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Long SRC agenda Thursday includes new charters and outsourcing of subs

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 17, 2015 06:08 PM

The School Reform Commission is scheduled to vote Thursday on a $34 million, two-year contract with Cherry Hill-based Source4Teachers to provide substitute service to city schools.

The SRC is also scheduled to vote on the agreements for five new charter schools and renewals for five Renaissance charters: four Mastery schools, as well as Universal Daroff.

Preserving the watershed: Hands-on curriculum gives students an early start

By Greg Windle on Jun 17, 2015 12:01 PM

Beakers filled with muddy brown water stood on the tables in the cafeteria at the Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School, each surrounded by four intent 6th graders. Their task: purify the water, make it run clear.

The groups all had the same set of supplies: a cotton ball, screen, coffee filter, funnel, sand, gravel, and a graduated cylinder.

Silhouettes and stereotypes: KCAPA students explore identity through public art

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jun 17, 2015 10:01 AM

Sometimes art is a vehicle for sharing an idea with others. Other times, the act of making it shows you something about yourself.

More than 70 students at Kensington's High School for the Creative & Performing Arts have spent months working on a series of pieces -- poems, essays, videos, and photographs -- tackling the topic of teen identity.

When it comes to education funding, what's the deal with Philly schools?

By Paul Jablow on Jun 17, 2015 09:36 AM

How much does the Philadelphia School District spend?

The District's budget for the 2014-15 school year is roughly $2.6 billion. The School Reform Commission and Superintendent William Hite have proposed a $2.89 billion plan for the 2015-16 school year, arguing that the additional money is needed to restore vital, basic services.

Notes from the news, June 17

By the Notebook on Jun 17, 2015 09:14 AM

Matching Gift Extended: Donate to the Notebook Today to Double Your Gift. Notebook

Closing of Kensington Urban postponed a year. Notebook

Kensington Urban Education Academy to stay open another year. Inquirer

Council's plan to sell tax liens for school funding questioned. PlanPhilly

When it comes to education funding, what's the deal with Philly schools? Notebook/Keystone Crossroads

Delay in tax appeals hurting city and school budgets. Inquirer

The fair-funding bus tour kicks off. Notebook

Silhouettes and stereotypes: KCAPA students explore identity through public art. NewsWorks

Philadelphia’s All City Orchestra To Embark On Tour Of Italy. CBS Philly

Indecent proposal. Inquirer

Students tell their stories: From dropping out to aspiring to a media career. Notebook

David Jones named city youth poet laureate. Inquirer

Runs in the family: Carver student latest to get full scholarship. Daily News

Educators say Senate vote to delay Keystone Exams as graduation requirement is 'good first step' Morning Call

In Harrisburg, a plan to delay Keystone exam requirementNewsWorks

Basic Education Funding Commission: Lawmakers will release recommendations on Thursday. Lancaster Online

School districts across Pa. anticipate tax increases, staff and program cuts. Post-Gazette

The PASA-PASBO Report on School District Budgets. PASBO

News summary from Keystone State Education Coalition

Who's hiring teachers for 2015/2016 in Philly? For education job postings, visit

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Notes from the news

Closing of Kensington Urban postponed a year

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 16, 2015 07:26 PM

The merger of Kensington International Business High School and Kensington Urban Education High School has been postponed a year so that the community can be involved in planning for the change, District officials said Tuesday.

Superintendent William Hite sent a letter to parents saying that he was recommending delaying the merger until 2016-17.

Council's plan to sell tax liens for school funding questioned

By Jared Brey for PlanPhilly on Jun 16, 2015 03:32 PM

Next week, Philadelphia will take a first crack at selling off tax liens on commercial properties, a move that City Council hopes will expand and generate $30 million in revenue for the School District next year.

In Harrisburg, a plan to delay Keystone exam requirement

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Jun 16, 2015 03:15 PM

Testing might be over for Pennsylvania students this year, but debate about how one of the state's standardized tests should change is just heating up.

Last week, the state Senate's Education Committee unanimously passed a bill that would delay when the Keystone Exams, a statewide assessment of literature, Algebra I and biology, would take effect as a requirement for high school graduation.

Update: On Monday, June 15, the Pennsylvania Senate passed the bill, 49-0.

The fair-funding bus tour kicks off

By Michaela Ward on Jun 16, 2015 02:58 PM

Energy was high at Spring Garden Elementary School on Monday as a small crowd gathered to kick off the Statewide Bus Tour for the Schools Our Children Deserve, an effort to draw attention to the need for fair and full funding for Pennsylvania schools.

Though Monday’s event was meant to launch the bus tour, the bus was absent because of a gas leak, said Ron Whitehorne, a coordinator for the campaign. Its first stop, in West Chester, was planned for Tuesday.

Students tell their stories: From dropping out to aspiring to a media career

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 16, 2015 01:12 PM

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.

The Notebook still needs your help. Donate today!

By the Notebook on Jun 16, 2015 09:58 AM

The Notebook has launched a fundraising campaign to raise $45,000 by June 30, and we need your help. 

What is the purpose of the Pa. Basic Education Funding Commission?

By Paul Jablow on Jun 15, 2015 10:22 AM

The day before the mid-June deadline, the Pennsylvania Basic Education Funding Commission said it needed more time to come up with recommendations for a new state formula for basic education funding distributed to school districts. In this installment of Multiple Choices, we explain the role of the commission.

The commission was created to recommend a new school-funding formula for basic education to the General Assembly. It was established by law in June 2014, when then-Gov. Tom Corbett signed legislation sponsored by Rep. Bernie O’Neill, R-Bucks.

Grad Nation Philadelphia brainstorms ideas for keeping students in school

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 14, 2015 10:13 PM

For Rayna Harvey, a member of the organization Youth United for Change, there is no mystery about what it would take to produce more high school graduates in Philadelphia.

Offer classes that are relevant to their lives. Teach them skills that they will need in the real world.

And most important, listen to them and strive to understand their wants and needs and the problems many of them face in their daily lives.

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