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A wrench in the site selection process: no new teachers allowed

By Paul Socolar on May 6, 2010 10:31 PM

As readers have pointed out on our blog, schools were cancelling interviews with prospective new teachers and putting hiring processes on hold after a Wednesday email from Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to principals announcing a hiring freeze on new teachers.

The problem, Ackerman said, is that there may not be enough District jobs to absorb all the current teachers wishing to return to the District next fall. She wrote:

Check out the big budget book

By Paul Socolar on May 6, 2010 01:29 PM

If you have an appetite for numbers, you might want to dig into the District's 431-page budget book, just posted on the District's website in time for upcoming City Council hearings next Monday and Tuesday at City Hall. Several other public meetings on the budget are scheduled, including one tonight at King H.S.

Philadelphia STEM teacher fellow program

By Timothy Boyle on May 6, 2010 11:58 AM

The District will find out soon if it can offer a new professional development opportunity to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers.

The District is in the process of applying for a state grant to build a three-year STEM fellow program. This program would take on three cohorts a year and provide teachers with graduate level instruction in STEM topics. Applications from teachers are being accepted now, and the District expects to hear if the grant is approved within a few weeks.

Notes from the news, May 6

By Anonymous on May 6, 2010 09:11 AM

Daroff council: Promise Academy model 'lacks promise' The Notebook blog
Report on Daroff's School Advisory Council's deliberations on provider options.

Why I support school choice
State Senator Anthony Williams, a candidate for governor, argues how school choice helps kids get "a chance at a great education."

See also: Unveiling education platform, Hoeffel again hits Williams on vouchers
Candidates for governor debate issues at forum The Chestnut Hill Local

New report: Pennsylvania must improve alternative education Education Law Center
The report offers suggestions on how to improve alternative ed, which would be the third largest district in the state if all the alternative schools were a single district.

Secret school bonus Daily News (opinion)
Superintendent Ackerman's bonus is described as another case of public money being spent without public scrutiny.

See also: Exclusive: Philly School CEO’s Contract Fox 29
More on Ackerman's bonus It's Our Money

Foro de violencia en las escuelas Al Día
Another in a series of public hearings on school violence happens this afternoon.

US Labor Department awards $7.4 million to 9 high schools deemed ‘persistently dangerous’ to reduce violence and improve educational outcomes Dept. Labor press

Senate Committee approves charter school reform bill WHYY

For-profit colleges leave many students in debt The Inquirer

Too late too often, so no prom for her Daily News

Students Checkmate Eagles But Everybody Wins KYW

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Daroff council: Promise Academy model 'lacks promise'

By Benjamin Herold on May 5, 2010 10:59 AM

The Daroff School Advisory Council (SAC) unanimously rejected on Monday the District’s invitation to submit a revised application to become a Promise Academy, opting instead to focus on its deliberations to select an outside turnaround team to assume management of the troubled K-8 school as part of the District’s Renaissance Schools initiative.

The Daroff SAC discusses Mastery Charter Schools' proposal to radically transform their school.

Notes from the news, May 5

By Anonymous on May 5, 2010 08:14 AM

Pa. Senate panel OKs charter-oversight bill The Inquirer
The bill would create a state office to investigate charters and give Philly's city controller the authority to audit the city's charter schools.

Scenes from the Renaissance process: Smedley's school council hits the road The Notebook blog
School Advisory Council members from Smedley visited Young Scholars Charter School to see one of the options for how their school could be managed next year.

Benchmarks for Ackerman bonus withheld The Inquirer
A District spokesperson said that Ackerman's contract prohibits the District from releasing the benchmarks that were used to evaluate Ackerman for her $65,000 bonus.

See also: Philadelphia schools chief surprised by attention to her bonus WHYY
Ackerman gets $65K bonus for...secret reasons It's Our Money

Educators Eye Ning's Move to Pay Model Education Week
Philly Teacher blogger, Mary Beth Hertz, said she wasn't sure what service to use now to bring together educators.

Team Clean, Inc. and 32BJ Service Employees International Union Reach Agreement Citybizlist (Press release)

Thornton brings Philly moxie to MPS job BizTimes

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Scenes from the Renaissance process: Smedley's school council hits the road

By Bill Hangley Jr. on May 4, 2010 12:40 PM

Charlene Young, a parent at Smedley Elementary in Frankford, doesn’t want much for her daughter’s school – just an end to the chaos.

“More controlled classrooms,” she said. “More organization, more respect for the teachers, more respect for each other inside the school.”

Jana Wilcox, development director at the Young Scholars Charter School, promised that her team could deliver.

Notes from the news, May 4

By Anonymous on May 4, 2010 09:06 AM

Ackerman gets $65,000 performance bonus The Inquirer
The bonus was detailed in Ackerman's contract. It and other perks help bring the value of her annual salary to nearly $500,000.

See also: 65G performance bonus for Ackerman Daily News
Ackerman Receives $65K Performance Bonus Fox 29

Phila. school janitors ratify pact with raises The Inquirer
The janitors from 22 high schools were ready to strike, but negotiated a contract to bring their pay and benefits more in line with other janitors in the District.

A different vision of education - TAG Fair The Notebook blog
The Teacher Action Group's first curriculum fair on Saturday brought together teachers and education supporters.

