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Corbett facing questions in Pa. House over education review

By Mary Wilson for New​sWorks on Sep 12, 2014 05:19 PM

Pennsylvania House lawmakers plan hearings to grill the Corbett administration on its plan to review state academic standards that implemented last March.

Gov. Corbett recently called for a review of the Pennsylvania Core Standards, so named because they blend national benchmarks called Common Core and objectives designed by commonwealth officials.

The confusion over education standards all goes back to their name, said State Rep. Seth Grove, R-York.

A closer look at student behavioral health issues

By Paul Jablow on Sep 12, 2014 12:58 PM

Student behavioral health is one of the major issues facing the Philadelphia School District, which for years has struggled to create a positive school climate, deal with “disruptive students,” and provide adequate student supports.

In the words of the local nonprofit Children’s Crisis Treatment Center, “the unrelenting stress caused by abuse, neglect, exposure to violence, extreme poverty, and other adverse childhood experiences can impact the way children learn, play, grow, and function through their lives.”

Over the course of this school year, the Notebook will be writing about that struggle. With support from the van Ameringen Foundation, we will make it the theme of our December issue and also post stories online throughout the year.

From the archives: Will schools opt to pick their teachers?

By the Notebook on Sep 12, 2014 10:19 AM

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, about the school system's first move toward site-based selection of teachers and expanded school-based decision-making, is from the Winter 2000-2001 print edition:

by Paul Socolar

The new teachers' contract agreement continues the District's recent practice of shifting important decision-making powers from the downtown office to schools.

Brand-new teacher looks forward to Friday, and also to Monday

By Kimberly Haas for NewsWorks on Sep 11, 2014 07:51 PM


First-week jitters are the norm when starting a new job. And when it's your first job after finishing school, you want to give it your all.

That's the case with Katherine Teevan. In her first week at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in South Philadelphia, she gave all her energy, enthusiasm ... and her voice to her new job as a second-grade teacher.

Carver High School to expand with grant from PSP

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 11, 2014 10:22 AM

In the face of its continuing budget crisis, the Philadelphia School District continues to show a willingness to invest in new options for its students.

Carver High School of Engineering & Science, a STEM-minded magnet school in North Philadelphia, plans to add 7th and 8th grades at the beginning of next year.

"The hope is really to create much more of a pipeline of STEM education in Philadelphia," said Carver principal Ted Domers.

The 120-student expansion is being supported by a $147,000 planning grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership.

We will not be silent: Parents want state accountability

By Helen Gym on Sep 11, 2014 09:38 AM

A child dealt with the death of a parent with no counselor available during a time of extreme distress.

A high school student started each period searching for desks and chairs because her classes were so overcrowded.

A 7-year-old with emotional and learning needs began regressing and scratched himself bloody during class because a classroom aide and full-time counselor were no longer available, as they had been the year before.

Former Bok principal surrenders credentials in cheating scandal

By Dale Mezzacappa on Sep 10, 2014 02:10 PM

Arthur "Larry" Melton, the retired principal of the now-defunct Bok Technical High School, has become the seventh Philadelphia principal to face official punishment as a result of a probe into widespread PSSA test cheating in the Philadelphia School District. 

Melton, who was at Bok for a decade, surrendered his teaching and administrative credentials in July, according to a state website that reveals disciplinary actions against educators.

The notice of action states that he "violated the integrity and security of PSSA testing for multiple years."

Philly parents file suit against Pa. Department of Education

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 10, 2014 01:47 PM

Overcrowded classrooms, a shortage of guidance counselors, a lack of proper coursework.

These are among the reasons parents in the Philadelphia School District filed a lawsuit this week in Commonwealth Court against the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Parent Tim Allen sent his son to Bodine High based on its reputation as a high-achieving magnet school with an international focus.

But budget cuts in the last few years slashed faculty to the point that the school had just one foreign language teacher and classroom overcrowding was widespread.

33 new computers come to Emlen just in time for the new school year

By Marcus McCarthy for NewsWorks on Sep 10, 2014 12:53 PM

Balloons lined the hallways of Eleanor Emlen Elementary School on Friday.

The school's new computer lab opened in a ceremony that included City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, State Rep. Cherelle Parker and community members.

School dinosaurs

The school's 26 computers — many older than the students themselves — were replaced during the summer by 33 new iMac desktops at the K-5 public school in Mount Airy.

Coalitions can change the game for Philadelphia schools

By Jody Cohen and Nick Palazzolo on Sep 10, 2014 10:54 AM

As we begin a new school year and approach a gubernatorial election, let’s celebrate the work of teachers, students, parents, community members, labor unions, and faith communities in Philadelphia who are coming together to improve education in our city. Never before have people from so many sectors of the city joined together to pursue their common goal: high-quality education for all.

The Notebook Fall Guide to High Schools is now available

By the Notebook on Sep 10, 2014 10:12 AM

The Notebook's Fall Guide to High Schools is out. Read it online or pick up a copy to get up-to-date on the daunting process that is applying to high schools in the Philadelphia School District. 

If you work in a school or a community group and need copies in bulk to hand out to middle school students and their parents or guardians, please email us. Just let us know where you're from and how many copies you need, and you can pick them up at our office.

Notebook staffers will also be handing out copies of the guide at the District's High School Fair, taking place at Drexel's Armory on Oct. 17 and 18. Please drop by our table and chat with us if you can. 

Pa. Republicans flog Corbett's Common Core call as politics, not policy

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 9, 2014 05:18 PM

Want to boil the blood of some Pennsylvania voters? Utter four words: "Common Core State Standards."

For those leery of all things federal, all things Obama, the push to align academic expectations on a consistent, nationwide basis causes heart rates to rise exponentially.

This week, Republicans in the Pennsylvania House are accusing Gov. Corbett, also a Republican, of preying on those fears in a political move during election season that they say undercuts sound policy.

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