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State can't dismiss complaints filed by Philly school parents

By David Limm on Jun 19, 2015 05:11 PM

Commonwealth Court has ruled that the state cannot dismiss complaints about inadequate conditions in Philadelphia District schools that opened and operated under a "doomsday budget" adopted in 2013, if they pertain to curriculum flaws.

One of these things is not like the others

By Jenny Walker on Jun 19, 2015 11:08 AM

Do you ever feel like you don’t fit in? Maybe you feel a little different from the people around you? Then you should read Gaston, a fabulous picture book written by Kelly Dipucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson.

This is the story of a pup named Gaston. He looks different from his brothers and sisters. He’s much bigger, a little bit rougher, and there’s just something about him that makes him stand out. One day, when Gaston and his family visit the park, they see a family that is in a similar situation. In fact, Gaston sees a family that looks a lot like him. And would you believe that the other family has a pup that looks more like Gaston's siblings than Gaston?

10 things that are necessary for school nursing to work

By Eileen DiFranco on Jun 19, 2015 11:05 AM

I've removed my family pictures from the wall and taken home my nameplate. As much as I've loved my job, it is clearly time for me to go. As I head into retirement, I thought I’d take a page from David Letterman's playbook. I present to you my own "Top 10 Things Necessary for School Nursing to Work," based upon my 25 years as a nurse in the School District of Philadelphia.



A superintendent like former boots-on-the-ground leader, fellow Philadelphian, and educator par excellence Dr. Constance Clayton, who was driven by the needs of children rather than by data. Data, as you know, can prove whatever you want it to prove.

SRC outsources substitute teaching, approves five new charters

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 18, 2015 08:50 PM

The School Reform Commission approved a two-year, $34 million contract to outsource substitute teaching on Thursday, a move that District officials said would result in more learning time for thousands of students a day.

The SRC vote was unanimous, despite concerns about contracting out District jobs raised by City Council – which is holding back $25 million in city funding in part over this issue – and vehement opposition from the teachers' union.

City Council passes school tax bills; conditions for $25 million still not clear

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 18, 2015 04:46 PM

City Council passed bills Thursday that increase various tax rates to raise $70 million for the School District, but won't decide until September on conditions for releasing $25 million of those funds. 

Council President Darrell Clarke said that Council intends to get more answers on how the District will spend new money after it comes back from its summer recess.  

Bipartisan panel calls for a new formula to divvy up Pa. education aid

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jun 18, 2015 04:39 PM

A bipartisan Pennsylvania commission unanimously recommended a new school funding formula Thursday that would account for several student-weighted factors including poverty.

The proposed formula — which would affect only new spending — calls for Pennsylvania to provide districts with predictable, student-weighted funding that accounts for enrollment changes, poverty, English as a second language learners, and enrollment in charter schools.

Changes at Pa. School for the Deaf upset some parents and advocates

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jun 18, 2015 03:29 PM

Changes at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf in Northwest Philadelphia are rankling many in the school community.

To boost literacy, a push for more summer reading

By Samantha Weiss on Jun 18, 2015 02:03 PM

The citywide literacy initiative READ! by 4th kicked off its summer reading campaign, called Summer of Wonder, against the backdrop of a mural at Alexander K. McClure Elementary School on Wednesday. 

MLK High School graduates 227 students

By Bastiaan Slabbers on Jun 18, 2015 12:24 PM

Two hundred and twenty-seven students graduated from Martin Luther King High School on Tuesday evening. The ceremony, which was held at Temple University's Liacouras Center, also marked the graduation of 74 students who began high school at the now-shuttered Germantown High.

Look past a school's numbers to the real, human stories

By Julio C. Núñez on Jun 18, 2015 10:53 AM

In education, there are two stories. One story is told through numbers, often painting a picture of schools as under-resourced. Then there is the story told through personal experience, where students, parents, teachers, and other educators share anecdotes about the challenges of ensuring a quality education for all.  

In many cases, particularly in urban schools like Julia de Burgos Elementary School, a K-8 school in North Philadelphia, these accounts are contradictory. Educators know it, and at times they appear to be the only ones who truly understand the real stories behind some of the city’s schools.

Long SRC agenda Thursday includes new charters and outsourcing of subs

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 17, 2015 06:08 PM

The School Reform Commission is scheduled to vote Thursday on a $34 million, two-year contract with Cherry Hill-based Source4Teachers to provide substitute service to city schools.

The SRC is also scheduled to vote on the agreements for five new charter schools and renewals for five Renaissance charters: four Mastery schools, as well as Universal Daroff.

Preserving the watershed: Hands-on curriculum gives students an early start

By Greg Windle on Jun 17, 2015 12:01 PM

Beakers filled with muddy brown water stood on the tables in the cafeteria at the Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School, each surrounded by four intent 6th graders. Their task: purify the water, make it run clear.

The groups all had the same set of supplies: a cotton ball, screen, coffee filter, funnel, sand, gravel, and a graduated cylinder.

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