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Working conditions for effective teaching

By Guest blogger on Dec 14, 2010 02:24 PM

This week's guest blog comes from Gamal D. Sherif who is a teacher at Science Leadership Academy.


Over the last year, I've had the opportunity to research and co-author a report on the working conditions that make teachers more effective. For me, the process has been unique because I’ve worked with a talented cohort of K-12 educators from across the country, online, and often asynchronously. With our colleagues at the Teacher Leaders Network, we identified challenges, developed solutions, and then published our recommendations.

Our research has shown us three things.

Notes from the news, Dec. 14

By Anonymous on Dec 14, 2010 10:43 AM

notes from the news imagePa. lawmaker: Ackerman suspends five whistle-blowers The Inquirer
State Rep. Mike McGeehan says that five District staffers have been suspended with pay during an investigation into contracting with vendors.

See also: Philadelphia schools probing vendor contracts CBS 21
School District Suspends Employees Fox 29
Whistleblowers NewsWorks

Leaders vow to team up to improve Philadelphia education system Daily News
The World Affairs Council hosted a panel discussion with education leaders in the region, including Superintendent Ackerman.

In hard times, how should the School District spend its money? The Notebook blog
The District will likely face a major budget shortfall in the next school year, and the District will need to make some tough decisions.

Corbett's education vision includes clear school grading system Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Schools would receive an A-F grade and students at F schools would be eligible for vouchers.

Mastery Charter Schools emerging as a national model NewsWorks
Mastery CEO Scott Gordon described Mastery's model as part of the Mt. Airy Learning Tree's "Fantastic Philadelphians" lecture series.

Efforts to keep college students in Philly is working, group says The Inquirer
A report by Campus Philly says more students are staying in Philly after graduation, especially if they find a job or paid internship.

See also: Study: More college grads staying in Philly Daily News

Inquirer Editorial: Firing bad teachers The Inquirer

Notes from the field-Controversial District Contract Award: The Wrong Way to Right A Wrong City School Stories

Music for the Mind Philly School Search

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 hard times, how should the School District spend its money?

By Frank Murphy on Dec 13, 2010 04:28 PM

The recent financial bounty we have enjoyed in the School District of Philadelphia is coming to an end.

A decrease in state revenues, the end of federal stimulus funds, and a newly elected governor who has pledged not to raise taxes all suggest that the District will soon face a bleak financial future. 

Add to this the fact the education transition team chosen by the governor-elect includes many charter school and voucher advocates. It is conceivable that they will recommend diversion of public school money to fund more school choice options.

Notes from the news, Dec. 13

By Anonymous on Dec 13, 2010 11:04 AM

notes from the news imageAckerman Clears The Air In Interview Fox 29
Ackerman explained she didn't direct work to IBS, but just asked for minority companies to be included on the bidding.

See also: Firm lost district job despite vow of diversity The Inquirer
Backers rally for school chief Philadelphia Tribune
Lawmakers defend Ackerman NewsWorks
Speakers Show Support For Ackerman Fox 29
Letters to the Editor The Inquirer

Charter transparency: KIPP Open Book The Notebook blog
KIPP Philadelphia has a new program to share publicly loads of data about its students, teachers, board, finances, and more.

Ousted Philadelphia housing chief's nonprofit unraveling amid scrutiny The Inquirer
SRC Chair Robert L. Archie was secretary at Carl R. Greene's nonprofit.

Stu Bykofsky: Lots to learn from Spring Garden School Daily News
"It's a community here," says 35-year veteran teacher Joanne Fidler.

College savings program is a gift for students and their parents The Inquirer (opinion)
Pennsylvania's state treasurer describes the 529 savings plan.

Second round of community planning meetings ahead The Notebook blog
Over the last several weeks the District has held meetings to discuss the Facilities Master Plan, and more are ahead.

Philly program gives students a different take on computers The Inquirer
Comcast's Digital Connectors program is held at Honickman Learning Center and in 11 other cities.

