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Ramirez stays put for now; Senate checks out Dworeztky

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 19, 2009 01:27 PM

A state Senate Education Committee hearing on Joseph Dworetzky’s nomination to fill the vacant fifth seat on the School Reform Commission will finally take place in Harrisburg next Wednesday, June 24, nearly three months after the nomination, presumably paving the way for a full Senate vote.

Thanks are in order

By Molly Thacker on Jun 18, 2009 09:52 AM

I got a thank-you letter today from a graduating senior.  Although teaching is very much rewarding in itself, the truth is that it can also be a very lonely job, one where you don’t know if people are even noticing your efforts, much less benefiting from them. 

Virtual World, Meet the Classroom

By Alesha Jackson on Jun 17, 2009 11:58 AM

When I started college years ago, most people didn’t quite understand the World Wide Web: we logged on at the library, inadvertently sending mail from other people’s Hotmail accounts. Without the benefit of Google, our web surfing was limited to bidding on Ebay and the occasional foray onto music video Web sites. The web was still novelty—interesting, but not altogether very useful.

Governor proposes new track for professionals into teaching

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 16, 2009 05:56 PM

Gov. Rendell is asking the legislature to approve a program to fast-track science, engineering, technology, and math professionals into teaching jobs.  The governor would create a separate certification status called "residency," in which qualified persons are able to teach while taking courses in education strategies to earn full certification.

While the governor is emphasizing the so-called STEM subjects, the proposal would give the Secretary of Education the authority to create a "residency" certification for any field he deems has shortages.

As tension grows in Harrisburg, advocates rally

By Paul Socolar on Jun 15, 2009 07:32 PM

Just 15 days remain to resolve a budget deadlock in Harrisburg that will determine how the state responds to its $3.2 billion revenue shortfall and whether Philadelphia schools see a projected and hoped-for $300+ million boost in revenues that would fund dozens of proposed reform initiatives.

In case you missed it, week of Jun. 7

By Erika Owens on Jun 14, 2009 02:12 AM

Contract confusion this week. Contracts were sent to individual teachers, with the salary line blank. Superintendent Ackerman said the contracts were sent in error and corrected contracts will be sent out and teachers must sign. The PFT is advising teachers not to sign the contracts.

Thanks for Turning the Page for Change

By thenotebook on Jun 12, 2009 01:46 PM

Thanks to everyone who joined us at University of the Arts Thursday, June 11 for our 15th anniversary Turning the Page for Change event!

We had a slideshow of photos from the past 15 years playing at the event. Here it is again. For a quick look through the show, hit the arrow at the bottom to flip through the slides.

Private providers out of Philly too?

By Erika Owens on Jun 11, 2009 06:57 PM

At yesterday's SRC meeting the superintendent's office stated that the private management "model has to be transformed." They recommended that private managers be moved to providing support services rather than managing schools.

Earlier this year Helen Gym blogged about Baltimore's plans to cancel contracts with private manager Edison Learning. Their district decided to cancel two contracts with Edison--and the SRC in Philly will decide about private manager contracts later this month.

Check out the Notebook's ongoing coverage of EMOs and privatization.

A veteran teacher talks about observation and evaluation

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 10, 2009 11:39 AM

Following my post on The New Teacher Project's report on teacher evaluation called The Widget Effect, longtime Philadelphia teacher and Notebook board member Ron Whitehorne sent me these thoughts on the subject. This is a hot topic; the New York Times had an editorial today on the TNTP report.

Here is Ron's guest post:

The centerpiece of teacher evaluation in Philadelphia are the twice a year formal classroom observations that are conducted by an administrator.  

Join us at the University of the Arts!

By thenotebook on Jun 10, 2009 10:03 AM

Thursday, June 11 we're celebrating our 15th anniversary as an independent news organization and watchdog supporting quality education in Philadelphia. Come party with us from 4:30-7 p.m. at the University of the Arts - Dorrance  Hamilton Hall at Broad and Pine.

Admission is $60 and discounts are available for student, parent, and teacher groups. Purchase an admission online today or email us to reserve now and pay later.

We're going to be reflecting on 15 years of education activism and reporting (including a photo display from our first 15 years), and looking forward to the future of journalism with our fifth annnual student journalism awards. Students from Northeast, Fels, Masterman, and Central high schools will be honored at the event for their outstanding work on student newspapers.

"Student newspapers are making a comeback," noted Notebook editor Paul Socolar.

And with 15 years of publishing, the Notebook is a strong example of the continued vitality of newspapers--in print and on the web. Come celebrate these achievements with us! For more information please check our event page.

And The Winner Is...

By Samuel Reed III on Jun 8, 2009 05:15 PM

For many students at Beeber Middle School, musical theater-going is not on their top list of things to do.  But on May 28, over 60 students had the opportunity to attend the Prince Music Theater’s production of one-act musicals written by their peers and performed by semi-professional teen singers, dancers, and actors.

In case you missed it, week of May 31

By Erika Owens on Jun 7, 2009 03:13 PM

Saturday's Inquirer reported that the USDA has decided to continue the universal feeding program, after months of speculation and recent pressure from Pennsylvanian elected officials.

This week was Superintendent Ackerman's one year anniversary heading the District. The Inky interviewed Ackerman and the Daily News asked local education folks to grade Ackerman's first year. The Notebook blogged about that report card and its C average. Ackerman appears to be following up her pledge that there would be changes in principal staffing - there was a report of the removal of six principals.

End of Year Celebrations

By Molly Thacker on Jun 5, 2009 03:00 AM

It’s getting to be the end of the school year and that means two things for me: reflection and celebration. 

KIPP gets grant to expand. Is this the solution?

By Eric Braxton on Jun 4, 2009 12:43 PM

Last week it was announced that KIPP Philadelphia was awarded a $4.6 million grant to expand. The grant will help KIPP meet its goal of operating ten schools in Philadelphia. I visited KIPP a few weeks ago and I was impressed with a lot of what I saw. Nonetheless, I am concerned that just adding more KIPPs is not the answer to improving education in our city. 

At what point do we start to take what is working in charter schools and other places and apply it to our public schools? I thought that was the point.

The Widget Effect: Where Every Teacher is Above Average

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 3, 2009 01:33 PM

The New Teacher Project has come out with a report on teacher evaluation just in time to inform the debate as School District and PFT tackle that issue among others in the ongoing (and secret) negotiations.

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