Philly teacher honored on Rach[a]el Ray Show 6ABC
Frankford High's culinary arts teacher got a new kitchen from Rachael Ray last month, and on Monday she appeared on the show.

See also: A Phila. Public School Teacher is Honored on National Cooking Show KYW

School District of Philadelphia Holding Community Budget Hearings! Frankford Gazette

Philly Parks Searching for Summer Interns Plan Philly

Ludlow Elementary Serves As Second Home For Students Philadelphia Neighborhoods

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A different vision of education - TAG Fair

By Ron Whitehorne on May 3, 2010 12:56 PM

On Saturday over 200 people filled the third and fourth floors of the Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures School for the First Annual Education for Liberation Curriculum Fair. Sponsored by the Teacher Action Group, the fair attracted elementary, middle, and high school teachers mostly from public schools along with afterschool educators, teaching artists, members of community organizations, youth, pre-service teachers, university educators, and even an administrator.

Notes from the news, May 3

By Anonymous on May 3, 2010 09:05 AM

U.S. probe widens to 18 city charters The Inquirer
The U.S. Attorney's investigation started after The Inquirer uncovered financial mismanagement at Philadelphia Academy Charter, and involves an increasing number of schools.

At Potter-Thomas, change the only constant The Notebook blog
Potter-Thomas has had six principals in the past eight years and now it's slated for another round of new management as a Renaissance School, or Promise Academy.

10 injured in Phila. schoolyard attack The Inquirer
Teens from King High School were arrested for attacking students at Howe Elementary during recess.

See also: No new arrests in Phila. school attack The Inquirer
Teens terrorize elementary-school students Daily News
Young adults attack grade schoolers with bats 6 ABC

At Daroff, outside providers woo community The Notebook blog
Dozens of Daroff community members gathered to hear from prospective managers of the elementary school.

Mastery's formula for successful schools The Inquirer (opinion)
Paul Davies argues "Mastery's success shows that fixing failing schools isn't rocket science."

The Bill Gates Experience Practical Theory blog
Student-produced video of Bill Gates' visit to Science Leadership Academy.

Philly culinary schools change, at what price? AP via Centre Daily Times
The schools are changing focus from back of the house jobs to better paying front of the house jobs.

Earring likely saved high school student from gunshot Daily News
A gun accidentally went off at Communications Technology  High School, and an earring stopped and shattered the bullet.

See also: Earring Saves Philly Student From Bullet CBS 3

A Deserved Reputation? A Very Public Education blog
Public Ed Mom answers all the naysayers who stereotype the Philly public schools and their students.

Big crowd likely at Phila. teacher-hiring fair The Inquirer

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At Potter-Thomas, change the only constant

By Gustavo Martínez on May 2, 2010 02:49 PM

For the past eight years at Potter-Thomas Elementary School, the only constant has been change.

As a low-performing school, it was turned over to Edison Schools in 2002. But because it made little improvement, it was taken away from Edison in 2008.

At Daroff, outside providers woo community

By Benjamin Herold on Apr 30, 2010 02:32 PM

"I think the change is going to be bittersweet," said Assistant Principal Nancy Hatchett, summarizing the mood during Daroff Elementary School's turnaround team public forum.

From the outset, the school auditorium at 56th and Vine felt like a somber family gathering, perhaps to discuss the terms of an unpleasant but necessary divorce.

An experiment in social media

By Timothy Boyle on Apr 30, 2010 11:59 AM

A few weeks back I succumbed to the lure of Twitter and created an account for my 3rd grade students.

Over the course of last week's lessons I had students write a brief "What did we do today?" in their science notebooks. I figured the summary was probably useful on its own and would get kids ready for tweeting the goings-on of our class.

Community budget hearings coming up

By Paul Socolar on Apr 30, 2010 10:13 AM

The District is holding a series of community meetings in May to discuss its proposed $3.2 billion 2010-11 budget.

Notes from the news, Apr. 30

By Anonymous on Apr 30, 2010 08:46 AM

Bill Gates visits Science Leadership Academy The Inquirer
Gates was in town to receive an award from the Franklin Institute. He toured SLA's lab and had a Q&A with students.

See also: Gates Millenium Scholar meets her benefactor The Inquirer
Bill Gates meets local young scientists 6 ABC
Bill Gates at SLA today The Notebook blog

Rules for Renaissance Schools courtship modified Notebook NEWSFLASH
All prospective providers must attend community meetings at every school, not just the schools they would prefer to work with.

See also: Renaissance Schools meetings with providers start this week The Notebook blog

“We are invisible” – Ackerman listens to concerns of Cambodian Community Voice of Philadelphia
Ackerman attended a town hall discussion at Preah Buddha Rangsey Temple with about 150 Cambodian Americans.

Raising the Bar: A New Urban Outlet for Hebrew? Jewish Exponent
Organizers are moving forward with plans to open a Hebrew-language charter school in Center City, but the SRC has yet to approve the charter.

Voice of Philadephia Receives Non-Profit Status, Adds Reporting Interns Voice of Philadelphia
The news outlet joins RHD's New Beginnings Nonprofit Incubator program, where the Notebook is housed.

First school budget hearing called off The Inquirer

Phila. Offering Paid Summer Internships for HS Students KYW

Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program Trains Young People in Job Skills KYW

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