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Students find calm through mindfulness and guided meditation

By Stephanie Marudas for NewsWorks on Jul 24, 2014 04:51 PM

Mindfulness meditation might be the new yoga, but does it have a place in the classroom?

Skipping recess to meditate might not be what most kids would choose to do. But in the lunchroom at Isaac Sheppard Elementary School in North Philadelphia, a loud bunch of 3rd and 4th graders are about to get quiet. They gather around teacher Jamie Roberts. She's going to take them to her classroom for meditation club and gets their attention.

Common Core: What it is, what it isn't and why it's political

By Laura Waters for NewsWorks on Jul 24, 2014 03:39 PM

What a week for adversaries of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)! On July 22, Glenn Beck, the radio and TV personality, hosted "a live national night of action against the Common Core" called WE WILL NOT CONFORM and told Fox News' Sean Hannity that the Common Core was "creating millions of slaves."

Appeal hearing delayed in case of MLK student's football eligibility

By Brian Hickey for NewsWorks on Jul 23, 2014 11:59 AM

Wednesday's scheduled appeal hearing to determine the football eligibility of a student who transferred to Martin Luther King High School in March has been postponed until next month.

Robert A. Lombardi, executive director of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), told NewsWorks on Tuesday that scheduling conflicts for the principals of MLK (William Wade) and George Washington High School (Gene Jones) led to the delay.

Roadblocks to child care snag Philadelphia's student parents

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jul 23, 2014 09:23 AM

A recent survey found that there are about 15,000 young Philadelphians lacking a high school diploma who are not currently enrolled in school or employed.

To better understand the "why" behind this number, the advocacy group Public Citizens for Children and Youth studied how access to child care for young parents affects high school completion rates.

Getting things done at the Workshop School

By Kevin McCorry for NPR and WHYY on Jul 22, 2014 10:38 AM

Imagine a school where classes are organized not by subject but by project ...

A school created not by administrators but by teachers fed up with the status quo ...

A school where kids from a city's toughest neighborhoods are given the opportunity to experiment and the freedom to fail.

In West Philadelphia, that school is a reality. It's called the Workshop School.

Brave new voices ring out for poetry competition in Philly

By Peter Crimmins for NewsWorks on Jul 21, 2014 03:20 PM

About 450 young poets from around the country are in Philadelphia as part of the 17th annual Brave New Voices competition and conference. Fifty teams from as many cities around the country will face off in a tournament of performances in 10 venues around the city.

The Philadelphia team was assembled by Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement, a year-round poetry workshop and mentoring program that has won the Brave New Voices Grand Slam twice – in 2007 and 2011.

Teacher designs app to help educators meet Pa. evaluation requirements

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Jul 21, 2014 10:39 AM

Katy Morris, an 8th-grade algebra and geometry teacher at Welsh Valley Middle School in Narberth, is out to revolutionize how teachers experience the evaluation process.

This past school year, Pennsylvania adopted a new statewide teacher evaluation system – due in part to an incentive in the federal Race to the Top school accountability competition.

From the archives: 'Small schools' experiment finds new life in SLCs

By thenotebook on Jul 18, 2014 11:32 AM

The Notebook was launched in 1994 as a newspaper committed to ensuring quality and equity in Philadelphia public schools. We are celebrating 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.

From the Spring 1999 print edition:


by Ros Purnell and Helen Gym

In the mid- and late 1980s, Philadelphia became a testing ground for the "small schools" movement. The effort was led by the now-defunct Philadelphia Schools Collaborative, a group of educators who advocated smaller environments to break up the enormous, impersonal, and largely dysfunctional comprehensive high schools. The movement's goal was to create smaller autonomous schools with control over budgets, hiring, and curriculum design.

The campaign for "small schools" in Philadelphia eventually sparked radical changes in Chicago and New York City.

At Independence Mall, students draw from history

By Cathy Quero on Jul 17, 2014 04:15 PM

Tourists passing through Independence Mall today may have caught a glimpse of Thomas Jefferson, as a man dressed in period uniform delivered a speech for a summer initiative called Project Write-Inspire Me!, a writing enrichment program for high school students.  

The organization, which is a part of the Independence National Historical Park and the Philadelphia Writing Project, tries to empower youth to write by drawing inspiration from American history, according to Project Write counselor Bethany Silba.

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