When I Learned to Hate Drugs Practical Theory blog

After-school music program raises its curtain The Inquirer

$79,000 in College Scholarships Available to Local High School Seniors PRNewsire

Student Movement in UK Continues and Heats Up Philly Education Justice 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

Charter transparency: KIPP Open Book

By Guest blogger on Dec 10, 2010 05:58 PM

This week's guest blog is from Marc Mannella, CEO of KIPP Philadelphia Schools.


As a former teacher, School Leader, and now CEO of KIPP Philadelphia Schools, I have become deeply convinced that there is no magic bullet to transform the entire public education system. High-performing charter schools like KIPP are not the solution, but we think they are a part of the solution. 

At KIPP, we believe in the principles of transparency and accountability. We want to be leaders in embracing the charter school movement’s original promise of receiving more autonomy in exchange for more accountability. 

As an initial step, KIPP Philadelphia has launched KIPP Open Book, our data-sharing initiative to make our important data and documents easily available to all.

Second round of community planning meetings ahead

By the Notebook on Dec 10, 2010 02:15 PM

by Patrick Gailey

Community planning meetings in late November and early December aimed at gathering input regarding the District’s Facilities Master Plan drew packed houses. Groups of well over a hundred, many of them drawn by reports of the likelihood of school closings, gathered in overcrowded spaces to discuss the future of Philadelphia’s schools during the three meetings covered by the Notebook.

Notes from the news, Dec. 10

By Anonymous on Dec 10, 2010 11:06 AM

notes from the news imageDN Editorial: School contract flap: How fair? Daily News
Maybe Ackerman was following protocol--the protocol of a city and state where people in charge make sure their friends are taken care of.

See also: Legislative Black Caucus Stands behind Ackerman Philadelphia Tribune
More praise NewsWorks

District restructures debt amid concerns about future The Notebook blog
Ten percent of the District's budget goes towards service on $3 billion in debt.

School district getting an F in accounting for special-ed Daily News
City Controller Alan Butkovitz said there are questions about documentation for $50 million in transportation for special ed students.

DREAM Act alive! Don't believe NPR hype! The Notebook blog
The DREAM Act passed the House, but got held up in the Senate. Some still see hope for a vote next week.

Recovery high school proposed in Roxborough NewsWorks
The school would be for students recovering from addiction.

ACTION United: Where's the money... and the teachers? The Notebook blog

When You Fail, I Fail Philly Teacher blog

What We Should Remember Practical Theory blog

Update: 10-Day Suspensions for Roxborough Students Accused of Bullying Roxborough-Manayunk Patch

Hunting Park: Students Take on the Arts at the ‘Korner’ Philadelphia Neighborhoods

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

ACTION United: Where's the money... and the teachers?

By Gustavo Martínez on Dec 9, 2010 08:54 PM

About a 100 people gathered Tuesday night to discuss the findings of an ACTION United report that found that "the highest poverty schools have the least experienced teachers."

DREAM Act alive! Don't believe NPR hype!

By Gustavo Martínez on Dec 9, 2010 04:10 PM

It’s been a couple of nail-biting days for the DREAM Act. Just after a prolonged session yesterday in the House of Representatives, the bill survived, passed, and was sent to the Senate where it remains right now despite several media reports that earlier indicated the DREAM Act was “likely dead.”

District restructures debt amid concerns about future

By Dale Mezzacappa on Dec 9, 2010 02:50 PM

A few hours before the marathon afternoon meeting on Wednesday dominated by passionate discussion of minority contracting, the School Reform Commission held a short, businesslike session to approve a resolution restructuring its debt. And while everything was presented as routine, pro-forma, and in the District's best interest, it drew attention to some jaw-dropping information that is hardly secret but is not often discussed. 

