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Former Bok principal surrenders credentials in cheating scandal

By Dale Mezzacappa on Sep 10, 2014 02:10 PM

Arthur "Larry" Melton, the retired principal of the now-defunct Bok Technical High School, has become the seventh Philadelphia principal to face official punishment as a result of a probe into widespread PSSA test cheating in the Philadelphia School District. 

Melton, who was at Bok for a decade, surrendered his teaching and administrative credentials in July, according to a state website that reveals disciplinary actions against educators.

The notice of action states that he "violated the integrity and security of PSSA testing for multiple years."

Philly parents file suit against Pa. Department of Education

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 10, 2014 01:47 PM

Overcrowded classrooms, a shortage of guidance counselors, a lack of proper coursework.

These are among the reasons parents in the Philadelphia School District filed a lawsuit this week in Commonwealth Court against the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Parent Tim Allen sent his son to Bodine High based on its reputation as a high-achieving magnet school with an international focus.

But budget cuts in the last few years slashed faculty to the point that the school had just one foreign language teacher and classroom overcrowding was widespread.

33 new computers come to Emlen just in time for the new school year

By Marcus McCarthy for NewsWorks on Sep 10, 2014 12:53 PM

Balloons lined the hallways of Eleanor Emlen Elementary School on Friday.

The school's new computer lab opened in a ceremony that included City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, State Rep. Cherelle Parker and community members.

School dinosaurs

The school's 26 computers — many older than the students themselves — were replaced during the summer by 33 new iMac desktops at the K-5 public school in Mount Airy.

Coalitions can change the game for Philadelphia schools

By Jody Cohen and Nick Palazzolo on Sep 10, 2014 10:54 AM

As we begin a new school year and approach a gubernatorial election, let’s celebrate the work of teachers, students, parents, community members, labor unions, and faith communities in Philadelphia who are coming together to improve education in our city. Never before have people from so many sectors of the city joined together to pursue their common goal: high-quality education for all.

The Notebook Fall Guide to High Schools is now available

By the Notebook on Sep 10, 2014 10:12 AM

The Notebook's Fall Guide to High Schools is out. Read it online or pick up a copy to get up-to-date on the daunting process that is applying to high schools in the Philadelphia School District. 

If you work in a school or a community group and need copies in bulk to hand out to middle school students and their parents or guardians, please email us. Just let us know where you're from and how many copies you need, and you can pick them up at our office.

Notebook staffers will also be handing out copies of the guide at the District's High School Fair, taking place at Drexel's Armory on Oct. 17 and 18. Please drop by our table and chat with us if you can. 

Pa. Republicans flog Corbett's Common Core call as politics, not policy

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 9, 2014 05:18 PM

Want to boil the blood of some Pennsylvania voters? Utter four words: "Common Core State Standards."

For those leery of all things federal, all things Obama, the push to align academic expectations on a consistent, nationwide basis causes heart rates to rise exponentially.

This week, Republicans in the Pennsylvania House are accusing Gov. Corbett, also a Republican, of preying on those fears in a political move during election season that they say undercuts sound policy.

See MacArthur winner Angela Duckworth talk about the power of grit

By Wendy Harris on Sep 9, 2014 03:48 PM

Want to know the recipe for success? Angela Lee Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania associate professor of psychology and MacArthur "genius" award winner, will deliver a lecture Thursday about the power of grit in reaching your life goals and aspirations.

With city support, District schools offered scaled-back summer programs

By Connie Langland on Sep 9, 2014 02:09 PM

The School Reform Commission has given a tip of the hat, so to speak, to the city’s longstanding commitment to in-school programming for children who might otherwise have been disengaged across the long summer break.

In a resolution at its August meeting, the SRC accepted “with appreciation” out-of-school time (OST) services from the city with a value of about $11.5 million. The sum represents the value of both summer and school-year programming sponsored by the city.

Corbett urges review as part of effort to 'roll back' Common Core

By Andrew Ujifusa of Education Week on Sep 9, 2014 11:49 AM

Pennsylvania's Gov. Corbett has released a somewhat ambiguous statement about the future of the Common Core State Standards in that state, saying he has asked for a "continued public review" of the standards as part of the "final phase" of a three-year process to "roll back" the standards in the Keystone State.

In his Sept. 8 statement, Corbett said that he has asked his state K-12 chief, Carolyn Dumaresq, to ask the state Board of Education to hold hearings immediately on the state's academic standards. The goal, he said, is to ensure that Pennsylvania begins new academic standards with the help of national experts, teachers, and parents.

Casey, nurses stress need for health professionals in schools

By Taunya English for NewsWorks on Sep 9, 2014 09:44 AM

With the deaths of two Philadelphia schoolchildren still in the news, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is proposing more funding for school nurses.

Facing tight budgets, the Philadelphia School District has trimmed its roster of school nurses.

Casey gathered health workers at 30th Street Station on Monday to make his case for enough funding to restore those ranks.

Notes from the news, Sept. 9

By the Notebook on Sep 9, 2014 09:28 AM

Students return to Philly schools amid funding concerns. Daily News

First day of school inspires fears and hopes. NewsWorks

Phila. schools open amid a mixture of hope and looming layoffs. Inquirer

Classes start for 135,000 public-school students. Tribune

Philly schools open with celebration masking concern. Al Día

Court to hear arguments Phila. district violated Pa. constitution. Inquirer

A second chance at reinventing the high school experienceNotebook

Students' voices are heard at a rally for more Pa. school funding. NewsWorks

Phila. Public School Advocates Keep Pressure on Corbett For School Funding. CBS Philly

Kids, protestors are back to school. Metro

Casey, nurses stress need for health professionals in schools. NewsWorks

Casey sponsors bill to increase number of school nurses. Inquirer

Call Widens For More School Nurses. CBS Philly

Philly School District, Department of Justice Reach Settlement in Beard-Length Lawsuit. NBC10

GOOD SCHOOL NEWS. REALLY: Violence is down, innovation up. And there is such a thing as a free lunch. Daily News

New principal of Houston Elementary: 'If we build it, they will come' NewsWorks

Whose Somebody are you? An exercise for the first day of class. Notebook

Is Corbett doing an about-face on state's Common Core? Morning Call

News summary from Keystone State Education Coalition


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Notes from the news

First day of school inspires fears and hopes

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 8, 2014 06:20 PM

Ben Franklin High School student Brian Burney arrived at school early on the first day of classes.

Before the first bell, he joined a crowd of education activists gathered on North Broad Street to raise awareness of the plight of Philadelphia public schools.

Students' voices are heard at a rally for more Pa. school funding

By Holly Otterbein for NewsWorks on Sep 8, 2014 04:49 PM

As Philadelphia students returned to school Monday, children's advocates rallied outside Gov. Corbett's Center City office to rebuke him for not spending more on education.

The city's public schools are opening with a scarcity of guidance counselors, nurses, and funding for supplies.

Whose Somebody are you? An exercise for the first day of class

By Timothy Boyle on Sep 8, 2014 01:05 PM

Back in the summer of 2012, I was between schools, having left after five years the first school that I worked in. I wrote every day, along with the 19 other teachers who took part in the Philadelphia Writing Project's summer institute. The experience changed my life. 

I spent a lot of time with my colleagues, examining my practice and planning the kind of classroom that I wanted to teach in. After talking about what it means to have a student-centered class, I wrote a letter to my future students.

This year, I plan on using the letter again. This year, it seems much more important. When classes resume, kids will undoubtedly know that their school almost didn’t open on time because adults can’t figure out how to give them what they need and deserve. They will also be wondering about who in America does and doesn't value their lives.

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