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Something that can be said for districts

By Len Rieser on Feb 11, 2010 12:09 PM

To the blizzard (oh, just a word that came to mind) of questions being asked on these pages about the Renaissance School plan, I’d like to add a legal worry. It has to do with the enthusiasm for spinning schools off to become charters or “contract” schools, operated by private managers. 

One can say lots of justifiably critical things about school districts, and about this one in particular. But to those who believe the response to failures by this (or any) school district should be to remove schools from its control, I suggest some caution.

Snow day on Feb. 10+11, and Friday too

By the Notebook on Feb 11, 2010 11:44 AM

UPDATE: Schools and administrative and regional offices will be closed Friday, Febraury 12 as well.

Notes from the news, Feb. 11

By Anonymous on Feb 11, 2010 10:14 AM

Editorial: Rendell's last round The Inquirer
Education is the "centerpiece" of Rendell's final budget, but his "generous" increase in spending "should be offset with cuts elsewhere."

What would make 'Innovation' a real option The Notebook blog
Ron Whitehorne suggested adjustments to the Innovation model that would better allow teacher and principal teams to turn around schools.

A Student Speaks Out Philly Education Justice blog
A PSU member from University City HS reflected on its status as an Empowerment, and now Renaissance Eligible school.

Ronnie Polaneczky: This weather got you down? It's all good, & that's snow lie Daily News
School's closed again so the "kids at South Philly High aren't getting bullied" today.

What you have to say about Ren. Schools The Notebook blog

More Scripts A Good Day Teaching blog

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What would make 'Innovation' a real option

By Ron Whitehorne on Feb 10, 2010 12:53 PM

Innovation schools would seem to be the best of the four Renaissance school models. These schools would be run by teams – a principal and a group of teachers for example with a “track record of success.” Staff would be School District employees and PFT members. The Innovation model has the potential to develop the District’s capacity to do school turnaround itself rather than turn over this task to charter or private management.  

But as Eric Braxton points out, a closer examination of the model raises a whole series of problems.

What you have to say about Ren. Schools

By Anonymous on Feb 10, 2010 11:20 AM

Thanks again for all of your comments and for your readership. Our coverage of Renaissance Schools has generated exactly the kind of discussion we are trying to promote on our site.

Here are some highlights: 

Notes from the news, Feb. 10

By Anonymous on Feb 10, 2010 10:17 AM

Rendell budget calls for $354 million more for schools Daily News
The District is grateful for another state funding boost and chief business officer Michael Masch is optimistic that the Legislature will pass the budget on time this year.

See also: Again, Rendell budget raises education spending The Inquirer
Rendell: Boost education funding a 3rd time The Notebook blog

Snow day on Feb. 10 The Notebook blog
This week's Renaissance Schools community meetings have also been canceled and rescheduled for next week.

Poll: Nutter's job-approval rating up to 53% The Inquirer
Philadelphians were also polled about Superintendent Ackerman, and 51% had no opinion, 29% approved of her work, and 20% disapproved.

Problems with Innovation model The Notebook blog
The Innovation model allows successful teams to turn around their own schools, but they would still have to fire at least half of the current teachers.

Philadelphia School Responds To Racial Attacks Here & Now
Radio interview with Inquirer writer Jeff Gammage about the situation at South Philly High.

Hey, parents and guardians! The Notebook blog
We're holding a focus group next Tuesday for longtime readers who are parents and guardians. $50 honorarium for all participants, and further details are on the blog.

Science Leadership Academy: A new model for schools Technically Philly
A profile and video of the District school affiliated with the Franklin Institute.

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Rendell: Boost education funding a 3rd time

By Paul Socolar on Feb 10, 2010 12:08 AM

Advocates for school funding are mostly cheering Tuesday's budget news from Harrisburg. Despite a tight fiscal situation, Gov.

Problems with Innovation model

By Eric Braxton on Feb 9, 2010 01:54 PM

The Innovation School model was one part of the Renaissance Schools plan that I thought might offer a real way for teachers, students, parents, and community members to come together and create plans to transform their schools together.

I thought this could be a great way to show that with the right resources and flexibility, public schools, with public school teachers can really work. Unfortunately, after reading the plan more carefully, I am not sure that that opportunity exists. 