Notes from the news, Dec. 9

By Anonymous on Dec 9, 2010 11:10 AM

notes from the news imageAt SRC meeting, praise for Ackerman, scorn for Inquirer The Inquirer
More than 400 people attended yesterday's meeting and several prominent speakers detailed their support for Ackerman.

See also: Outpouring of support for Supt. Ackerman The Notebook blog
Supporters applaud Ackerman, rip media Daily News
School spirit NewsWorks
Speakers Show Support For Ackerman Fox 29
Outpouring of Support for Arlene Ackerman The Philly Post
Philly School Head Takes Flack for Boosting Minority Business Philly.com via The Atlanta Post

DREAM Act passes House The Notebook blog
The DREAM Act moves to the Senate this morning.

Roxborough High bullying update NewsWorks
The District confirmed that two students were bullied Monday. The school had an assembly to discuss bullying.

Philly rappers take a stand against school violence CNN
Rapper Freeway got involved with nonviolent campaigns after hearing about what happened at South Philly High. He will perform there today with Young Chris.

See also: Southern leaves unfortunate past behind South Philly Review

Letters: Ackerman's promotion of diversity is admirable The Inquirer

Notes from the field: Who Makes the Instructional Decisions For Empowerment Schools? 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

DREAM Act passes House

By the Notebook on Dec 8, 2010 10:31 PM

The DREAM Act just passed the House and is moving onto the Senate. The Senate is scheduled to vote on it Thursday at 11 a.m. A Senate vote has been delayed.

You can see updates from Twitter posts tagged #DREAMAct.

Outpouring of support for Supt. Ackerman

By Paul Socolar on Dec 8, 2010 04:05 PM

(UPDATED, 8:50 PM) An overflow crowd filled the School District auditorium today, as hundreds of supporters of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman's stance on minority contracting turned out for what was to be a five-hour School Reform Commission's meeting. The superintendent received a standing ovation and loud cheers from many in the crowd as she entered the room at 2:40 p.m. and praise from the overwhelming majority of the 40-plus speakers who delivered public testimony.

Notes from the news, Dec. 8

By Anonymous on Dec 8, 2010 11:09 AM

notes from the news imageSRC ratification resolutions: Still no letup The Notebook blog
Many of the contracts the SRC approves are still for work that has already started or been approved.

Ackerman ready to set record straight Philadelphia Tribune
This week's Learning Key looks at Ackerman's response about the IBS contract, profiles Meade Elementary, and profiles a new program at Taggart Elementary.

See also: Meade makes high expectations for students Philadelphia Tribune
New learning lab teaches adults English language
Philadelphia Tribune
Concert teaches kids to take care of hearing
Philadelphia Tribune
School district opens Parent and Family Resource Centers Philadelphia Tribune

Group: District to be a no-show at education meeting tonight Hall Monitor blog
ACTION United invited the District to a meeting about its recent report on teacher quality.

See also: ACTION United quiere solucionar desigualdad en escuelas Al Día

¿Incompetencia cultural? Al Día
Tom Ferrick weighs in about Ackerman and cultural competency.

See also: Cultural Incompetence? Metropolis

Does a School Need a CEO? Philly School Search blog
Many charter schools have their own CEOs.

3 Roxborough students suspended in attack The Inquirer
A freshman at Roxborough High was bullied this week.

See also: Bullying stoops to a new low Philadelphia Bullying Examiner
Roxborough Students Downplay Alleged Bullying Incident
Roxborough-Manayunk Patch

High school students benefit from dual enrollment program at St. Joe's The Hawk

Mike Vick Speaks at North Philly School NBC Philadelphia

Press Release: The School District of Philadelphia Teams Up with Shmoop to Provide Online Test Prep eSchoolNews

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

SRC ratification resolutions: Still no letup

By Paul Socolar on Dec 8, 2010 12:23 AM

Despite some questions about the practice raised by commissioners this fall, a significant percentage of the measures approved by the School Reform Commission each month continue to be in the form of "ratification resolutions" - items brought up for a vote after the contract or work to be approved has already started.

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