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Renaissance Schools list announced

By the Notebook on Jan 27, 2010 02:52 PM

The District just released the 14 "Renaissance Eligible Schools" and the 12 "Alert Schools" for 2010-11. The Notebook has published a FAQ about the Renaissance Schools, as has the District.

UPDATE: Each school name now links to a fact sheet with its School Performance Index data.

The Renaissance Eligible Schools are:

Renaissance Schools: The basics

By Paul Socolar on Jan 27, 2010 02:51 PM

What is the purpose of Renaissance Schools?
This is a new District program to transform some of its chronically underachieving schools into high-quality schools. The District has committed to accomplishing these “school turnarounds” while serving the same students at these schools.

Union likely to lose some schools

By Paul Socolar on Jan 27, 2010 02:51 PM

One component of the new teachers' contract that has stirred the most passions is the provision that teachers at Renaissance Schools are "forced transfers" who must reapply to stay at the same school. As details of the Renaissance Schools initiative were released on Wednesday, another blow to the union status of Philadelphia teachers came to light.

Renaissance Schools timeline

By the Notebook on Jan 27, 2010 02:49 PM

The District has released the Renaissance Schools Timeline, also outlined below.

Jan. 27: Announce Renaissance Alert and Renaissance Eligible Schools and release RFQ (Request for Qualification from Lead Applicant turnaround teams) and RFI (Request for Information from Support Applicant turnaround teams)

Profiles of the Renaissance pool

By Paul Socolar on Jan 27, 2010 02:49 PM

Even a quick look at the school profiles for the 14 Renaissance Eligible Schools makes clear that one of the central issues the School District and its turnaround teams will have to tackle in its Renaissance Schools plan is the effects of concentrated poverty.

Here's what the typical Renaissance Eligible School looks like (using median figures and the data provided for 12 of the 14 schools):

Public hearing on school violence Thursday

By Anonymous on Jan 27, 2010 12:17 PM

The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations is holding a public hearing on school violence tomorrow, Thursday, from 4-7 p.m. at Guerin Recreation Center, 2201 S. 16th street (16th and Jackson Streets).

This is the first of a series of hearings the PCHR will hold. It's a chance for "students, parents, faculty, police, community members, and youth-service organizations" to discuss violence in Philadelphia public schools.

Fliers with further details are available in English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, and Khmer. You can also find information online, submit testimony via email, and register to testify by contacting Naarah' Crawley via email or phone at 215-686-4674.

Notes from the news, Jan. 27

By Anonymous on Jan 27, 2010 10:20 AM

Activist group sees flaws in teachers' contract The Inquirer
The Effective Teaching for Every Child campaign gave the contract grades averaging a B-, with an A- for standards and evaluations and a D for teacher incentives.

See also: Effective Teaching Campaign grades contract The Notebook blog
Dueling protests fault teacher pact: For different reasons, they have doubts Daily News

Plan for schools coming to a head Metro Philadelphia
Today the District will outline the plans for turning around low-performing schools as Renaissance Schools.

See also: Potential Ren. Schools announced Wed. The Notebook blog

School Days II: Fiasco at South Philly High Metropolis
The second and final installments of School Days from Dale Mezzacappa. The final piece is about educating immigrant students.

Successful March!!! Philly Teacher Talks
A group of teachers were also at the School District building yesterday afternoon to march against the contract.

Phila. Teachers Ratify New 3-Year Contract Ed Week
National coverage for the contract and for the complaint about harassment of Asian students at South Philly high.

Drexel to create 250 scholarships for low-income city graduates The Inquirer

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

Effective Teaching Campaign grades contract

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 26, 2010 05:36 PM

The Effective Teaching for Every Child campaign gave the new teachers' contract mostly high marks in a report card, but said that it does not provide enough incentives to recruit and keep teachers in hard-to-staff schools.

Potential Ren. Schools announced Wed.

By Anonymous on Jan 26, 2010 03:32 PM

The District has announced that it will release a list tomorrow of schools being considered for the first cohort of Renaissance Schools. The schools are likely to be drawn from a larger pool of 76 low-performing schools, which were mentioned in the state's application for Race to the Top funding.

