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Special education supports are popular school service

By Deborah Russell... on Feb 4, 2011 02:47 PM

The Notebook's February edition covers the facilities master plan and how the District will deal with excess capacity and aging facilities. The Eye on Special Education article looks at the impact that facilities planning may have on learning support programs. I gathered some additional info on the programs the District currently offers, and how parents feel about those programs.

Notes from the news, Feb. 4

By Anonymous on Feb 4, 2011 11:01 AM

notes from the news imageMeetings on possible closings start [Thursday] The Notebook blog
The second round of community meetings to discusses the facilities master plan began at Germantown High School. Meetings will be held throughout the city.

Daryl Gale: School vouchers rise from the grave Philadelphia Tribune (opinion)
We cannot ignore the voucher debate, "Because this time, folks, they’re serious."

See also: Sen. Anthony Williams renews call for school choice Philadelphia Tribune
Round Table: School Choice -- The Fight for Equality Jewish Exponent

Pennsylvania schools could lose $1 billion Patriot-News
Gov. Corbett ordered a freeze of state funding, and that affects $337 million of state funding for education. The state plans to offest the freeze with one-time funds.

Inquirer Editorial: Is it ever right to segregate? The Inquirer
A Lancaster high school tried to bridge a racial achievement gap by putting Black boys and Black girls in separate homerooms from the rest of the students.

Studies take aim at playground gossip Education Week via The Notebook blog
Studies find that playground gossip may play a large role in bullying.

Letters: Time to update the laws governing Pa. charters The Inquirer
State Sen. Piccola, head of the education committee, discusses a bill before the committee to change state rules for charters.

Audenried back on city hoops scene The Inquirer
Tina Higgins, the boys' basketball coach, discusses how the school has changed.

PFT prez sets the record straight on school conversions The Hall Monitor blog

The Color of Science: An Evening with Prominent African-American Scientists A Broad View blog

A mentoring success story Philadelphia Business Journal

SLA, 3i, Finding Common Ground and Looking Backward to Go Forward. Practical Theory blog

Slain Roxborough student laid to rest WHYY/NewsWorks

Is rote learning getting an undeserved bad rap? The Hall Monitor blog

Tiger Moms, the model minority stereotype and the impact on Asian youth in schools Young Philly Politics

AEJ Northeast Regional Conviening. Philadelphia Student Union 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

Meetings on possible closings start tonight

By Dale Mezzacappa on Feb 3, 2011 05:01 PM

After two weather cancellations, the School District will finally launch its second round of community meetings tonight to discuss its Facilities Master Plan.

The meeting, at Germantown High School, begins with registration at 5:30. The meeting will start at 6 p.m.

Studies take aim at playground gossip

By the Notebook on Feb 3, 2011 02:37 PM

The Notebook began sharing content with Education Week last month. A few Notebook stories have been republished on the Education Week site, and we will be republishing Education Week articles on the Notebook site as well - here's the first. Please let us know if you see any Education Week stories you think would be of interest to other Notebook readers.

Education Week logo

by Sarah D. Sparks

Gossip and social ostracization may come far down on the list of concerns for educators trying to prevent bullying, yet emerging research suggests relational bullying, though often the most frequently overlooked, may hold the key to changing an aggressive culture in schools.

Notes from the news, Feb. 3

By Anonymous on Feb 3, 2011 10:57 AM

notes from the news imageFinally, it's closing time The Notebook
The Notebook's February edition focuses on school facilities. With declining enrollment and 70,000 empty seats, it is likely that some schools will be closed.

Study: Students need more paths to career success Philadelphia Tribune
Ed. Sec. Arne Duncan called career and technical education "the neglected stepchild of education reform."

See also: A U.S. education report urges: Learn from Europe AP via

70,000 vacant seats: A convenient truth? The Notebook blog
Frank Murphy uses Meade Elementary School as an example of a school that on paper had empty seats, but in reality used all of its space for a variety of purposes.

Sen. Williams Named Democratic Whip Keystone State Education Coalition
Sen. Williams now holds the second highest leadership position for a Democrat in the state Senate.

Black authors and illustrators tell students what it takes to be creative The Hall Monitor blog

Post EduCon Dialogue with Ira Socol Practical Theory blog

Notes from the field-Are We Really Empowering Our Students? City School Stories

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

70,000 vacant seats: A convenient truth?

By Frank Murphy on Feb 2, 2011 02:18 PM

During its recent January planning meeting, District staffers presented a preliminary facilities usage report to the School Reform Commission. At this time, the SRC was informed that there are 70,000 vacant seats in the District’s schools. This was almost double the number quoted in an earlier report. In their PowerPoint presentation, staffers portrayed excess space in District schools as being greater than the number of seats in Lincoln Financial Field.

The staffers’ use of the term “vacant seats” to describe underutilized space is an interesting choice of words. Even more intriguing is how they compared this number to the amount of seating available at a football stadium.

