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Mastery's big gamble set to pay off

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 14, 2011 06:42 PM

The School Advisory Councils (SACs) at Simon Gratz High and George Clymer Elementary schools have both recommended that Mastery Charter be selected as their “turnaround team” for next year, according to multiple sources.

School-specific data related to closing decisions obtained

By Celeste Lavin on Mar 14, 2011 01:49 PM

[Updated with statement from the District and more data highlights]

A document obtained by the Notebook gives the first hint as to which schools might be candidates for closing under the District’s Facilities Master Plan

With a study showing that it is carrying 70,000 empty seats in its nearly 300 buildings, the District has been working on a comprehensive plan to “rightsize” its physical plant by closing, consolidating, and co-locating schools. But it has yet to share any school-specific data about closings, even though it has held two series of public meetings.

After the posting of this story, the District issued a strongly-worded statement objecting to the decision to publish the document.  

Once again, the District proves it is its own worst enemy

By Helen Gym on Mar 14, 2011 12:49 PM

The School District’s jaw-dropping decision to terminate Audenried teacher Hope Moffett is just another example of the polarizing style that defines this administration. Whether it’s handling an outspoken young teacher, racial violence at South Philadelphia High School, or parents who disagreed with turnaround policies at West Philadelphia High School, the District has shown the lengths it will go to make a point and its willingness to sacrifice its moral authority to do so. 

But with a political and economic climate that's just waiting for excuses to underfund schools, has this administration's leadership failures become a liability to itself and the city? 

Notes from the news, Mar. 14

By Anonymous on Mar 14, 2011 09:56 AM

notes from the news imageRally targets Corbett's education cuts Daily News
Nearly a hundred people attended a rally at District headquarters Friday afternoon.

See also: Activists rally against school cuts Philadelphia Tribune

Philadelphia school's students and parents urge new managers to keep faculty The Inquirer
At a community meeting at Audenried on Saturday, Universal reiterated its plans for the school, and parents and students responded with their concerns.

See also: Universal makes its case on Audenried The Notebook blog
District: Audenried plan doesn't need SRC approval 'because it's different' The Notebook blog
Moffett, student take on district's data The Hall Monitor blog

Free speech suit over Philly teacher's firing spotlights emotions surrounding failing schools AP via The Republic
Hope Moffett's story brings up issues surrounding the national effort to turn around failing schools.

See also: School Plans to Fire Teacher for Talking Courthouse News Service
Free speech suit fights Philly teacher's firing 6 ABC

Support schools to boost recovery The Inquirer (opinion)
Philadelphia Education Fund Executive Director Carol Fixman describes the positive results of investments in education.

See also: Inquirer Editorial: Some cuts aren't smart The Inquirer
Letters: State-related schools are economic engines The Inquirer
Karen Heller: Corbett's budget cuts almost everything but prisons The Inquirer
Budgeting away our children’s future Education Voters PA

How far can schools go in regulating teachers' social-media use? The Inquirer
Local educators who blog discuss how writing affects their work.

Philly Councilwoman Blackwell to hold hearing on school prayer The Inquirer
Council passed a resolution Blackwell had introduced to hold the hearings.

See also: Philadelphia Councilwoman Wants Prayer Allowed In Schools CBS Philly

Structured recess is paying off in the classroom The Inquirer

Anti-Bullying Seminar Held At School In South Philadelphia CBS Philly

Mighty Writers hopes to fund documentary on radio influences South Philly Review

Voucher and budget news roundup Keystone State Education Coalition

A Winning Formula: Science Fair Awards! 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

Universal makes its case on Audenried

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 13, 2011 08:34 AM

Almost two months after the School District first announced its plans to convert Audenried High School into a charter, Universal Companies President and CEO Abdur-Rahim Islam finally got to share his vision Saturday for how Universal intends to overhaul the school.

District: Audenried plan doesn't need SRC approval 'because it's different'

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 11, 2011 10:59 AM

Although the District intends to convert eight public schools to charters managed by outside “turnaround teams,” it will ask the School Reform Commission to publicly approve the suitability of the provider matches for only six of the schools.

District officials confirmed Wednesday that plans to hand over two so-called "Promise Neighborhood Partnership schools," Audenried High and Edwin Vare Middle School, to Universal Companies will not be voted on at the March 16 SRC meeting.

Notes from the news, Mar. 11

By Anonymous on Mar 11, 2011 10:51 AM

notes from the news imagePFT: District action against Hope Moffett is all about intimidation The Notebook blog
The PFT is taking the District to federal court over the fast-tracked firing of Moffett.

See also: Union: District's actions against Hope violate all teachers' rights Daily News
Hope Moffett firing on hold for now The Inquirer
Proceedings against Moffett delayed after PFT goes to federal court The Notebook blog
Inquirer Editorial: Teacher told to hush The Inquirer
Philadelphia Teachers’ Union Asks Court To Block Firing Of ‘Rubber Room’ Teacher CBS 3
Annette John-Hall: Another public-relations problem for Ackerman The Inquirer

House bill would allow non-seniority teacher layoffs The Inquirer
The bill would allow districts to decide which teachers to let go. The changes would take effect when current union contracts expire.

Hardy Williams Academy joins Mastery Charter Schools network The Inquirer
The school, which was begun by State Sen. Anthony Williams, has struggled and will now be managed by Mastery.

See also: Mastery to take over Hardy Williams Charter The Notebook blog

Addressing the District deficit The Notebook blog
Former District administrator James "Torch" Lytle gives more details on what the budget deficit will mean for the District.

