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Principals to vote on contract deal with significant concessions

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 03/03/2014 - 17:39 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

The president of the union representing Philadelphia School District principals has reached a tentative pact with the District on the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement that includes significant concessions that will "clearly will save the District money."

Commonwealth Association of School Administrators president Robert McGrogan will present the proposed deal to union members at a private meeting Thursday evening.

"Prior to this past week, I didn't have a proposal that was worthy of bringing it to the membership," said McGrogan. "Compromise from both parties on key issues is what put us in this position."

District leader makes the case for arts education

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 03/03/2014 - 14:08 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Caralee J. Adams for Education Week

For Dennis W. Creedon, teaching children about art is as important as teaching them math or reading.

"People see it as a frill, but it's not a frill. It's actually the center of the core," said the 59-year-old assistant superintendent in the Philadelphia School District. "If you cut these out of schools, you are really cutting the heart out of our children and their future."

Could 'cyber snow days' become a reality for schools in Pa.?

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 03/03/2014 - 13:08 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

If one Western Pennsylvania state senator has his way, snow-related school cancellations as we know them could be a thing of the past.

But the idea raises all sorts of issues of equity and logistics.

Why Philly is struggling to offer more pre-K seats

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 03/03/2014 - 10:29 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks

​It's a proven good investment, but Philadelphia is struggling to expand pre-kindergarten classrooms to meet demand.

City Chief Education Officer Lori Shorr says that with the current financial problems in the School District, her staff is doing its best to provide a pre-kindergarten education for all who want it. Shorr says that studies indicated that pre-K is cost-effective in the long run.

Despite budget cuts, violent incidents remain about level this year

Submitted by thenotebook on Sun, 03/02/2014 - 11:03 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

[Editor's Note: Since this story first ran on Saturday, we've done additional reporting. The story has been updated to reflect per capita violent incident totals.]

The Philadelphia School District says the number of reported violent incidents in schools this year is comparable with last year's levels, ticking up 1.12 percent.

In total, District data shows that 1,266 incidents have been reported in the 2013-14 school year through January.

Computer science: Not just an elective anymore

Submitted by thenotebook on Fri, 02/28/2014 - 14:32 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Liana Heitin for Education Week

Computer science education is getting something of a fresh look from state and local policymakers, with many starting to push new measures to broaden K-12 students' access to the subject.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia now have policies in place that allow computer science to count as a mathematics or science credit, rather than as an elective, in high schools—and that number is on the rise. Wisconsin, Alabama, and Maryland have adopted such policies since December, and Idaho has a legislative measure awaiting final action.

Special education caseloads at high school exceed legal limits, pushing teachers to quit

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 02/27/2014 - 19:44 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

This is a story about how the system can crush your soul.

Emotional-support teacher Danyell Dahn came to the Philadelphia School District four years ago from Bloomington, Ind., eager to devote herself to the city's most vulnerable students.

She arrived at Center City's Ben Franklin High School with a mix of idealism and determination — certain that she could help kids overcome big problems by taking time to get to know them, talking honestly and building rapport.

Actress Anna Deavere Smith in town for project on school-to-prison pipeline

Submitted by Dale Mezzacappa on Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:59 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

Renowned actress, playwright, professor, and activist Anna Deavere Smith is in Philadelphia for research on one of her signature projects that combine journalism, ethnography, social commentary, and theater. Her subject: the school-to-prison pipeline.

Smith discussed her work-in-progress Wednesday night in a packed session at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, where the plan is for her finished theatrical work to be produced at the end of the 2014-15 season. A documentary is also being made about her process in crafting the piece.

As she has done for similar projects, Smith is interviewing dozens of people – in this case, students, teachers, parents, principals, judges, public defenders, prisoners, former prisoners, prison officials, politicians, police, advocates, school dropouts, thought leaders, and people working with the anti-violence project CeaseFire – to shed light on the sprawling topic.

Councilwoman urges sending larger portion of tax revenue to schools

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 02/27/2014 - 17:08 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks

A Philadelphia city councilwoman wants to dedicate more real estate taxes to the city schools. 

Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez said she wants to give 5 percent more of the city's real estate tax collections to the schools.

Buyers set to purchase several School District properties

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 02/26/2014 - 21:25 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

The Philadelphia School District says it has four potential buyers for six of its recently shuttered buildings.

Three of the buyers intend to use the properties, at least in part, for K-12 educational purposes.

The total price tag for the potential sales would be about $35 million. After "fees and defeasance of bonds related to these schools," the District will net about $25 million – money that it's already been counting on in its current budget.

Q&A with author of 'I'm Your Teacher Not Your Mother'

Submitted by Samuel Reed III on Wed, 02/26/2014 - 17:24 | Permalink

Why are so many students performing poorly in schools, and who is accountable for students’ success? The debate about these  questions looms large in educational reform arenas. I recently read I’m Your Teacher Not Your Mother, a self-published book by first-time author and veteran teacher Suzette Clarke, who taught middle school English and social studies in New York City public schools for 15 years. What follows is a frank discussion with Clarke, who urges parents to recognize their responsibilities.

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