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The case of Laporshia Massey: Asthma and our schools

by Eileen M. DiFranco Posted in December 2013 Edition | Permalink

I’ve been a school nurse in Philadelphia for almost 25 years. I’ve seen lots of blood and a finger almost amputated by a door accidentally slammed. I’ve seen head injuries, seizures, and high and low blood sugar levels in diabetics. 

The very worst moments I’ve experienced as a school nurse, however, are those that were spent with children who were having an asthma attack.

6th grader's death adds to fears over Philly layoffs of school nurses

Submitted by thenotebook on Fri, 10/11/2013 - 11:51 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Sarah-Whites Koditschek for NewsWorks

In late September, a Bryant Elementary School 6th grader died from asthma complications. Her parents and Philadelphia school administrators have offered conflicting accounts of the incident.

In the wake of the child's death, asthma educators are concerned about the impact that reduced staffing will have on medical emergencies that occur at school.

UNITE HERE rally emphasizes student safety staff and fresh meals

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 06/06/2013 - 15:18 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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.

Saul teacher receives honor for work with school’s agricultural program

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 10/24/2012 - 11:56 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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. 

Students contribute to book on healthy living

Submitted by Guest blogger on Wed, 06/20/2012 - 17:00 Posted in Community voices | Permalink

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.

District answers questions about school lunches

Submitted by Guest blogger on Wed, 03/14/2012 - 15:34 Posted in Community voices | Permalink

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.

PFT files complaint about untrained personnel dispensing medication

Submitted by Dale Mezzacappa on Wed, 02/01/2012 - 17:44 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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.

Protesters continue Occupy 440 movement

Submitted by Dale Mezzacappa on Wed, 01/04/2012 - 20:10 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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.

Just in time for the holidays: more layoffs

Submitted by Dale Mezzacappa on Thu, 12/22/2011 - 16:10 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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.

National youth town hall comes to Bodine

Submitted by Will Treece on Fri, 10/28/2011 - 16:02 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

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.

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