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Notes from the news, Mar. 2

By Anonymous on Mar 2, 2010 09:16 AM

From the ugliness at S. Phila. High, a hero emerges The Inquirer
Violet Sutton-Lawson, a South Philly staff member who works with pregnant and parenting teens, was described in the report on South Philly as intervening during violent outbursts.

See also:Phila. Report Details Assaults on Students Education Week (subscription only)

Corrective Reading raising questions The Notebook blog
Teacher blogger Molly Thacker wrote of her concerns with the scripted program.

Should schools be giving out computers? The Inquirer (opinion)
New technologies have been greeted as the saviors for education, but teachers are the only thing that can "save" education.

See also: The Lower Merion School District Paradox Philly School Search blog

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Notes from the news

Notes from the news, Mar. 1

By Anonymous on Mar 1, 2010 09:21 AM

Actor Tony Danza Will Teach at NE High Through June KYW
The SRC extended Danza's contract from just the fall semester to the full school year.

Editorial: Must students pay to play? The Inquirer
Some districts are making students pay more for extracurriculars, but the Inquirer suggests districts explore other options.

Just Like Me A Very Public Education blog
A parent reflects on why she placed her kids in their neighborhood school.

Kinney Center offering after-school classes for children with autism Philadelphia Business Journal

Reunion de padres de familia y abuelos Al Día

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Notes from the news

Corrective Reading raising questions

By Molly Thacker on Feb 28, 2010 05:15 PM

I think if you asked them, most teachers would say that in addition to having their students excel in their studies, they would hope that they also feel empowered. In our daily interactions with students and in our lesson planning, we attempt to validate students’ experiences, affirm their identities and build trust in order to forge authentic relationships that allow us to teach them well. 

Do we fall short some days? Absolutely. But the intent and the purpose of making real connections with students so that they can make real connections with their learning is there. Lately, I have been grappling with finding the intent and purpose behind the Corrective Reading initiative taking place in classrooms all across our city.  

Notes from the news, Feb. 26

By Anonymous on Feb 26, 2010 09:20 AM

On the origin of lawsuits The Notebook blog
Len Rieser wrote about how lawsuits happen and what can sometimes prevent them, in light of "webcamgate."

See also: Laptop family is no stranger to legal disputes The Inquirer

Nutter Defends Decision to Close Phila. Schools Thursday KYW
Nutter says the forecast warranted the closure. Today the streets are snow covered and schools are closed again.

"Highly Qualified Teachers": Who's Paying for It? Philly Teacher blog
Philly Teacher used her snow day to review her grad school loans. To retain her teaching certificate, and continue to be considered "highly qualified," she had to get a Master's degree.

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Notes from the news

On the origin of lawsuits

By Len Rieser on Feb 25, 2010 12:26 PM

Where do big lawsuits come from?

This is the Darwinian question that occurred to me last week when I learned about “webcamgate” (as some Lower Merion students have called it). That’s the situation that has led to a class action complaint in which a student accuses the district of spying on him and others in their homes, through cameras installed in laptops.

Notes from the news, Feb. 25

By Anonymous on Feb 25, 2010 08:38 AM

Phila. schools chief vows action against violence The Inquirer
The police chief, DA, Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, and others supported Superintendent Ackerman as she described what the District will do about school violence.

See also: Teens on school violence: 'Everybody's dying young' Daily News
Ackerman, others vow action on youth violence Philly.com
Mob Mentality City Paper

No resolution on violence at South Philly The Notebook blog
Helen Gym wrote about the "frightening analysis" in the investigation of events in South Philly.

SRC modifies its charter-school policy The Inquirer
The policy allows successful charters to apply to add grades in year three of the five-year charter term, rather than only at renewal.

See also: SRC: Change for charters Daily News

Phila. School District Extends School Year KYW
The last day of school is one day later and two days were removed from spring break.

