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District kicks off $30 million push for early literacy

By Dale Mezzacappa for the Notebook and Kevin McCorry for Newsworks on Jul 7, 2015 11:27 AM

Close to 700 K-3 teachers from 40 District schools are attending a weeklong summer institute at Martin Luther King High School in East Germantown, learning best practices for teaching students how to read.

Join or renew your membership today to win 'Art of the Brick' tickets

By Lauren Wiley on Jul 7, 2015 09:15 AM

The Notebook is closing in on its $45,000 fundraising goal. Help us today by joining as a member or renewing your membership with a donation of $40 or more. The first two readers who join or renew will each receive a pair of tickets to the Franklin Institute's "Art of the Brick" exhibit.

Summer activities for kids and families | Week of July 6

By Michaela Ward on Jul 6, 2015 12:03 PM

Across the city, there are lots of ways to keep kids learning over the summer. To save parents the constant scramble of looking for fun, educational activities for their children, we're compiling a weekly list of free and low-cost activities and programs that will have parents relieved to know their kids can be physically active and intellectually engaged even while school is out. 

Mayor, Council, PFT, District, charters join in asking state for new funds

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 2, 2015 05:10 PM

Putting aside their usual bickering over what the School District deserves and how it spends its money, the city's key education players sent a joint letter to the Philadelphia legislative delegation Thursday "in unified support of restoring critically needed state funds" that will benefit students. 

How did Superintendent Hite fare on his performance review?

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 2, 2015 03:04 PM

William Hite, nearing the end of his third year as superintendent, got positive marks from the School Reform Commission in his annual performance review.

He was eligible for a $60,000 bonus, but declined to take it, citing the District's budget woes.

Brush up on your knowledge of school funding in Pa.

By David Limm on Jul 2, 2015 01:50 PM

The ongoing budget stalemate in Harrisburg has left school districts across Pennsylvania in the dark about how much state money they'll be getting. 

With a new governor, a new proposed funding formula, and constant disagreement about how schools should be funded, lots of changes are afoot in Pennsylvania's education system. 

As we head into the July 4th weekend, why not take some time to brush up on the ABCs and XYZs of education funding in Pennsylvania? Below are 14 pieces, most including a podcast, that NewsWorks and the Notebook put together for Multiple Choices, a series that explains the major aspects of the state's complex, puzzling, and unequal education funding system.

Out-of-school resource center leaves Penn for new home

By Michaela Ward on Jul 2, 2015 12:55 PM

After being housed at the University of Pennsylvania for almost 12 years, the Out-of-School Time Resource Center (OSTRC) has found a new home.  

On July 1, the center moved most of its programming from Penn’s School of Social Policy and Practice to Foundations Inc., an education nonprofit in Mount Laurel, N.J. 

Unsanitary, unsafe conditions found in Philadelphia schools

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jul 1, 2015 08:24 PM

Periodically, city officials shine a spotlight on the condition of school buildings in the School District of Philadelphia. Not for the first time, what they saw isn't pretty.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz's office visited 20 schools between October and March. The inspectors' findings, detailed in a report that came out Wednesday, included electrical hazards, water damage, and permanently clogged toilets.

According to the report, some problems showed up in a lot of the schools:

Paul Kihn, Hite's deputy, leaving District

By the Notebook on Jul 1, 2015 06:51 PM

Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn, the District's second-ranking official, is leaving his position in three weeks, spokesman Fernando Gallard confirmed on Wednesday.

Kihn, who earned $210,000 a year, is leaving for personal reasons. His wife took a job in Washington, D.C. He had been cutting back his time in the office and telecommuting at least one day a week. The couple have two small children.

Fund drive extended as we near our goal

By Lauren Wiley on Jul 1, 2015 03:00 PM

The Notebook's June fundraising campaign, which launched at our annual celebration on June 9, has been extended with the goal of reaching $45,000. We raised more than $37,000 in June – more than 80 percent of our goal – making it our best month ever for individual donations. We are confident that we can achieve our goal with the help of our readers.

Philadelphia's universal pre-K commission begins work

By Bill Hangley for NewsWorks on Jul 1, 2015 11:25 AM

Philadelphia's push to make high-quality preschool available citywide has taken another step with the inaugural meeting of the Mayor's Commission on Universal Pre-Kindergarten.

The 17-member commission, established by a voter referendum in May, now faces a long list of questions, including where preschool programs should be located and who should be hired to provide them.

School District passes an austere – but hopeful – budget

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jul 1, 2015 08:15 AM

With a final budget from Harrisburg missing in action, the Philadelphia School District adopted its own budget just before the final deadline.

At a relatively brief School Reform Commission meeting, the District's chief financial officer, Matthew Stanski, laid out the budget's premise: "We will need at least $18 million from the state in order to maintain, as we like to say, the inadequate, status quo budget levels that our schools are currently operating under." 

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