Hey, parents and guardians!

By the Notebook on Feb 9, 2010 12:18 PM

Are you a long-time reader of the Notebook? If so, would you like to join us next Tuesday, Feb. 16 for a focus group? Participants will receive a $50 honorarium.

Notes from the news, Feb. 9

By Anonymous on Feb 9, 2010 09:37 AM

Phila. schools open [today]; make up days ahead The Inquirer
Schools are open today, but the make up days have not yet been scheduled.

Renaissance community meetings postponed The Notebook blog
With more snow forecasted for today, some and perhaps all of this week's meetings will be rescheduled.

Letters: For schools, new teacher contract is just the start Daily News
Letter from Education Voters PA Director Susan Gobreski.

Late education professor leaves long legacy The Temple News
Dr. Snelbecker will be honored with a scholarship in his name.

Elizabethan English and Education for Liberation PSU blog
 

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Renaissance community meetings postponed

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 8, 2010 05:42 PM

Due to the bad weather, some, and perhaps all, of the community meetings scheduled for this week at Renaissance Eligible schools will be postponed.

UPDATE: All community meetings have been cancelled. The meetings have been rescheduled for next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Notes from the news, Feb. 8

By Anonymous on Feb 8, 2010 10:06 AM

Philly Schools Closed Monday NBC Philadelphia
Enjoy the day off. Good luck digging out!

Pa. bill would expand overhaul of schools The Inquirer
It would not affect Philadelphia, but would expand outside management in struggling districts throughout the state.

Former charter school administrator files whistleblower suit The Inquirer
The former Philadelphia Academy Charter School employee says she was improperly fired.

Ackerman excited about Promise Academies The Notebook blog
Promise Academies are Renaissance Schools that would be managed out of Ackerman's office.

The Next Steps: A Campaign to End Violence in Our Schools Philadelphia Education Justice blog
Next step is the announcement of a campaign at Wednesday's SRC meeting.

Phila. Public Schools Train Science Professionals to Teach KYW

Struggles at School of the Future The Notebook blog

EduCon 2.2 Reflections - What Do You Think? Practical Theory blog

I Love This Job: A Follow Up Philly Teacher blog

More On Language Immersion Philly School Search blog

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Struggles at School of the Future

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 5, 2010 06:18 PM

Starting a little more than a year ago, I got involved in a project sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute to compile a book about Philadelphia's School of the Future, the partnership between Microsoft and the District to create a new kind of urban high school.

My article adapted from the work done for the book by me and others has just been posted on the website of Education Next.

Ackerman excited about Promise Academies

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 5, 2010 05:33 PM

One of the options in the Renaissance Schools process is the so-called Promise Academy, which will be a "turnaround" school under the direct control of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, or a team of staff in her office.

While that might seem like a contradiction in terms - how can it be "turnaround" if the same people running the District are running this school - it isn't, according to the way officials describe it.

Notes from the news, Feb. 5

By Anonymous on Feb 5, 2010 10:04 AM

Can a Renaissance happen without the community? Notebook NEWSFLASH
The Renaissance Schools plan relies on community involvement, but at a recent school meeting, not many parents showed up.

School district looking for support-service applicants Daily News
Support applicants for Renaissance Schools do not need to have experience running a school.

Telling it like it is South Philly Review
Report on last week's hearing on school violence.

See also: Tepid response to attacks against Asians is nothing new The Notebook
The Other Way to Respond to School Violence Young Philly Politics blog

Breakfast at Meade - Inside a Renaissance Alert School The Notebook blog
Ron Whitehorne found that Meade is "not a failing school" in spite of being on the list of lowest-performers.

Hey Council! School news you need to know Young Philly Politics blog
Helen Gym rounded up the recent news on Renaissance Schools, school choice, class size, and other developments.

Activists target motel across from school The Inquirer

Using Drop.io in the Classroom Philly Teacher blog

How Many People Remember the Story of Derrion Albert? Another Reason "turnaound schools" Might be a Bad Idea... Philly Teacher Talks blog

Thinking About School Choice Long Term Philly School Search blog

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