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CTE Success Stories: 'It prepares you for whatever comes'

By Michaela Ward on Sep 4, 2015 12:19 PM

For Jeremy Estes, taking career and technical education classes meant something more than what a syllabus or test score can capture. It made him feel good about going to class.

“It gave me more motivation to go to school," he said. "All my friends were in that class. It felt like family.”

Estes graduated in 2014 from George Washington High School. He was enrolled in the Sports Marketing & Management program, which provides instruction in entrepreneurship, business economics, human relations, and related fields.

Estes said that his reasons for joining the program in 10th grade were simple.

Application cycle for new charter schools now open, District says

By Wendy Harris on Sep 3, 2015 04:23 PM

The School District of Philadelphia announced today that the 2015-16 application cycle for new charter schools is now open.

The application cycle applies to new, "non-Renaissance" charters. Those interested in launching a charter school can fill out an application online through the District’s Charter Schools Office. Deadline to submit an application is at 5 p.m. on Nov. 15.   

'Glen’s Village' wins best short documentary at AMFM Fest in Arizona

By the Notebook on Sep 3, 2015 11:34 AM

Since its release in May, Glen’s Village, a 30-minute documentary film that tackles the issue of childhood trauma, has gained attention locally from teachers, students, mental health specialists, and parents. Now, the film is winning acclaim outside of Philadelphia. In its festival circuit premiere, Glen’s Village received the Best Short Documentary Award at AMFM Fest: Flagstaff on Aug. 30 in Arizona.

Even with no pay, Chester Upland teachers and staff upbeat on first day of school

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Sep 2, 2015 08:50 PM

Last week, Chester Upland School District receiver Francis Barnes and Superintendent Gregory Shannon announced that the district doesn't have the funds to make payroll. Without dollars trickling down from the state, the district is in dire financial straits.

PSSA scores drop, as expected; Keystones largely flat

By Dale Mezzacappa on Sep 2, 2015 03:36 PM

Updated | 5:30 p.m.

Student proficiency rates in Philadelphia District schools in math and language arts dropped precipitously on PSSA tests in 2015 from the prior year, reflecting the rollout of a new test and following a statewide trend.

Just 17 percent of students grades 3 through 8 scored proficient in math, down from 46 percent the year before. In language arts, the rates went from 43 percent to 32 percent. Science stayed steady at 37 percent.

In a press release, the District said the new state tests "differ significantly from the tests given in 2014" and are based on "more challenging content and skills." It said that an "apples to apples" comparison is "not appropriate."

CTE Success Stories: An HVAC mechanic who beat the odds

By Michaela Ward on Aug 31, 2015 02:31 PM

When Luis Maldonado first heard about the HVAC & Refrigeration Technology CTE program at Edison High School, he was simply passing his lunchtime with a friend who was already in the class.

“For lunch we’d hang out in the shop and he’d teach me what Mr. Zimak had taught him,” Maldonado recalled.  

This preview of the HVAC coursework led Maldonado to visiting CTE teacher James Zimak’s shop regularly. At the time, he thought CTE courses were a graduation requirement, so he signed up for Zimak’s class.

Germantown High alumni celebrate shuttered school's centennial

By Bastiaan Slabbers for NewsWorks on Aug 31, 2015 01:28 PM

The 100th anniversary party may have been held in West Philadelphia, but there was no question that the grand ballroom was bursting with Germantown High School pride.

On Saturday night, a black bear — the shuttered school's mascot — welcomed nearly 300 alumni as they celebrated their alma mater's centennial.

Chester Upland can't pay its teachers -- but they're working anyway

By Laura Benshoff for Newsworks on Aug 28, 2015 10:55 PM

Teachers' union president Michele Paulick said she received some unwelcome news at the Chester Upland School District teacher convocation this week.

"Our superintendent, Gregory Shannon, read a letter from our receiver, Francis Barnes, that informed the teachers that there are no funds," said Paulick, who described feeling "shock, frustration and anger" at the news.

Making career and technical education into a first-class option

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Aug 28, 2015 11:35 AM


David Kipphut has a mission: to transform what used to be called vocational education from a second-class backwater to a first-class pathway to prosperity in Philadelphia.

It’s an uphill climb in a cash-strapped district that prioritizes college attainment. Even so, Kipphut has seen significant progress since taking over the Office of Career and Technical Education (CTE) three years ago. Among his favorite examples: the welding program at Randolph High, which just graduated its first cohort.

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