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Under fire as 'ghost employee,' Pa. education adviser Tomalis to step down

By Mary Wilson via NewsWorks on Aug 12, 2014 03:39 PM

An education adviser to Gov. Corbett is stepping down from his post, weeks after a newspaper report found little evidence that he was working.

Ron Tomalis' resignation letter includes a list of his accomplishments as a special adviser on higher education in Pennsylvania. Those accomplishments were called into question by a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report last month that found little in schedule documents, phone logs, or interviews to suggest that Tomalis had been doing much in his job, which paid nearly $140,000 a year.

MLK High conflict-resolution staff seek facetime with incoming freshmen

By Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks on Aug 12, 2014 12:07 PM

Do the right thing.

Since the beginning of summer, Kim Ivery has relayed the simple — but heartfelt — wish countless times to her daughter Lexus, a rising freshman.

She desperately wants her youngest to start fresh after a rocky middle school experience.

"You're going to high school now," she's told her. "You're becoming a young lady. All that fighting and stuff, you have to leave it behind."

Youth United for Change finds new leader

By Marilyn Vaccaro on Aug 11, 2014 12:07 PM
Rapheal Randall was named executive director of Youth United for Change.

The application process was intensive, but Youth United for Change has selected Rapheal Randall as its new executive director.

Randall, 33, replaces longtime leader Andi Perez, who recently stepped down after 16 years with the organization. YUC made the announcement last week and plans to introduce the new leader to supporters and the broader community very soon.

Randall was chosen from more than 50 applicants by a search committee made up of YUC staff, board members, and alumni, according to a YUC news release.

Notes from the news, Aug.11

By thenotebook on Aug 11, 2014 08:59 AM

Philly parents anxiously await school funding - or dire decision by District. NewsWorks

Fate of Philadelphia's School Year Hangs In Balance. CBS Philly

Minority students no longer minority in U.S. schools, projections show. AP

Amid annual budget crises, faith in public education fades. Inquirer

In Philly schools' bleak season, a summer camp shines. Inquirer

Teen Girl Leads Philly Little League Baseball Team to Little League World Series

Phila. champs head to World Series on wave of good fellowship Inquirer

Philly's own Taney Dragons are THE feel-good story of the summer! Parents United

Unscrambling autism laws. Inquirer

National survey shows increase in summer program participation. Notebook

From the archives: Fed up with gay-bashing: How one student responds. Notebook

District launches annual registration service for immigrant families. Notebook

Teach for America shows it's learned a lesson about diversity: Now, what's next? The Hechinger Report

Q&A with author Elizabeth Green: Great teachers needs 'specialized skills and knowledge'. The Hechinger Report

In Atlanta, Jury Selection Is Set to Begin in Test Scandal. New York Times

Why race-based affirmative action in college admissions still matters. The Washington Post

Arne Duncan's new 'top advisers'. The Washington Post

The Teaching Life - They Grow Up. Practical Theory

News Summary from Keystone State Education Coalition

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Notes from the news

Philly parents anxiously await funding - and decision on opening of schools

By Kevin McCorry for Newsworks on Aug 8, 2014 06:42 PM

Decision day looms on the horizon.

In one week, the Philadelphia School District will announce its plans to deal with its $81 million budget gap.

Without additional funding, Superintendent William Hite says he will be forced to choose between two bad options: either lay off 1,300 staffers, mostly teachers, or save money by shortening the school year.

This could happen by opening schools late or closing early.

National survey shows increase in summer program participation

By Hina Fathima on Aug 8, 2014 03:03 PM

Summer learning programs are showing growing popularity among families, according to a national survey conducted by the Afterschool Alliance, an organization that advocates for afterschool programs.

The survey, which collected data from nearly 14,000 U.S. households, indicates that 33 percent of parents nationwide sent at least one child to a summer learning program in 2013, compared to 25 percent in 2009. About 51 percent of parents surveyed said that they wanted their child to participate in such programs if a high-quality option was made available.

From the archives: Fed up with gay-bashing: How one student responds

By thenotebook on Aug 8, 2014 01:06 PM

The Notebook was launched in 1994 as a newspaper committed to ensuring quality and equity in Philadelphia public schools. We celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first publication this spring. We are featuring an article from our archives each week, shedding light on both the dramatic changes that have taken place in public education and the persistent issues facing Philadelphia's school system.

This piece by an 11-year-old student is from the Winter 2000 print edition:

Editors' note: The Notebook's normal policy is not to accept anonymous submissions, but the student who submitted this piece was only comfortable with our publishing it on the condition of anonymity. We publish it in hopes that more young people will some day soon feel comfortable expressing these viewpoints openly and without fear.

"You're gay." That is what I have been hearing for six years - ever since I started school. Kids say those words as a way to insult each other.

But it always bothered me because I know people who are gay. When people use the words "You're gay," it makes it seem like there's something wrong with being gay. I never thought that was right.

District launches annual registration service for immigrant families

By Cathy Quero on Aug 8, 2014 10:12 AM

Students new to the city who speak a language other than English need not worry about figuring out how to register for school. Once again, the District has launched its annual Special Registration and Assessment service for these students and their parents, giving them an opportunity to receive help with the enrollment process.

The path forward: Q&A with Lisa Haver

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Aug 7, 2014 05:06 PM

Lisa Haver, a retired teacher and a founder of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools (APPS), is a fixture at School Reform Commission meetings and a consistent advocate for transparency, adequate funding, and a strong union role in public education.

“Public schools must continue to be a civic enterprise where district policies and decisions are formulated in public forums,” says the APPS mission statement, “not a financial enterprise controlled by corporate interests."

Key questions and answers on the budget crisis

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 7, 2014 04:29 PM

Notebook editors Paul Socolar and Dale Mezzacappa prepared a question-and-answer sheet, updating the budget crisis for distribution at E! Day, the District's annual back-to-school event to be held Friday at School of the Future. This is the event at which the District holds workshops and gives out information to families, as well as free book bags. 

Following is the Q&A, and here is a link to the actual flyer. Feel free to copy and distribute. 


What’s this about the schools not opening on time this fall?

The School District relies primarily on revenue from the city and the state to operate. Right now it does not have enough money to meet its expenses. This is because over the last several years, it has lost a lot of state aid while some of its costs continue to rise – and city and state leaders disagree over who is responsible to provide the necessary funds.

Corbett advances cash to Philly schools, but budget gap is unchanged

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 6, 2014 02:04 PM

Gov. Corbett is authorizing a $265 million advance to the Philadelphia School District.

This is an early disbursement of money that the district was already scheduled to receive, and thus does not erase the district's $81 million budget gap.

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