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No progress on substitute fill rate this week

By Catherine Offord on Oct 24, 2015 10:19 AM

Editor's note

Ongoing efforts by the School District and its private provider of substitutes, Source4Teachers, are still failing to have a visible impact on the proportion of empty classrooms being filled across Philadelphia, according to the latest figures.

Incentives designed to encourage teachers to take on substitute positions with Source4Teachers in recent weeks have included adjustments to the pay scale and written invitations to retired teachers. But the fill rate in Philadelphia’s classrooms remained at just 20 percent this week.

'Glen's Village' screening at Franklin Institute this weekend

By Wendy Harris on Oct 23, 2015 02:16 PM

Have you seen Glen’s Village yet? If not, you’ve certainly heard the buzz about the 30-minute documentary that focuses on Glen Casey, a 20-year-old West Philadelphia native who found the supports he needed both in and out of school to rise from a life surrounded by drugs and violence, graduate from high school, and become a University of Pennsylvania student.

The film, which has received a series of awards since its release in May, will be screened in Philadelphia at noon on Sunday, Oct. 25, as part of the 18th annual FirstGlance Festival Philadelphia at the Franklin Institute.

The festival, which is held in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, brings independent filmmakers and audiences together to view a variety of feature films, documentaries, and short films. This screening of Glen’s Village will mark its first showing to a public audience in Philadelphia since its release in May and the 11th film festival into which it has been accepted.   

'Education in Black and White' explores issues from 19th century to now

By Logan Mabe on Oct 23, 2015 01:26 PM

Last week, the Moonstone Arts Center held a three-day festival titled “Education in Black & White” as part of its Hidden History project with panel discussions and presentations focusing on the struggle for African American education in the city. They included a historical look at the impact of the Institute for Colored Youth and a modern-day take on the importance of Black teachers for Black students.

“What’s interesting and scary is that these are the same issues in education today as there were 150 years ago,” said Larry Robin, director of Moonstone, introducing the panel talk on the Institute for Colored Youth.

Mayoral candidates diverge on charter schools

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 23, 2015 08:37 AM

As Election Day nears, the two top Philadelphia mayoral candidates have separated widely in their thoughts on charter school expansion.

Democrat Jim Kenney, a former board member of Independence Charter School in Center City, believes that Harrisburg Republicans have pushed charters as a way to starve the traditional system.

District drops plan to outsource health services

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 22, 2015 03:33 PM

In May, the Philadelphia School District asked for outside proposals to help it provide better health services in schools without raising its medical budget.

The District received six proposals, but has now decided not to act on any of them.

"Some of what we found out was: We need to find out more," said Karyn Lynch, chief of student services for Philadelphia schools.

Come to 'Brunch with Paul.' Here's why I'm going.

By Christine Carlson on Oct 22, 2015 03:10 PM

Why am I attending brunch with Paul Socolar?

To be honest, I don’t know Paul all that well. At most, we’ve exchanged polite hellos and chatted briefly at school-related events. However, I’m attending the “Brunch with Paul,” because the Notebook has become an important part of my life.

I wasn’t even aware of the existence of the Notebook until my children started attending public school. Once they did, it didn’t take me long to realize the extent of the dysfunction of the structure, administration, and funding mechanisms that affect our schools. To a newcomer wading into the public school swamp, it was confusing, and I found it hard to determine the motivations of all the parties claiming that children’s needs come first. And that’s when I discovered what a valuable tool the Notebook is in making sense of what’s going on.

Source4Teachers is paid only for teachers it places, according to contract

By Dale Mezzacappa and Greg Windle on Oct 22, 2015 12:20 PM

Editor's note

Critics may get small consolation from the news that Source4Teachers, the firm hired to provide the District's substitute service, is not getting paid by the District for the teachers that it is failing to place in city classrooms.

And the District has incorporated standard language into its contract terms allowing it to terminate its agreement with Source4Teachers "for its convenience" and without penalty, simply by providing the company with 14 days' notice.

A guide to help find your way to college

By Brianna Spause on Oct 22, 2015 10:27 AM

Ready to apply to college? Philadelphia Futures is dedicated to helping students get there with its annual edition of the Step Up to College guide.

The 66-page resource helps students navigate through each stage of preparing for college and applying.

“There is much public discourse currently about the cost of college and equal access to higher education for first-generation-to-college students; however, there is often less focus on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the college admissions process,” said Joan Mazzotti, executive director of Philadelphia Futures.

School officials update City Council

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on Oct 22, 2015 09:10 AM

At a hearing Wednesday on the future of Philadelphia's public schools, City Council heard again about the struggle for resources throughout the District.

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, told Council members that there have been some terrible ideas to overcome those shortfalls, including outsourcing substitute teachers.

District to borrow more to make payroll

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 21, 2015 02:35 PM

As Pennsylvania's budget impasse creeps toward its fifth month, the Philadelphia School District will need to borrow additional money to cover payroll beyond October.

In August, the District borrowed $275 million to get through the first two months of school because of the logjam in the state Capitol – a move that will ultimately cost an additional $1 million in debt service.

Notes from the news, Oct. 21

By the Notebook on Oct 21, 2015 07:27 AM

When level best isn't good enough. Daily News

Elementary students press mayoral candidates on playgrounds, arts, guns. NewsWorks

Mayoral candidates face tough questions - from elementary students. Inquirer

Opinion: Rushed reforms fail our schools.Daily News

Students' reactions to 'Between the World and Me'. Notebook

Chelsea Clinton inspires Philadelphia students. Inquirer

Eighth-grader charts ‘new journey’ at Beeber. The Philadelphia Tribune

Christiana, Phillips-Hill look to scare up support for "ghost busting" bill. The Times

Can ed-tech inequality be solved by roving buses with Wi-Fi and loads of equipment? The Hechinger Report

Old memories, new hopes for former Philly high school grounds. The Philadelphia Tribune

Opinion: Philly schools' confusing background-check policy. Inquirer

News summary from Keystone State Education Coalition

State budget stalemate Day 113:

Wolf says he cannot advance money to strapped public schools. Inquirer

Gov. Wolf says he will not allow funds to go toward struggling school districts until budget is passed. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wolf offers possible path to help Erie schools. Penn Live

End the budget impasse, superintendents tell state. Times-Tribune

Editorial: Time’s up, Harrisburg: Enact a budget for Pa. Lancaster Online

Budget pains linger for Phila. school district. The Philadelphia Tribune

Elementary students press mayoral candidates on playgrounds, arts, guns

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 20, 2015 05:12 PM

What civic issues press on the minds of the city's 4th and 5th graders?

The two top mayoral candidates got a chance to find out Tuesday at an event held at Philadelphia School District headquarters and hosted by the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement.

Students' reactions to 'Between the World and Me'

By Fabiola Cineas on Oct 20, 2015 09:39 AM

As part of the Free Library’s Teen Author Series, high school students from 13 District and charter schools received a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me to read in their English classes and literature clubs. On Friday, they all listened to Coates read from his book at the Free Library.

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