See also: A snow day [today] — yippee Philly.com

How Do We Best Teach Technology? Philly Teacher blog
A technology teacher reflects on how to teach a subject that should not be taught in isolation.

Why Don't Liberals Really Like Poor Children? A Good Day Teaching blog
A response to the liberal hand-wringing about sending kids to public schools.

Netter Center continues to make strides in Community UC Review

North Central Philly: Tree House Books Helps Youth, Captures “Voice of Philadelphia” Philadelphia Neighborhoods

But Zero Tolerance MAKES no sense! School Stories blog

Philly Teachers Need Anger Management? Philly School Search blog

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Notes from the news

No resolution on violence at South Philly

By Helen Gym on Feb 24, 2010 03:36 PM

It’s hard to look at the findings of the District’s independent investigation into the December 3 violence at South Philadelphia High School without significant shock and outrage. After all, this was an incident in which more than two dozen Asian immigrant students were assaulted throughout the day in multiple attacks, which sent 13 youth to the hospital at a school with a history of violence overall and against Asian immigrant students in particular.

Yet nearly three months after the Dec. 3 violence, we have a report that – while providing some insight – mostly sets us right back where we were before: with glaring discrepancies between accounts of student victims and witnesses and findings that appear to absolve the District of any accountability. The investigation was based on interviews with only a fraction of student victims and witnesses and contains innuendos and reliance on rumors that serve only to distract from the main question: could the school/District have done anything differently to avoid or minimize the attacks?

New blogger: The state of science instruction in the District

By Timothy Boyle on Feb 24, 2010 12:50 PM

Please help us welcome another new blogger to our site. You  may recognize Mr. Boyle from the comments, and now you can read his views on science education every week on the Notebook blog.


Hello, my name is Timothy M. Boyle and I am a science prep teacher in School District of Philadelphia. In my three years in the District I have taught science in grades 1-4. Through professional development workshops I have gotten to know elementary science teachers across the District. Discussions about our struggles and successes have yielded inspiration as well as concern.

Notes from the news, Feb. 24

By Anonymous on Feb 24, 2010 10:12 AM

Report released on racial violence at S. Phila. High The Inquirer
The report detailed the incidents of last December and made a series of recommendations.

See also: A graphic account of South Philly violence The Notebook blog
Fix for violence: Ban on hoodies Metro Philadelphia
Asian group hits report on school fights Daily News
Whitewash in South Philly Attytood

Data, please It's Our Money
City Controller Alan Butkovtiz said the cut-off time for students to use TransPasses should be moved up from 7 p.m. to 4 p.m. to help prevent flash mobs.

See also: Controller want time limit on student SEPTA passes Daily News
City official: Restrict student transit passes
The Inquirer
Phila. Controller Urges Tighter Controls on SEPTA Student Fare Passes KYW
Controller's Pass Idea Fails Daily News (opinion)
Piden restricción a estudiantes en SEPTA Al Día

New teacher contracts in Minn., Conn., Philly support reforms in failing urban schools AP via LA Times
The Renaissance Schools plan is getting more regional and national attention for its turnaround approach.

Philadelphia kicks off campaign to boost college attendance WHYY
PhillyGoes2College.com and an office in City Hall opened yesterday.

See also: Philadelphia Offers One-Stop Shopping for Prospective College Grads KYW

Mantua: West Philadelphia Community Center Enriching Young Minds Philadelphia Neighborhoods

What's A Good Liberal To Do? Len Lipkin and Philly School Search Philly Weekly

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Notes from the news

A graphic account of South Philly violence

By Paul Socolar on Feb 24, 2010 09:41 AM

A retired federal judge's report, released on Tuesday, provides a lurid and troubling, almost blow-by-blow account of the violent attacks on Asian students at South Philadelphia High school on December 3.

The outside investigation by James T. Giles, now of the law firm Pepper Hamilton, was commissioned by the District. His report focuses on a series of violent incidents in and outside the school last December 2 and December 3, but did not attempt to examine the troubled history of Asian and immigrant students at the school prior to these incidents. Nor does it draw a conclusion about which of several versions of the events of December 2 is accurate.

