Today is National Teacher Day, and this afternoon 59 Philadelphia teachers, one from each District high school, will receive the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation’s Distinguished Teaching Award.
The honorees will join Superintendent William Hite, School Reform Commissioner Wendell Pritchett, Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan, three trustees from the Lindback Foundation, and others for the celebration, which will be held from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the Prince Music Theater.
A national group hoping to redefine civics education held a conference in Philadelphia earlier this month to strategize about ways to help schools prepare students to be engaged citizens.
The effort, called the National Action Civics Collaborative (NACC), is also aimed at working with schools to move civics beyond classrooms and textbooks into real-world projects and activities, especially in schools that serve less affluent, marginalized students.
Mastery Charter and its methods for training and supporting teachers may soon exert greater influence in schools all over the city, a development that promises to cement the organization’s influence on educational practice well beyond its own schools.
The Philadelphia Great Schools Compact is asking the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for $2.5 million, some $650,000 of which would pay for Mastery to train teacher coaches to work in District and Catholic schools and other charters.
Seeking to create a “pipeline” of principals and teachers who are better equipped to deal with the real-world challenges found in Philadelphia’s toughest schools, city education leaders submitted a three-year, $2.5 million grant proposal this week to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Reforming our schools to deliver a world-class education is a shared responsibility – the task cannot be shouldered by our nation's teachers and principals alone…” (U.S. Department of Education, ESA Blueprint for Reform 2010)
Christopher Paslay brings his expertise as a high school English teacher, contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Chalk and Talk blogger to make The Village Proposal a timely and compelling read. The book examines the problems in education by juxtaposing Paslay's personal memoir with solid documented research.
You may not agree with some or all of the arguments, but that is exactly what makes Village Proposal a good read. Paslay argues using a narrative structure not found in many books about education reform. He doesn’t bore the reader with an overly complex or over-simplified problem-and-solution approach to education. He presents a nuanced view of shared responsibility.
This guest blog post comes from Rich Migliore, a frequent Notebook commenter and veteran teacher and administrator.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Mastery-Smedley Elementary in Frankford. Brook Lenfest, a member of Mastery’s Board of Trustees, had invited me to visit a Mastery school to see for myself what it does for children.
There has been much heated debate lately about Mastery so I approached my visit as a learner. I wanted to see Mastery-Smedley through the eyes of an educator who has spent over 35 years in schools and in classrooms.
UPDATED 12:30 a.m.
Centrally mandated scripted curricula will soon be a thing of the past, New Chief Academic Officer Penny Nixon told the School Reform Commission Monday.
“We believe the curriculum should say to teachers, ‘Here’s the what’ and give them the flexibility as to the ‘How,’” said Nixon.
“From the District level, will we say, ‘You have to use this scripted curriculum?’ No.”
Such a change will mark a significant shift in the District’s approach to classroom education. Currently, dozens of low-performing Empowerment Schools are required to follow strict curricular mandates, including use of scripted remedial programs like Corrective Reading and Corrective Math that are anathema to many teachers.
A kindergarten student begins drawing a picture of God. Using various colors and shades, she draws a descriptive portrait of the divine. Her teacher soon approaches, looks at the drawing, and asks, “What are you drawing?” The child says “God” and the teacher responds, “But no one knows what God looks like.” The child responds, “They will in a minute!”
While I'm not sure this scene ever actually happened, my point is that all children have the potential for wondrous, revolutionary creativity. Once students enter the school system, it is often a struggle to keep that creativity alive. What can we do to support our students' creativity?
A few days ago, one of my students, Devin, said something truly enlightening to me: “Mr. Hall, every time I get mad, you always teach me something new.” The comment showed me how far Devin has come.
Devin is an incredibly smart 4th-grade student who, unfortunately, has been given the title of extremely disruptive and emotionally disturbed. Almost a scarlet letter draped across his chest, this label pushed him from classroom to classroom, negative experience to negative experience, and reinforced the discomfort and mistrust he had toward the adults in his life.
This story is not a reflection of disappointment, but an example of how hard work with students can uncover and close substantial cognitive and emotional development gaps in a child’s life.
This guest blog post is from Christina Cantrill, staff at the National Writing Project and a member of the Philadelphia Writing Project. PhilWP is celebrating its 25th anniversary Saturday.
“Writing today,” say the authors of Because Digital Writing Matters, “is pervasively and generally digital; composed with digital tools; created out of word, image, sound, and motion; circulated in digital environments; and consumed across a wide range of digital platforms.”
What then, does this mean for the teaching and learning of writing?