Notes from the news, Feb. 2

By Anonymous on Feb 2, 2011 10:43 AM

notes from the news imageNote: is making some changes to its website that impact how I compile these links. I may miss some articles until I get used to their changes. Please let me know if you see anything missing. Thanks to Shelly Yanoff for pointing out the voucher coverage from yesterday. And now back to your news roundup...

Reasserting the right to high-quality schools The Inquirer (opinion)
State Sen. Anthony Williams says vouchers won't affect successful schools, but will force failing schools to "compete or dissolve." A second op-ed says the bill is too narrow to get popular support because it only helps low-income families.

See also: Voucher bill has fatal flaws The Inquirer (opinion)
Letters: Vouchers that help some shouldn't punish others The Inquirer
Elmer Smith: School-voucher plans can't be vouched for Daily News
Questions about vouchers your legislators should be asking Keystone State Education Coalition
School choice gains widespread momentum The Inquirer

The state of American education: The era of 'Obama-cation' The Notebook blog
A current TFA teacher reflects on last week's forum and the Obama administration's approach to education.

Nebinger Elementary keeps students engaged Philadelphia Tribune
This week's learning key includes a profile of Nebinger, pieces on community service at Vare and Muñoz-Marin, and a list of dates for community meetings about the facilities master plan.

See also: Vare students lend helping hands on MLK Day Philadelphia Tribune
Sixth-grader Deana Vega supports leukemia events
Philadelphia Tribune
School district to hold several community meetings Philadelphia Tribune

At 18 Renaissance schools, future holds hope and trepidation The Inquirer
The Renaissance Schools face turnaround aimed at improving failing schools.

In case you missed it: Ohio mom, 'Superman,' science The Notebook blog
Some have called the case of an Ohio mom jailed for falsifying records to send her kids to an out-of-district school a "Rosa Parks moment."

HIGHER ED: What Price Knowledge? Phawker
A look at the activism in the United Kingdom in response to college tuition hikes.

Educon 2.3 Takeaways Philly Teacher blog
Philly teacher summarizes her takeaways from several sessions and the EduCon overall.

Study finds a fair number of slackers on campus The Inquirer

What to Ask When Visiting a School Philly School Search

I Told You So Philly Teacher blog

School bus, SEPTA bus collide in South Philly WHYY/NewsWorks 

Teachers are Forever? Making the Grade blog

A pesar de tormenta alumnos sí asistirán a clases Al Día

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

In case you missed it: Ohio mom, 'Superman,' science

By Lauren Goldman on Feb 1, 2011 05:38 PM

'A Rosa Parks moment for education' The Washington Post (opinion)
A mother in Ohio was sent to prison and convicted of a felony for falisfying records to send her daughters to a different school district than where the family lived.

See also: School as Gated Community The Core Knowledge blog
Faked Address: Duncan Weighs In, Superintendent Responds This Week in Education
Coard’s group petitioning for Ohio mother’s pardon
Philadelphia Tribune

The state of American education: The era of 'Obama-cation'

By Guest blogger on Feb 1, 2011 02:01 PM

This week's guest blog comes from Hernandez D. Stroud, an African American male Teach for America  teacher, who was present at last week's forum on educating men of color in education.

“What we need are teachers who don’t make excuses,” said Philadelphia Superintendent Arlene Ackerman. “I don’t want to hear about bureaucracy. We have always had bureaucracies…We are looking for people who say ‘I can teach a rock to read.’…If it is not the right place for you, then you should find another place to go.”

Attending a panel discussion at the University of Pennsylvania on how to improve the educational outcomes of men of color, I was stunned in what I saw and heard from our nation’s top urban education leader.

Copy and Paste: The Magical Thinking of Replication and Scalability

By Timothy Boyle on Feb 1, 2011 12:14 PM

Over the past month I've had two great opportunities to meet and have conversations with Philadelphia's students and teachers. The first event was Science Leadership Academy's EduCon 2.3. The second event was Teacher Action Group's Justice In the Classroom Event. Both settings allowed for meaningful dialogue about what those in schools want education to be like. I went into both events trying to steal as many good ideas as I could.

Notes from the news, Feb. 1

By Anonymous on Feb 1, 2011 10:56 AM

notes from the news imageEducation Secretary, Spike Lee urge more black men to become teachers Philadelphia Tribune
In a town hall meeting at Morehouse College Lee and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan followed up on President Obama's state of the union call for more teachers. Only two percent of teachers are Black men.

The zero-tolerance debate The Notebook blog
Ron Whitehorne responds to an Inquirer op-ed about the recent Youth United for Change study about the District's discipline policies.

Elmer Smith: School-voucher plans can't be vouched for Daily News
This late addition to the Notes includes a batch of opinion pieces discussing vouchers.

See also: Letters: Vouchers that help some shouldn't punish others The Inquirer
Reasserting the right to high-quality schools The Inquirer (opinion)
Voucher bill has fatal flaws The Inquirer (opinion)

Free dental care for kids available Philadelphia Tribune
Tomorrow is "Give Kids a Smile" Day and all week kids can receive free dental care.

