moffett's stay in so-called "teacher jail" will be extended til next Wednesday, when she will have a hearing with District officials that could result in a recommendation that she be fired.

But with teachers and students planning to rally at District headquarters this afternoon, Moffett remained adamant that the larger issue is not about the District's reassignment of her and another teacher out of the classroom and into "solitary confinement" in a basement room in a District administrative office.

Germantown hopes for smooth 'Renaissance'

By the Notebook on Feb 25, 2011 12:41 PM

by Bill Hangley, Jr.

In some city schools, the Philadelphia School District’s so-called Renaissance process has been anything but smooth. In recent weeks, students at West Philadelphia, Martin Luther King and Audenried High Schools have walked out in protest of the District’s Renaissance plans.

A teacher at Audenried was reassigned to the District’s “rubber room” because of her role supporting her school’s walkout. An advocate organization has scheduled a rally at District headquarters today to call for an end to “intimidation” of teachers and students who are critical of Renaissance policies.

But if the process has roiled emotions elsewhere in the city, so far the transition has been quiet at Germantown High, and principal Margaret Mullen hopes it stays that way.

This story continues on the NewsWorks website; it is a product of a reporting collaboration between the Notebook and WHYY.

Rally for public education, today at 4

By Guest blogger on Feb 25, 2011 11:27 AM

This guest blog comes from Mary E. Del Savio a former teacher and current graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate school of education.

Today, Friday, February 25 at 4 p.m., when teachers, students, and community members rally at District Headquarters to protest the lack of voice they have been given in the school reform process, I will be in attendance.


Notes from the news, Feb. 25

By Anonymous on Feb 25, 2011 11:02 AM

notes from the news image10 essential questions on school vouchers Daily News (opinion)
Outline of the key questions and issues surrounding the voucher discussion.

See also: DN Editorial: The case against the voucher bill Daily News
Superintendents, School Choice and Budgets PoliticsPA
PENNSYLVANIANS OPPOSED TO VOUCHERS - 17 organizations Keystone State Education Coalition

Coalition fights for Phila. school funding The Inquirer
Former SRC Chair Sandra Dungee Glenn presided over the debut of a new education coalition, Protect Public Education.

See also: Coalition to lobby Harrisburg, seeking to spare Philly schools from funding cuts Daily News

On Day 4 of detention, still not giving up Hope Daily News
Hope Moffett's scheduled "investigatory conference" yesterday was postponed to next week. She remains assigned to the High School Academic Division.

Black students’ sciences scores lagging Philadelphia Tribune
The Nation's Report Card test score results for science show a racial achievement gap and that Philly students are behind other urban districts.

See also: How Philly Ranks On Science Report Card Fox 29

Standing up for teachers, standing up for our schools Young Philly Politics
The rally for education is today at 4 p.m. at 440 N. Broad.

An afterschool experience The Notebook blog
Peak Johnson writes about his experience as a participant and a teacher in Project H.O.M.E.'s afterschool program.

Let Them Do it Their Way Philly Teacher blog
A student's unconventional response to an assignment is an opportunity to rethink doing everything "just like teacher."

Math, History and Marginal Tax Rates Practical Theory blog

Inside Ackerman's gulag Attytood

Student Scientists Show Off Their Skills A Broad View blog

School raises money for equipment after devastating fire Philadelphia Tribune

Stetser Elementary kids provide food to homeless, elderly Philadelphia Tribune

Self-Doubt in the Workplace Making the Grade blog

The Biggest Embarrassment in Philadelphia? West Philly Local

Burglars hit West Philly High Philadelphia Tribune

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

An afterschool experience

By Peak Johnson on Feb 24, 2011 02:58 PM

Sometimes I think of what my life would be like, or how it would have turned out, if I had not attended and ultimately become a teacher assistant with Project H.O.M.E.'s afterschool program, located at the Honickman Learning Center and Comcast Technology Labs.

Notes from the news, Feb. 24

By Anonymous on Feb 24, 2011 11:11 AM

notes from the news imageThe Biggest Embarrassment in Philadelphia The Philly Post
In the past two weeks, students walked out of West Philly High, a program that placed Penn students as tutors at the school withdrew, and 60 computers were stolen from the school.