See also: Elmer Smith: Dear Guv: Consider the cost of education cuts Daily News
DN Editorial: Is Corbett declaring war on education? Daily News
Tell Us: Budget Saving Ideas A Broad View blog
Community Budget Meetings A Broad View blog
PENNSYLVANIA EDUCATION POLICY FORUM in Philadelphia Thursday, March 24, 2011 Keystone State Education Coalition

Thursday's intriguing people CNN
One of those people is Duong Nghe Ly, the South Philly High student who was at the White House yesterday.

Kings's choice WHYY/NewsWorks
The King High School Advisory Council must decide on a provider recommendation this week.

Phila. schools' snow days to be made up in June The Inquirer
The last day for students is now June 21, and it is June 22 for teachers.

See also: Make-up days for schools Daily News

Letters: 'Outrage' flees public schools Daily News

Could School District Cut Its Central Office Staff By 30 Percent? Mt. Airy Patch

Teens admit stealing school computers The Inquirer

Two Moms Get Charter Lottery Results Fox 29

West Philly polo players ride high WHYY/NewsWorks

A Tool of Observation Making the Grade 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

Mastery to take over Hardy Williams Charter

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 11, 2011 01:38 AM

Starting next school year, the Hardy Williams Academy Charter School (HWACS) in West Philadelphia will become part of the Mastery Charter School network.

PFT: District action against Hope Moffett is all about intimidation

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 11, 2011 12:18 AM

The fast-tracked firing of Philadelphia high school teacher Hope Moffett has been put on hold after the teachers’ union went to federal court Thursday claiming that she is being targeted for speaking out against a plan to convert her school to a charter.

King SAC deliberating on management

By the Notebook on Mar 10, 2011 09:29 PM

By Bill Hangley, Jr.

This week, all six schools in the Philadelphia School District’s so-called “Renaissance Match” program must make tough decisions about their future. But the choice faced by Martin Luther King High is unique: The known, or the unknown?

The known in this case is Foundations Inc, a nonprofit based in New Jersey that’s helped manage programs at King since 2003. The unknown is Mosaica Education, an international for-profit company based in Atlanta that has run schools from the Midwest to the Middle East, but never in Philadelphia.

By the end of the week, King’s School Advisory Council (SAC) must vote to recommend one of the two to run King next year. The recommendation won’t be binding, but Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has promised to factor all SACs’ preferences into her own deliberations before she delivers her recommendations to the School Reform Commission on March 16.

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

Proceedings against Moffett delayed after PFT goes to federal court

By Dale Mezzacappa on Mar 10, 2011 02:56 PM

Update: Proceedings that could lead to Hope Moffett's dismissal are delayed until a hearing on the PFT's request for a permanent injunction.

The District issued a statement saying:

Addressing the District deficit

By Guest blogger on Mar 10, 2011 02:01 PM

This guest blog comes from from James H. Lytle, professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education (GSE) and former School District administrator.

The School District of Philadelphia has acknowledged a potential shortfall in its  2011-12 fiscal year budget approaching $500 million. The looming question is how the District intends to deal with this challenge. My impression, based on discussions with various informed and semi-informed individuals, is that there is no adequate plan at this point.

Notes from the news, Mar. 10

By Anonymous on Mar 10, 2011 11:06 AM

notes from the news imagePhilly bears brunt of school cuts The Notebook blog
The District is now estimating the total budget gap to be $465 million.

See also: Phila. schools: layoffs coming The Inquirer
Philadelphia School District announces central staff job cuts WHYY/NewsWorks
PSD: Corbett Budget Would Cost $292M Fox 29
Facing huge budget shortfall, district to cut 240 administration jobs The Inquirer
District exploring all options to cover budget gap Daily News
Budget Cuts Mean More Unpaid Furlough Days At Philadelphia School District CBS 3
District staff to take more unpaid days in light of budget woes The Hall Monitor blog
Actually, Governor’s Budget Supports Charters Philly School Search

Opinion: Three big lies in Corbett's budget address  It's Our Money

Hope Moffett, others challenge school's stats at district meeting Daily News
The speakers challenged the stats about Audenried High and the continuation of plans to turn it over to Universal Companies as a charter.

See also: Superintendent, Audenried student square off at SRC The Notebook blog
DISTRICT DRAMA: Moffett Causes Tension At School Reform Meeting PhillyNow blog
Notes from the Field-Public Skepticism Over Use Of Audenried Student Performance Data City School Stories
Hope Moffett takes on the School District of Philadelphia South Philly Review

Olney students protest charter plans The Inquirer
Teachers, students, and community members at both Olney East and West protested the Renaissance Schools plans for turnaround of the schools.

Online teaching tool: Dialogue on stopping bullying in schools The Notebook blog
South Philly High student Duong Nghe Ly will be at the White House today for a dialogue about bullying. The event will be streamed online.

SRC to vote on Renaissance charter matches March 16 The Notebook blog
The SRC will vote on which providers will turnaround the eight Renaissance "Match" schools next week.

Dr. Ackerman Does the Michael Baisden Show A Broad View blog
Ackerman spoke about teachers and parents.

How Importent is Edukation? Metropolis

At Your Service: Volunteers Give Back A Broad View blog

Impact of Cuts? Keystone State Education Coalition

EPA Recognizes Philadelphia School District with a National Great Start Award EPA News Releases

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

Superintendent, Audenried student square off at SRC

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 10, 2011 12:25 AM

Despite strong opposition from some students and staff at Audenried High School, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman is resolute in her conviction that the District should move ahead with its plans to convert the school to a charter.

SRC to vote on Renaissance charter matches March 16

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 9, 2011 05:03 PM

The School District is moving apace with its plans to match eight new Renaissance schools with outside managers, despite concerns about the clarity, transparency, and speed of the process.

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