Pennsylvania Members of Congress on Federal Education Committees Keystone State Education Coalition
Links to the members of Congress on education committees.

Text of a flyer distributed by the PA NAACP is telling people to contact their representatives "and tell them to say no to vouchers."

Reflections of an Author: The Blame Game Continues on City School Stories
Reflections on the new round of Renaissance Schools.

EduCon Reflection - Seriously Silly Practical Theory blog

The Day Care Decision: Choosing your must-haves Chestnut Hill Patch

Musicopia offers Philadelphia-area kids a chance to compose The Inquirer

PPG: Meet Ron Tomalis, Sec'y of Education Keystone State Education Coalition

Eight students aged between 9 and 14 from Lowell Elementary School participated in the FIRST Lego League Regional Robotics Contest at the Irvine Auditorium of the University of Pennsylvania. AZoRobotics

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

The zero-tolerance debate

By Ron Whitehorne on Jan 31, 2011 03:48 PM

Recently Youth United for Change released a report on zero tolerance that concluded this policy was ineffective in creating safe schools that nurture learning. It also argues that zero tolerance criminalizes youth and disproportionately punishes students of color.

Chris Paslay, a teacher, blogger, and frequent contributor to the Inquirer op-ed page, has been a vocal critic of the report. Writing in the January 28 Inquirer, Paslay suggests that District policies are “quite tolerant” and a choice must be made between making schools “shelters for troubled children”, or “institutions of learning where hardworking children can get an education.”

Notes from the news, Jan. 31

By Anonymous on Jan 31, 2011 10:59 AM

notes from the news imageAccused of rigging, district to redo bids The Inquirer
The District will rebid a job to manage District headquarters because of allegations of rigging previous bidding to ensure a minority firm got the job.

An alarming move at S. Philadelphia High The Notebook blog
South Philly High has made progress this year, but will now be thrown into upheaval again as all of its teachers must reapply for their jobs as part of the Promise Academy (Innovation) turnaround model.

School District Announces Wednesday Makeup Date Roxborough-Manayunk Patch
Wednesday is no longer a staff development day, it is a snow makeup day, and a mandatory day for students.

Teachers on the Front Lines: A Focus Group After the Return blog
Teacher Action Group and Philadelphia Cross City Campaign for School Reform are holding a teacher focus group on Wednesday.

Así es la asignación de recursos para distritos Al Día
You can now find some Notebook content republished in Spanish in Al Día.

See also: ¿Cómo seleccionar una ‘high school’? Al Día

Inquirer Editorial: School shakeup The Inquirer
Since "sticking with the status quo is not an option," the District should keep moving with school turnaround.

Vouchers for Education Metropolis
Instead of being focused on parents supportive of Catholic schools, this voucher incarnation is pitched as civil rights legislation for kids in failing schools.

EduCon - This Is Our School Practical Theory blog
EduCon was this weekend, and it was hosted by Science Leadership Academy.

See also: Morning at Science Leadership Academy Office of Teaching and Unlearning
Saturday at EduCon 2.3: Student Voices, Publishing, and Digital Literacy Office of Teaching and Unlearning

Mapping the Renaissance Schools The Notebook blog
Maps of this year's Renaissance Schools, all Promise Academies, and all Renaissance Schools from Year I and II.

Talented teacher at Juniata Park found stabbed to death in Manayunk The Inquirer
Ellen Rae Greenberg taught at Juniata Park Academy, which Greenberg was chosen to help start.

See also: Teacher's death at Venice Lofts deemed 'suspicious' WHYY/NewsWorks
Ex-neighbor: Greenberg's voice stood out in a crowd WHYY/NewsWorks

Tourney gets kids in on the robotics game The Inquirer

Promise Academies - Year II A Broad View

Germantown High To Become Renaissance School Chestnut Hill Patch

Parents brave arctic overnight for kindergarten 6 ABC

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

An alarming move at S. Philadelphia High

By Helen Gym on Jan 28, 2011 06:30 PM

The decision to name South Philadelphia High School a Promise Academy is an alarming move for a school community that deserved to go through at least one year without dramatic upheaval and chaos.

Southern arguably started its own turnaround process this past fall – one that was community-driven, supported by new school leadership, and backed by both federal and state agreements about addressing repeated civil rights violations against Asian immigrant youth. Otis Hackney, the school’s principal, had called on his staff to work with him to create a radically different school culture, a school culture that by all accounts has improved immensely.

The naming of South Philadelphia High School as a Renaissance School sends a bewildering message to everyone involved that the school isn’t on the right path after all and that it is the District, not the school, that holds all the right answers.

What Does it All Mean, Who is This All For?

By Timothy Boyle on Jan 28, 2011 06:01 PM

 We knew when Imagine 2014 was rolled out that the School District of Philadelphia was headed for a serious shake-up. There was a plan in place, a theory of action, on the interventions schools that fared the worst on the PSSA (low-achieving in the parlance of our times) would get.  The School Performance Index was suppose to be the metric by which turnarounds would be judged. Or so we thought.

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