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SRC set to adopt budget considerably smaller than what it sought

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 30, 2015 05:06 PM

Updated | 6 p.m. 

The School Reform Commission will vote Thursday on a 2015-16 budget of $2.8 billion, while giving Superintendent William Hite authorization to spend $2.67 billion of that pending the state's completion of its own highly contentious budget.

Can parents help parents treat students with serious emotional disturbances?

By Paul Jablow on Jun 30, 2015 02:27 PM

Achieving greater parent and caregiver involvement for students receiving behavioral health treatment services is a main goal for behavioral health workers and the School District in the coming school year.

In this Q&A with the Notebook, Kamilah Jackson, deputy chief medical officer of child and adolescent services at Community Behavioral Health, the city’s mental health agency; and Valarie Oulds, program manager at the department, discuss a pilot behavioral health treatment service funded primarily by Medicaid. Starting in five elementary schools in the fall, the new program will hire parents who have experience navigating the behavioral health system themselves.

Making sense of Pa. school funding: Budgets, formulas and stalemates

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jun 29, 2015 09:24 PM

As Pennsylvania's July 1 budget deadline nears, state education funding for schools is still a question mark.

Over the weekend, legislators held 12-hour sessions and advocates flooded the Capitol in Harrisburg to work on a deal, but Democrats and Republicans have shot down each other's plans. Swirling through the budget debate are two questions that will have a big impact on schools' bottom lines: How much money should the state contribute to education this year? And what should be done with the new education funding formula?

A challenge to expanding learning time: Giving teachers time to plan

By Sarah Glen for Chalkbeat on Jun 29, 2015 05:46 PM

Michelle Gunderson used to look forward to her weekly training sessions about how to work with struggling readers.

One morning per week, she and her fellow first-grade teachers at Nettelhorst Elementary School in Chicago would cycle through each other’s classrooms to discuss useful strategies and to see up close the visual aids that others were using.

Grant to help five Mount Airy schools with early literacy

By Greg Windle on Jun 29, 2015 01:57 PM

The Mount Airy Schools Coalition announced a new neighborhood-wide early literacy campaign last week, with the goal of having all students reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade.

The campaign, called Mount Airy Reads, is funded in large part by a $245,000 grant from the Lenfest Foundation. The money will provide five elementary schools  --  A.B. Day, Emlen, C.W. Henry, Houston, and Lingelbach -- with books, professional development, and teacher coaching.

ISTE 2015: Ed-tech leadership, maker education, and professional learning

By Benjamin Herold for Education Week on Jun 26, 2015 05:29 PM

The country's largest educational technology conference kicks off this weekend, with roughly 18,000 educators, vendors, and advocates set to convene here for four-plus days of swapping classroom strategies, playing with gadgets, and diving into the sweeping policy changes that are reshaping digital learning in K-12 schools.

Among the big themes: the importance of shared responsibility when it comes to effectively integrating technology into the classroom.

Less than $11,000 to go – Donate today to help the Notebook!

By Paul Socolar on Jun 26, 2015 04:52 PM

Thanks to more than 100 contributions from our readers and a $10,000 matching gift, the Notebook has made it two-thirds of the way to the year-end fundraising target of $45,000.

Why ending seniority-based layoffs now is a bad idea

By Adam Schott on Jun 26, 2015 03:25 PM

Pennsylvania’s education workforce has declined by more than 20,000 as a result of inadequate state funding and rising state mandates. A recent budget survey found that more than 40 percent of the state's school districts plan further staff reductions in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Rather than attack the core issue -- that the state has one of the nation’s most inadequate and chaotic school funding systems -- some Harrisburg legislators are fixated on a further hollowing-out of our public schools. 

Sponsored by State Rep. Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland), House Bill 805, which passed the State House on a mainly party-line vote on Tuesday, would scrap longstanding policy that requires school districts to base furlough decisions on reverse order of teacher seniority. Instead, districts would be compelled to make personnel decisions based on teachers' most recent performance evaluations.

Students tell their stories: A chess expert nearly lost to the system

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 26, 2015 10:18 AM

In researching our edition on "boosting graduation rates for all," the Notebook interviewed young people who had dropped out and were now reengaging in school. We asked why they left, why they returned, and what obstacles they face. Some described heartbreaking personal situations and herculean struggles. But all displayed hope and optimism about their futures. They were all eager to tell their stories.

District extends successful STEM program to middle years

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jun 25, 2015 08:13 PM

STEM, the acronym for science, technology, engineering and math, is a big buzzword in education.

It's also a main selling point for the expansion of one of the School District of Philadelphia's elite magnet schools, George Washington Carver High School of Engineering & Science, down into the 7th and 8th grades.

Contemplating Philly's portfolio school model after a year of closures, openings

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jun 25, 2015 03:35 PM

Philadelphia's public education strategy rests heavily on offering a wide variety of schools and school operators from which families can choose. At first glance, having these rich options seems like a no-brainer.

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