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A Philly first: No schools on Pa.'s 'persistently dangerous' list

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 3, 2014 06:07 PM

For the first time since the designation has been in place, zero Philadelphia School District schools have been deemed "persistently dangerous" by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

The label has been used since the creation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.

In each of the last four years, reported violent incidents in the District have been on the decline.

One of the best schools in Philly to parents: We need more students

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 3, 2014 02:08 PM

Imagine a public high school in Philadelphia where class sizes are small, test scores are high, and violent incidents are almost non-existent.

Now imagine that the school – the week before school starts – is still begging for more students to enroll.

That's the scenario at Hill-Freedman World Academy in Northwest Philadelphia, known to a few parents as one of the Philadelphia School District's best-kept secrets.

With talks paused, Weingarten tells teachers to work to defeat Corbett

By Dale Mezzacappa on Sep 2, 2014 07:25 PM

There have been no meaningful teachers' contract negotiations all summer because District leaders have declined to schedule any talks, union leaders told several hundred members who came to a general membership meeting Tuesday.

Teachers are returning to school this week without a contract, facing bare-bones conditions in schools but still under pressure to agree to contract changes that would save the District about $30 million.

MLK principal finds 'nothing there' in football recruiting investigation

By Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks on Sep 2, 2014 01:41 PM

There's nothing there.

That's the conclusion that Martin Luther King High School principal William Wade has reached after looking into whether anyone in the community had ever recruited teens to join the school's football squad.

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.

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