by Sonia Giebel
Days after the School Reform Commission approved its “doomsday” budget, about 150 people conducted a noisy protest Wednesday outside District headquarters against two of the budget's consequences: the removal of noontime aides from lunchrooms and less fresh food for students.
The UNITE HERE rally brought together the aides -- also called student safety staff -- who monitor trouble-prone hallways and lunchrooms, with students, teachers, cafeteria workers, and others. They chanted slogans like “break bread, not schools” and banged pots and pans.
“What parent wants their kid eating on a dirty table ... or coming home with a busted nose?” said Migdalia Lopez, a noontime aide at Bodine High School. The cafeteria will not be a safe environment, she said.
by Charlotte Pope
Every week, the White House recognizes Americans who are doing extraordinary things in their communities through its “Champions of Change” program. Earlier this month, Jessica McAtamney, a teacher at W.B. Saul High School for Agricultural Sciences, was among 12 teachers, college students, and other educators who were honored for their innovations that are helping to move their neighborhoods forward.
This guest blog post comes from Talia Fisher of Healthy NewsWorks (no connection to WHYY's NewsWorks).
Local students recently published their own book through Healthy NewsWorks, a nonprofit organization that engages elementary and middle school students in creating authentic journalism to promote health and literacy.
Healthy NewsWorks, which was founded by former Inquirer health and medical writer Marian Uhlman and Upper Darby teacher Susan Spencer, works with students in 13 area schools, including four in Philadelphia. Each school publishes a newsletter focusing on making healthy lifestyle choices.
This guest blog post comes from the Philadelphia Urban Food and Fitness Alliance. PUFFA solicited questions from students, parents/guardians, and other community residents and received responses from the Food Services Division of the School District of Philadelphia.
1. Why can't our children have organic milk to drink?
The total cost allotted to a school lunch is approximately $2.73, and $1.39 is allotted for food, $1.03 for labor and
39 cents the balance for infrastructure/administrative costs. Within the budget of $1.39 for food, 25 cents is available for milk. At this time, the cost of organic milk would significantly exceed the available funds for this item.
UPDATE: District statement
The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers is alleging that the School District is violating the school code and endangering children because it has ordered untrained school personnel to administer medication in the absence of nurses.
The District laid off 47 nurses in December, and the ratio of student-to-nurse now exceeds the recommended ideal. As a result, many schools have nurses on site only one or two days a week.
The intrepid band of protesters was undeterred by the cold.
For nearly an hour Wednesday afternoon in below-freezing temperatures, they carried signs and listened to speakers decry budget cuts and layoffs at the School District, especially the termination of 47 school nurses.
Grim budget news takes no holiday.
School District officials have confirmed that the District is sending out layoff notices Friday to 141 members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, as part of a planned cut in school-based services due to a huge budget shortfall. These midyear cuts are designed to help squeeze more savings from a budget that in October was up to $39 million out of whack.
Students at Bodine High School for International Affairs learned life lessons from experts at a youth town hall on Thursday.
The BEM (Believe Every Moment) Foundation has embarked on a national campaign to foster dialogue between “at-risk” students and community leaders. The town hall at Bodine is one of 12 assemblies the BEM Foundation is facilitating around the country.
To the editors:
As any parent, teacher, school nurse, or day care provider knows, children frequently get sick. When they do, sitting in school doesn't help them get better. They need to be home with a parent. Also, no parent wants their child to be in a classroom where there is a child with pink eye, a fever, or vomiting.
I applaud the city’s new youth health initiative called Take Control, which is making condoms available by mail to 11 to 19 year-olds. It is also providing a website for young people that offers sexual health tips and information on protecting themselves against sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancies.
But while this is a great effort to educate and protect our city’s youth, the Take Control initiative ignores the needs of gay youth.