See also: Thieves steal 60 computers from Phila. high school
60 Computers Stolen From High School Fox 29
West Philly High—Up for another Makeover UC Review

District allegation against Moffett: 'Endangering safety and welfare of children' The Notebook blog
Exiled Audenried teacher Hope Moffett received a letter explaining more about why she is being disciplined and to schedule a hearing.

See also: Teacher sent to 'solitary confinement' after ripping school district Daily News
No talking out of school Daily News
A tale of two free-speaking teachers Attytood
Fighting For A High School Community's Right To Be Heard The Huffington Post
Letters: What's really going on with the Audenried High School transformation in Philadelphia? Daily News

TalkChalk: In education, “If you take the approach that Facebook is evil, you will lose,” says David Simnick Technically Philly
Simnick is a teacher at Young Scholars Charter School and TalkChalk is a platform to help turn social media into an educational tool.

Pennsylvania auditor general won't probe no-bid contract flap The Inquirer
The auditor general said he's not pursuing the no-bid contract allegations against the District because he "has reason to believe" that two other government agencies are investigating the issue.

Mastery ascends to national stage The Notebook blog
This piece was originally published by Politics Daily and was produced by the Notebook with support from The Hechinger Report.

Dr. Ackerman Honored By Peers With The Effie H. Jones Humanitarian Award UC Review
Ackerman received the award from the American Association of School Administrators.

ACTION United meets with top District staff The Notebook blog
Ackerman was unable to attend a scheduled meeting with ACTION United's parent organizers, but the organizers did meet with other staff and rescheduled a time to meet with Ackerman.

Notes from the field-“We will NOT be intimidated!”  City School Stories
A rally for public education is scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m. at 440 N. Broad.

Philadelphia School District backs out of contract for $1.1 million applicant-tracking system The Inquirer

Questions, Curiosities, Concerns Surrounding Germantown High's Changing Status Chestnut Hill Patch

Education Law Center's Position on SB1 Keystone State Education Coalition

JROTC Competition Displays Discipline, Determination A Broad View blog

Teachers May Be Souring On Career Fox 29

Teens Worldwide Use the Web to Connect A Broad View 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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Notes from the news

ACTION United meets with top District staff

By Deborah Russell... on Feb 23, 2011 06:46 PM

Who was it that said the joke about pit bulls and hockey moms?

Oh, right.

Well, how about asking what's the difference between pit bulls and Philly parents? On Feb. 4 you would have had to say "nothing."

District allegation against Moffett: 'Endangering safety and welfare of children'

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 23, 2011 05:50 PM

The District has informed Audenried High teacher Hope Moffett that an investigatory conference has been scheduled to discuss “the role [she is] alleged to have played in endangering the safety and welfare of children,” as well as her disclosure of an official document in defiance of a gag order.

Mastery ascends to national stage

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 23, 2011 05:02 PM

This story on Mastery's emerging national role in the school turnaround movement was produced in partnership with The Hechinger Report and was published on the website Politics Daily.

On the first day of school last fall at Smedley Elementary in Philadelphia, Principal Brian McLaughlin assembled students in the sweltering cafeteria and pointed to a picture of a giant eraser projected onto a screen.

"I want you to think of all the things from last year that you may not have liked," McLaughlin said. "We're going to erase those right now."

Notes from the news, Feb. 23

By Anonymous on Feb 23, 2011 11:00 AM

notes from the news imageMastery Charter 'Restarts' Philadelphia's Struggling Smedley Public School Politics Daily
This piece was written by Benjamin Herold for the Hechinger Report to help a national audience learn more about Mastery's school turnaround approach.

Philadelphia schools say voucher bill could cost them millions The Inquirer
District officials spoke at a voucher hearing in Philly on Tuesday and said vouchers could cost the District $40 million in state funding.

See also: School Voucher Debate Heats Up Today Fox 29
Daily Voucher Update Keystone State Education Coalition

Houston Elementary promotes active learning Philadelphia Tribune
This week's Learning Key includes a profile of Houston, info about "Yellow Vests" safety volunteers at Kelley, a piece about inspiring visitors at Dunbar, and more.

