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Teens shouldn't start school before 8:30 a.m., pediatricians say

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 2, 2014 12:04 PM

The sun is hot. Water is wet. Teenagers like to sleep in.

These truths we know to be self-evident.

The American Academy of Pediatrics embraced the body clocks of teens in a report last week, saying that classes for middle and high school students should start no earlier than 8:30 a.m.

Cook-Wissahickon students rally for funding with community, DeLissio

By Jon Campisi for NewsWorks on Sep 2, 2014 10:20 AM

It's not just the adults who are concerned about the fiscal health of Philadelphia's public schools.

The youngsters who rely on the School District for an education are worried about the state of the system as well.

State Rep. Pam DeLissio invited some of those concerned students to speak alongside her during a sidewalk address Thursday evening outside of Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School in Roxborough.

The Rally for School Funding, as it was dubbed, was designed to raise awareness of the budgetary problems faced by the largest school district in Pennsylvania.

YouthBuild Philly helps high school dropouts graduate

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 29, 2014 04:59 PM

Alan Jacobs dropped out of Kensington High School at 16 and soon found himself locked up on a gun charge.

His mom, Emma Johnson, felt that her son had completely lost control of his life.

"He wanted to stand on the corner and make fast money," said Johnson. "We talked to him and we talked to him, and he was just headstrong. He wanted the streets."

The Notebook is seeking a development director

By Paul Socolar on Aug 29, 2014 03:16 PM

Please spread the word: The Notebook is seeking an energetic and experienced fundraising professional to serve as its new development director.

The position is available in mid-October. We look forward to this new addition to our wonderful, seven-person staff team

An award-winning nonprofit news organization, the Notebook is entering its third decade as a vital source of news, commentary, and community conversation about Philadelphia's public schools. More than three-fourths of the Notebook's budget comes from contributions: memberships, individual donations, and special events, as well as grants. 

A full, fair funding formula is essential for racial equality in Pa.

By Sheila Armstrong, Drick Boyd, and Margaret Ernst on Aug 29, 2014 02:05 PM

Last week, several Philadelphia clergy members of the interfaith organization POWER witnessed the growth of a powerful movement for racial equality in Ferguson, Mo. 

After the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, our clergy colleagues traveled to Missouri to call for justice and listen to a community in grief. They marched nonviolently with thousands of black youth asking for fair treatment from law enforcement – and even more important, for a sign from their fellow Americans that their lives matter.

But as our clergy brothers and sisters returned home last week, they returned to another place where there is no dearth of racial injustice.

Lea’s new principal counting on school partners to steady the ship

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Aug 29, 2014 11:44 AM

In a district roiled by budget cuts and layoffs, the new principal at Henry Lea Elementary is counting on a network of community supporters to help keep the West Philadelphia school on an even keel.

“The cuts are probably going to be the biggest challenge. How do you function, as a building, with less than we’ve ever had?” said Jennifer Duffy, a former District administrator hired just last week to run the 600-student school.

But, she said, “This school, more than any others I looked at, has a tremendous network.”

From the archives: Neighborhood high schools prepare few for college

By thenotebook on Aug 29, 2014 10:53 AM

The Notebook was launched in 1994 as a newspaper committed to ensuring quality and equity in Philadelphia public schools. We celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first publication this spring. We are featuring an article from our archives each week, shedding light on both the dramatic changes that have taken place in public education and the persistent issues facing Philadelphia's school system.

This piece is from the Summer 2000 print edition:


by Gordon Whitman

Six years into Children Achieving, data from the School District of Philadelphia indicate that only a small minority of students who enter 9th grade in the city's 22 neighborhood high schools graduate having completed the basic course work they need to enter college.

Controller's audit of District financial controls found no 'material weaknesses'

By Paul Socolar on Aug 28, 2014 03:02 PM

City Controller Alan Butkovitz released his annual report on the School District’s internal controls on Wednesday and drew headlines for his continued concerns about the District’s handling of its art collection.

But not noted in the media coverage was the fact that this is the first time since 2008 that the controller’s review of the District’s internal controls found neither “material weaknesses” nor “significant deficiencies.”

Language lost: Immigrants face steeper summer slide

By Dorian Geiger on Aug 28, 2014 01:54 PM

Drugs, violence, stealing, and prostitution were the everyday realities of Cristian Cruz's upbringing in Acapulco, Mexico.

“The neighborhood where I grew up, there was a lot of violence, a lot of stealing, a lot of killing each other for territory, prostitution,” said Cruz, wearing a Chicago Bulls cap and striped Polo T-shirt.

He's been living in America for nearly 13 years now, but it wasn’t always stars and stripes for Cruz.

Austerity, uncertainty loom large as Class of 2018 arrives

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 28, 2014 10:29 AM

Beginning high school is daunting enough for most young people. But this year, students in Philadelphia face worries that most of their counterparts in more reliably funded districts don’t have.

Will their schedules be disrupted if more layoffs become necessary and some teachers disappear? Will counselors be available to make sure they are taking the courses they need? Will their high school even offer all the courses they want – in some cases, courses that attracted them to that school in the first place?

Wolf gets warm welcome from Philadelphia teachers

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 27, 2014 08:05 PM

Under a blazing August sun, Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf practiced the politics of friendly with red-shirted members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers at Solis-Cohen Elementary School.

Union members, hoping that a Wolf win would translate into more school resources, posed for pictures and shook hands Wednesday with the man who current polling says will overtake Gov. Corbett in November.

City controller calls on District to display locked-away art

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on Aug 27, 2014 04:36 PM

Philadelphia's city controller is calling on the School District to display some long-hidden works of art. Valuable pieces have been sitting in storage for years.

Controller Alan Butkovitz says the District should put on display about 200 pieces of art now in storage. The collection includes paintings by Thomas Eakins and N.C. Wyeth. Altogether, Butkovitz says, they could be worth $4 million to $8 million.

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