Here's a PDF that lists the 76 schools.

Guest blog: Site selection victory in contract

By Guest blogger on Jan 26, 2010 12:54 PM

Welcome to the guest blogger section of the Notebook blog.

This week's post comes from Jonathan Cetel, who is a regional organizer with Good Schools Pennsylvania and serves as a consultant to the Teacher Action Group. He previously taught middle years reading and social studies in the Olney section of Philadelphia. 

In the midst of our collective efforts to digest all of the reforms proposed in the new teacher contract, let’s take a moment to celebrate two clear and decisive victories: the expansion of site selection in the lowest-performing schools and the modification of the site selection process. 

Notes from the news, Jan. 26

By Anonymous on Jan 26, 2010 08:28 AM

Elmer Smith: Reason to hope for real school reform Daily News
Hope comes in the form of a new teachers' contract.

A life of promise cut short by gunfire: Tyree Parks 'was on that right path' Daily News
Profile of a student killed as he walked home from coaching a youth basketball game at Audenried HS.

Schools Days: Superintendent Arlene Ackerman Metropolis
Two posts from Metropolis about schools. Dale Mezzacappa wrote more about Ackerman and Lori Mehler wrote about substitute teaching.

Reactions to the New Philadelphia Teachers Contract Philly School Search
Recent posts summarized the reaction to the contract, highlighted posts on, and solicited input on the school search process.

How Renaissance Schools Will Hurt Our Children Philly Teacher Talks
This concerned Philly teacher wrote about how Renaissance Schools don't get at the root problems, and that teachers should join for a march today at 3:30 p.m. at Broad and Spring Garden.

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

Sheppard students raise funds for Haiti

By the Notebook on Jan 25, 2010 03:49 PM

Students at West Kensington’s Isaac Sheppard Elementary School last week raised nearly $500 have raised $600 in donations for the Haitian relief effort. Concerned children in the high-poverty K-4 school emptied piggy banks and gave up tooth fairy and pretzel money in their desire to help victims of the devastating earthquake.

Fourth graders organized the fundraiser, writing and broadcasting reports about the situation in Haiti and spending recess time making posters assuring fellow students that “even a nickel counts” when it came to making a donation.

-submitted by Jamie Roberts, Sheppard ESOL program specialist

Notes from the news, Jan. 25

By Anonymous on Jan 25, 2010 09:03 AM

AFT president: New contract a breakthrough The Notebook blog
Praise is pouring in for the "groundbreaking" contract, but the response is not universally glowing.

See also: Plaudits for Phila. teachers contract The Inquirer
New Teachers Contract Amazes School Reform Advocates KYW
A qualified thumbs up for the contract The Notebook blog
Teachers, school district approve contract Daily News
Why Did our Union Mock Us? Philly Teacher Talks blog

MLK Day, PSU and the Cynicism of Reporting at The Philadelphia Weekly Philly Education Justice blog
Calls for the PW to apologize for a column about PSU's "hollow protest" against school violence.

Overbrook High School Students Rising Philly Education Justice blog
Overbrook students ask to be heard on how to improve their school.

Thornton voted new MPS chief Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Gregory Thornton, former CAO of the Philly schools, is the new Milwaukee superintendent.

Report finds staff errors key in counselor's death The Inquirer
A nurse called Joaquin Rivera's name twice, but did not look for him in the waiting room.

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

A qualified thumbs up for the contract

By Ron Whitehorne on Jan 24, 2010 11:29 AM

Over the next few weeks many education reformers will be giving the new PFT contract a grade. For PFT members the grading system is pass fail, yes or no, and by a two-to-one margin the contract got a thumbs up, in spite of discontent with many provisions and the way the ratification vote was organized.

This is a flawed contract that grew out of a flawed process. Win-win it wasn’t, but I think passing it was the right thing to do.

First the positives: 

AFT president: New contract a breakthrough

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jan 23, 2010 12:14 AM

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said in a statement Friday night that the new PFT contract is "groundbreaking" and provides teachers "with the tools, time and trust they need to be better educators."

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