The 37-page report (Click here to download the report in smaller sections.), which concludes with 15 recommendations for the school, was formally presented on Tuesday by Giles, joined by Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, who called on all parties to "move forward."

Some highlights from the report:

Notes from the news, Feb. 23

By Anonymous on Feb 23, 2010 09:27 AM

Report on S. Phila. High violence expected [today] Philly.com
A retired federal judge who was hired to investigate the situation at South Philly will issue his report today.

West Philly community responds to 'Renaissance' label The Notebook blog
About 50 people attended West's community meeting last week. They expressed support of Principal Cruz and her current turnaround efforts.

See also: Questions About Renaissance Schools Philly Weekly

Schools must teach what not to say, too The Inquirer (opinion)
In order to teach kids about free speech the lesson must include "some basic principles of civility."

Letters: Teachers need tools to do their jobs properly The Inquirer
Response from Len Rieser and Kelly Darr to last week's op-ed about students with disabilities and English language learners.

Local Elementary Kids Take Part in Annual Science Fair KYW

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too Philly School Search blog

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Notes from the news

West Philly community responds to 'Renaissance' label

By Eric Braxton on Feb 22, 2010 12:18 PM

Thursday evening I attended the Renaissance Community Meeting at West Philadelphia High School. About 50 people attended. Most of them were parents and community members with a few students and teachers in the mix as well. The message they sent was incredibly unified: our school has already started the turnaround; don’t lose that progress.

Notes from the news, Feb. 22

By Anonymous on Feb 22, 2010 09:21 AM

First lady touts Pa.'s health-food initiative Daily News
Mrs. Obama visited Fairhill Elementary, a Philadelphia public school.

See also: Fairhill visit spotlights healthy eating plan The Notebook blog
The First Lady brings the fight for fresh food to Philly WHYY
First lady takes health message to N. Phila. The Inquirer

Ten win 'Teacher as Hero' awards The Inquirer
One of those winners is Notebook blogger Samuel Reed, III!

'Weighted student funding' - any takers? The Notebook blog
Prinicipals could decide to participate in a weighted student funding pilot program before the entire District moves to the formula in 2011-12.

Karen Heller: City's problems boil down to just one: Poverty The Inquirer
Heller supports Superintendent Ackerman's view that the problems at South Philly and elsewhere are not only for the District to fix.

Esos vatos locos forever! And school racial violence, Somali pirates The Notebook blog
The DREAM ACT, a follow up on a February edition story on school violence, and a song.

Adapting to teen trouble on transit Metro Philadelphia
Thoughts from SEPTA's police chief on managing safety on transit.

See also: Flash Mob, the Gallery and Parenting A Very Public Education blog

Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez Goes on the Record The Frankford Gazette

Actor Tony Danza Supports His Students at SRC Meeting KYW

Sometimes It's the Teacher Who Needs a Hug Philly Teacher blog

Fishtown: Community Theater Brings Children’s Stories to Life Philadelphia Neighborhoods

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Notes from the news

Fairhill visit spotlights healthy eating plan

By Wendy Harris on Feb 20, 2010 05:22 PM

Fairhill Elementary School eighth graders Kendall Barrott and Gregory Leach shifted with excitement in their seats in the school cafeteria as they waited for First Lady Michelle Obama to take the stage.

Obama visited the North Philadelphia school Friday to discuss her “Let’s Move” initiative, a nationwide campaign to prevent childhood obesity. 

'Weighted student funding' - any takers?

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 19, 2010 03:04 PM

When Arlene Ackerman came to Philadelphia, she said right off the bat that she planned to implement something called "weighted student funding." The idea is twofold: allocate resources based on students' academic and other needs, and give all schools more autonomy to make budgeting decisions.

Now she is following through.

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