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2 North Philly schools to undergo massive staffing changes in hopes of 'turnaround'

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 03/10/2014 - 20:55 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

Two elementary schools in North Philadelphia will undergo massive staffing changes before the 2014-15 school year in an attempt to transform school culture and student performance.

Blaine Elementary in Strawberry Mansion and W.D. Kelley Elementary in Brewerytown have been selected for what the Philadelphia School District is calling a "District-led Renaissance turnaround."

Teachers at both schools must reapply for their jobs. At least 50 percent of the teaching staff at each school won't be recalled.

The move is designed to give increased flexibility to the schools' principals.

Mayor's budget fails to provide solutions. Here's what our schools need.

Submitted by Helen Gym on Mon, 03/10/2014 - 14:43 Posted in Commentary | Permalink

After listening to the mayor’s budget address on Thursday, I had to wonder the last time elected officials had visited our schools to do some real fact-finding.

In case a reminder is needed, our schools are barely schools anymore.

Is it fair to send our children to schools where the student-to-counselor ratio is 1,200 to 1? Or where a school staff person balances insulin-shot injections, phone-call duties, and administrative filings because we’ve eliminated so many nurses, office staff, and assistant principals?

All-city high school music festival tonight

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 03/10/2014 - 14:03 Posted in Events | Permalink

More than 400 student musicians from the city's public schools will perform tonight at the Kimmel Center for the annual All-Philadelphia High School Music Festival.

Kevon Clowers, a senior from the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, will showcase his talent on the trombone as winner of the citywide concerto competition.    

The concert is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. The event begins at 7:30 p.m.

U.S. sues School District over beard policy

Submitted by thenotebook on Fri, 03/07/2014 - 12:18 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Emma Jacobs for NewsWorks

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit against the Philadelphia School District over a grooming policy that it says violates employees' religious freedom.

The agency filed the Title VII challenge on behalf of a Muslim school police officer who was asked to trim his beard.

Principals hear contract pitch that includes major salary reductions

Submitted by thenotebook on Fri, 03/07/2014 - 00:09 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

In the Philadelphia School District, Friday might be an especially bad day to be called to the principal's office.

On Thursday night, the union representing District principals and other school administrators heard the details of a tentative deal struck between union leadership and the District.

If accepted, the deal would cut salaries by as much as 17 percent and would include health-care concessions.

Nutter's budget has some interesting questions to be answered in hearings

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 03/06/2014 - 18:45 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks

Mayor Nutter presented a $3.8 billion budget proposal to Philadelphia City Council this morning that funds some modest service increases. But the mayor's plans for school funding and selling the city-owned Philadelphia Gas Works will face political obstacles.

The needs of the city's public schools have posed a perennial budget headache for this mayor, and this year is no exception.

Mayor proposes $153 million in new funds, less than Hite's request

Submitted by Paul Socolar on Thu, 03/06/2014 - 14:45 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

Philadelphia's Mayor Nutter, in his annual budget proposal, addressed the dire needs of a School District that again faces an enormous budget deficit by proposing $153 million in additional funding for next year. That amount, if realized, still falls short of the District's request.

The District is turning to the state and city for a combined $440 million. It is counting on $120 million of that to replace funds that were promised and raised last year but were not recurring. And to cover rising costs while taking some steps toward his aspirational vision for the District, Hite has asked for a great deal more. The price tag attached to the first year of Action Plan 2.0, as it's called, is $320 million. A quarter of that amount will be used just to cover unavoidable annual increases in expenses.

Hite has said he wants the city to dig deeper by providing the $120 million promised to the District last year in the form of an extension of a sales tax surcharge and an additional $75 million to help fund his Action Plan.

Deadline Friday to comment on District's proposed new charter policy

Submitted by Dale Mezzacappa on Wed, 03/05/2014 - 17:50 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

The School District is proposing an overhaul of its charter school authorizing policy to make it more rigorous and consistent and is seeking public comment on the changes.

The deadline for providing such comment is this Friday, March 7. Comments can be recorded here. Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn said the proposed policy will be revised to take the feedback into account.

Specifically, the proposed rules are aimed to support high-quality charters and close underperforming ones, while offering more frequent monitoring, more transparency, and the opportunity for expansion to charters that meet new, higher standards and academic benchmarks.

Mayor's report cites progress and priorities in education

Submitted by David Limm on Wed, 03/05/2014 - 16:03 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

Mayor Nutter has released a report that sums up his administration's accomplishments over the last six years and lays out priorities for the remaining two. 

In education, the mayor says that Philadelphia increased its contribution to city schools by $155 million since 2010 to help alleviate the District's fiscal turmoil. 

Special election in May to fill Green's old Council seat

Submitted by thenotebook on Tue, 03/04/2014 - 17:43 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks

There will be a special Philadelphia City Council election in May to fill Bill Green's now-vacant seat.

Stephen Starr asks diners to donate to Philly schools

Submitted by thenotebook on Tue, 03/04/2014 - 15:59 Posted in Latest news | Permalink


by Jeseamy Muentes

Restaurateur Stephen Starr is asking diners to tack a little extra onto their bills to help support the cash-strapped School District.

Over the next four weeks, and possibly longer, patrons of Starr's 21 Philadelphia restaurants -- which he estimates at 40,000 a week -- will be alerted to the fundraising campaign and be given the option of donating money by adding to the bill's total. Starr made the announcement along with Superintendent William Hite on Tuesday at Starr's Rittenhouse Square eatery Parc.  

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