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How do demographics affect performance at public high schools?

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 03/20/2014 - 14:45 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry at NewsWorks

Last week, I wrote a story about Chrislie Dor, a Philadelphia School District student who applied to two District-run magnet high schools.

If accepted, she said, she would attend one of those schools. If not, she said, she'd enroll in a high school run by a charter organization.

SRC to vote Thursday on sale of 7 recently closed school buildings

Submitted by David Limm on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 15:32 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

The District is set to sell seven of its shuttered school buildings for a total of $37 million. The School Reform Commission will vote on resolutions to approve the proposed sales to six buyers at a meeting Thursday night.

Should the SRC approve the sale of all the properties to their proposed buyers, the District would come within $24 million of its stated revenue goal from real estate sales for this fiscal year. 

KIPP: Making the most of extra time

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 03/19/2014 - 13:56 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Paul Jablow

It’s 3 p.m. on a Monday, and all around the city – or the country for that matter – kids are filing out of school, headed for waiting parents or the bus.

Not, however, at the KIPP West Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School. Here, teacher Josie Santiago walks about a room with a dozen 7th and 8th graders, helping them with homework in Spanish, history, math, or other subjects, or with life in general.

“Make eye contact with me,” she tells one student as part of a mini-lecture on slacking off.

New innovative high school gets $2 million from Philadelphia School Partnership

Submitted by thenotebook on Tue, 03/18/2014 - 12:23 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Updated | 3:50 p.m.

The Philadelphia School Partnership announced Tuesday that it will donate $2.6 million in grant funding in the hopes of aiding the creation of 850 new seats in what it deems high-performing District, charter, and Catholic-run schools.

Building 21, a new District-run high school opening in the fall, will receive most of the funding: $2 million in startup cash over four years.

As a non-selective-admission high school, Building 21 will enroll 150 students into its 9th grade in the fall.

Principals ratify contract that includes big salary and health-care concessions

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 03/17/2014 - 17:18 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Members of the union representing Philadelphia School District principals have ratified a new three-year contract that includes significant salary and health-care concessions.

The deal will save the District $20 million over the life of the agreement.

Of members who cast ballots, 83 percent voted to ratify.

The new contract will take most District administrators from a 12-month schedule to a 10-month schedule, cutting their base salaries by about 16 percent.

SRC meeting on English language learners

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 03/17/2014 - 16:11 | Permalink

The topic of tonight's public policy meeting of the School Reform Commission is English language learners. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m.

The District reports that it serves 12,000 ELL students in grades preK-12.

The District has made available on its website various materials related to ELL programs and procedures. They include a chart of District schools showing numbers of ELL students and their English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and bilingual services, as well as an ELL handbook that describes programs, policies and procedures. Parents and others can review the information in those resources before attending tonight's meeting, which will take the form of District-facilitated roundtable discussions. 

Google under fire for data-mining student email messages

Submitted by thenotebook on Fri, 03/14/2014 - 13:32 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Benjamin Herold for Education Week

As part of a potentially explosive lawsuit making its way through federal court, giant online-services provider Google has acknowledged scanning the contents of millions of email messages sent and received by student users of the company’s Apps for Education tool suite for schools.

In the suit, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company also faces accusations from plaintiffs that it went further, crossing a “creepy line” by using information gleaned from the scans to build “surreptitious” profiles of Apps for Education users that could be used for such purposes as targeted advertising.

Veteran educators form a caucus and call for member-driven teachers' union

Submitted by David Limm on Fri, 03/14/2014 - 11:36 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

Seeking to fortify the ranks of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, which is currently waiting out contract negotiations with the School District, a number of veteran teachers and school staff have announced the formation of a group within the union called the Caucus of Working Educators

The caucus, which also includes nurses, counselors, librarians, and other support staff, says it wants to make clear to a district seeking major salary and work-rule concessions that teachers' working conditions translate as students' learning conditions.

The group's platform lists six guiding ideals, the first of which is a union empowered by a strong member base, not by top-down leadership. Other principles include educational equality, transparency, and teacher autonomy.

Advocates call for City Council to change thinking on sales-tax plan for schools

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 03/13/2014 - 18:03 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

A coalition of eight education advocacy groups swarmed City Hall on Thursday, urging City Council to follow a sales-tax extension plan already authorized by the state, which would send $120 million in increased sales-tax revenue to schools.

Under the existing plan, anything more than $120 million raised from extending a one-cent city sales tax would go to the pension system. Current city projections show sales-tax revenue could be as much as $140 million this year.

New Dance eXchange program reaches out to Philly's Andrew Jackson School

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 03/13/2014 - 12:05 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Aurora Jensen

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8!” the kids shouted in unison, while jumping, clapping and stomping rhythmically to the music during the first week of BalletX’s new Dance eXchange program at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in South Philadelphia.

As part of its outreach to under-resourced schools, the young contemporary dance company adopted an innovative curriculum developed by the National Dance Institute (NDI) that is designed to help students build skills and confidence through movement.

“Dance eXchange fulfills a responsibility that BalletX and other arts organizations in Philadelphia have to spread their enthusiasm, experience, and skills to the community," said Christine Cox, the BalletX co-artistic director and the main architect of the program.

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