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District takes risk by disbursing health care savings before court rules

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 24, 2014 02:48 PM

The Philadelphia School District decided Friday to give schools access to $15 million starting Monday, based on expected savings from forcing teachers to contribute toward their health care premiums.

Since the School Reform Commission terminated its contract with the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers on Oct. 6, the District has been planning three disbursements totaling $44 million.

Until Friday, it was unclear when principals would have access to those funds. Principals were notified in mid-October what their school allocation would be, but the disbursement date was left up in the air after several legal challenges by the teachers' union, which is protesting the legality of the SRC's unilateral move.

Caravan of delights: Pa. gubernatorial race

By Andrew Ujifusa of Education Week on Oct 24, 2014 02:33 PM

Consistently ranked as one of the most "endangered" governors when it comes to reelection prospects, Keystone State Gov. Tom Corbett has consistently trailed Democrat Tom Wolf this year, and he is the only Republican governor whose race is now considered safely in the Democratic column, according to Real Clear Politics. (I wrote about Wolf's position on education funding earlier this year.) However, Corbett has closed the gap in recent months, and what was once a deficit of approximately 20 percentage points is now getting closer to single digits, as the Real Clear Politics polling average below shows:

 

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From the archives: Coalition forms to fight takeover

By the Notebook on Oct 24, 2014 11:05 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 is from the Fall 2001 print edition:


by Paul Socolar

The award of a $2.7 million contract to the for-profit company Edison Schools Inc. to conduct a study of Philadelphia schools for the governor has galvanized community protests against a possible takeover of schools by Edison Schools or the state.

A statement from FACTS on the role of charter schools in Philadelphia

By Board of trustees and administrative leaders of FACTS charter school on Oct 23, 2014 04:59 PM

Following is an abridged version of a statement issued by the board of trustees and administrative leadership of the FACTS charter school.

Why we speak

As members of the Board of Trustees and the administrative leadership of the Folk Arts Cultural Treasures Charter School (FACTS), we wish to add our voice and our perspectives to this important discussion [about public education and the District's current funding crisis], speaking out of FACTS’ experience as a public charter school now in its 10th year of existence.

FACTS began in specific response to educational needs of Asian immigrant children who were not being adequately served in Philadelphia by the public schools. It was founded by community residents deeply committed to public education who had struggled for many years previously on a number of fronts to remedy the overall lack of public resources in Chinatown, and in Asian communities more broadly.

National College Fair to be held at Convention Center on Sunday

By the Notebook on Oct 23, 2014 04:19 PM

High school seniors – and other interested students – in Philadelphia and the surrounding area will be able to meet with representatives from about 400 colleges and universities at the Philadelphia National College Fair on Sunday.

The fair, which will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., is sponsored by the National Association for College Admission Counseling and hosted by its Pennsylvania affiliate.

Traumatized students, traumatized District

By Paul Jablow on Oct 23, 2014 10:28 AM

A teacher at South Philadelphia High School had a strange feeling about a female student who had been absent with increasing frequency last school year.

She told counselor Pierre LaRocco about it, and he was equally uneasy.

“I don’t know why,” he recalled. “But I knew that, for some reason, it was important for me to make a home visit.”

He said he got to the girl’s home around 11 a.m. and found her there with her mother, feeling depressed. So he took her to the Einstein Crisis Response Center at Germantown. According to LaRocco, during her interviews there, she said she had been planning to commit suicide that afternoon at precisely 2:15.

Tom Wolf on education, uncut: Vote trading, increasing investment, and disbanding the SRC

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 22, 2014 04:06 PM

Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf came to WHYY studios Friday to answer an array of questions from a mix of beat reporters during an hour-long visit.

Penn brings wonders of ancient history to Philadelphia students and families

By Shannon Nolan on Oct 22, 2014 11:58 AM

A new program at the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology allows Philadelphia 7th graders and their families to experience the wonders of ancient Egypt and Rome for free.

On Tuesday, the University of Pennsylvania launched “Unpacking the Past,” a $2.2 million initiative that provides 7th-grade students in the School District of Philadelphia and schools run by KIPP and Mastery Charter schools with hands-on, curriculum-focused learning experiences using museum resources to make history come alive.

Election 2014: A look at Corbett and Wolf on education

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 21, 2014 05:12 PM

OK, let's get right to the looming question: Did Gov. Corbett cut a billion dollars from public, K-12 education?

That question can be answered in different ways. It all depends on what you count, and how you count it.

If you say yes, Corbett did cut the money, here's how your logic goes, as put together by Democrat Tom Wolf.

National expert instructs parents and District staff on bullying prevention

By Paul Jablow on Oct 21, 2014 04:53 PM

As psychologist Stephen Leff tells it, solutions to bullying in schools start at home.

Leff, co-director of the Violence Prevention Initiative at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, spoke during an anti-bullying workshop at District headquarters Monday. The workshop provided parents with practical tips and information on how to recognize bullying, support children who have been bullied, and work with schools in dealing with this issue.

“If you take one thing away from here today, it’s communicating with your kids," said Leff, also an associate professor of clinical psychology in pediatrics at CHOP. "The most important thing is to know what really happened [in school].”

After a surge of new students, school stumbles, then thrives

By Payne Schroeder on Oct 21, 2014 10:30 AM

Gregory Bonaparte Jr. loved his 5th-grade class at Tanner Duckrey Elementary School.

“Every time it was Friday, I wanted to go back to school,” said the 12-year-old. “That’s where my friends were.”

His disposition changed when he came back for 6th grade. Suddenly, Duckrey had hundreds of new students and practically doubled in size.

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