See also: Parent volunteers help keep Kelley Elementary safe Philadelphia Tribune
Authors inspire Dunbar Elementary students Philadelphia Tribune
Scripps spelling bee puts students’ talents to the test Philadelphia Tribune

Report cards for charters go public The Notebook blog
This piece about the new School Performance Index ratings for charter schools was produced in partnership with WHYY/NewsWorks.

70.000 pupitres vacíos: ¿Dónde están? Al Día
You can now find some Notebook articles in Al Día.

See also: Algunas escuelas experimentan un renacer Al Día

City-Wide Philadelphia Kindergarten Open Houses Next Week  Philly School Search

Council Gets Preview Of Bullying Report Fox 29

Enjoying Language Practical Theory blog

Fairhill: A ‘New Creation’ Sparks Pride in Community Philadelphia Neighborhoods

Poverty Level at 144 SB1 Schools is 80.8% vs State Avg of 39.1% Keystone State Education Coalition

After fire, charter school asks for re-enrollments The Inquirer

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

Report cards for charters go public

By the Notebook on Feb 22, 2011 06:30 PM

by Patrick Cobbs

A moment charter schools in Philadelphia have been dreading arrived last Wednesday when District officials made their first public presentation of a school rating system many charters think is a mess.

It’s called the School Performance Index (SPI), and the District has used a version of it to decide which low-performing traditional schools should be restructured under Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's Imagine 2014 program.

The District has been working on a similar measure comparing charter schools and public schools since August, which it says will be used to determine charter renewals and expansion requests.

But this process has been a rocky road.

This story continues on the NewsWorks website; it is a product of a reporting collaboration between the Notebook and WHYY.

Notes from the news, Feb. 22

By Anonymous on Feb 22, 2011 10:58 AM

notes from the news imagePhiladelphia Schools Close For Tuesday Fox 29
Enjoy the day off and be safe in the snow.

Who says the new Audenried High School in Philadelphia needs to be 'fixed'? Daily News (opinion)
This op-ed was written by Hope Moffett, an Audenried teacher who has since been reassigned, and other Audenried teachers. A version of it originally appeared as a guest blog post on the Notebook blog.

Teachers and the First Amendment The Notebook blog
Teachers do have First Amendment rights, but they aren't absolute. This piece looks at a few of the cases that inform this complex legal area.

Bill To Seek Pa. Superintendent Pay Cap Fox 29
State Rep. Michael McGeehan says he plans to propose a bill that would cap school superintendent's salaries at no more than the governor's salary.

Some 8th District candidates square off in first forum WHYY/NewsWorks
Education is a big issue for the city council candidates.

Notes from the Field-Wisconsin Attack On Educators And Other Public Workers Inspires A Tale of Two Teachers City School Stories
A Philly teacher describes her path to teaching and how it relates to the situation for public workers in Wisconsin.

CSSP withdraws from West Philadelphia High The Daily Pennsylvanian
The University of Pennsylvania tutoring program will no longer send students to tutor at West Philly High.

Recovery School District's Paul Vallas to help overhaul schools in Chile
The former Philly schools CEO will serve as a consultant to help turnaround low performing schools in Chile.

Green Woods Charter Limbo Philly School Search
Green Woods Charter is in limbo both in terms of a proposed increase to its enrollment and its plans to change locations.

See also: Neighbors hear plans for Charter School, question traffic impact Chestnut Hill Local

Inquirer Editorial: Making college affordable The Inquirer

Unruly students actually deserve a good blogging Daily News (opinion)

I, Too, Am a Professional Making the Grade blog

Report Cards and Effort A Very Public Education 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.

Click here to get Notes from the news in your inbox every day.

Notes from the news

Teachers and the First Amendment

By Len Rieser on Feb 21, 2011 02:32 PM

I don’t know exactly what Ms. Moffett - the Audenried teacher whose disciplinary transfer Ben Herold described in two recent stories - said or did. Plus, I’m not an employment lawyer. So I can't really speak to her legal situation. 

I do know, though, that public employees, such as teachers, have First Amendment rights – even if, as in many areas, those rights are not absolute.

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