Shannon Nolanon Jan 27, 2015 01:02 PM
It was the districtwide budget cuts in the spring of 2011 that led Philadelphia parent Rebecca Poyourow to start reading the Notebook.
“When I was scrambling to find out information about the District and about public education politics in the state when the budget cuts hit, [the Notebook] was the obvious place to go,” Poyourow, 46, said.
Connie Langlandon Jan 27, 2015 12:38 PM
Last year, a handful of Philadelphia families balked at having their children sit for the high-stakes state standardized tests known as the PSSAs. This year, resistance to the tests is more widespread.
Since last July, a Basic Education Funding Commission has been collecting testimony across the state, charged by Harrisburg with developing a rational system for distributing state education aid. Their work is urgently needed.
Richard Selznickon Jan 27, 2015 12:18 PM
Possibly nothing is more challenging to a child than to struggle in reading. Starting in early kindergarten, there are differences between the kids on the “smooth road” (those who start learning to read without difficulty) compared to those on the “rougher road” (those who show signs of early struggling).
Paul Socolaron Jan 27, 2015 12:21 PM
In adopting a five-year financial plan in December, the School Reform Commission and the District are hoping to get extra help from their state and city government funders by making their needs known early, before the usual budget process.
And they will need lots of extra help in closing a growing budget gap.
Dale Mezzacappaon Jan 27, 2015 12:23 PM
Newly elected Gov. Wolf has named Lancaster superindentent and Philadelphia native Pedro Rivera to be state secretary of education.
In a statement, Wolf said that Rivera had improved student achievement and graduation rates in Lancaster, as well as stabilizing the district’s finances. He also cited Rivera’s implementation of a “community schools” model, in which students and their families can get medical, dental, vision and other services on site.
No skill is more fundamental to learning throughout life than reading. Students who don’t develop a love for and proficiency in reading by 3rd grade are likely to struggle in their future lives.
In Philadelphia, that’s a large group. Last year, 60 percent of District 3rd graders failed to meet proficiency standards on the state reading test. Among Blacks and Latinos, only one in three was proficient.
Dale Mezzacappaon Jan 27, 2015 10:21 AM
Important changes are starting to ripple throughout the District as a result of Superintendent William Hite’s focus on making all students proficient readers by the time they are 8 years old.
The literacy crusade is one of four key “anchor goals” of Hite’s action plan to overhaul schools and improve educational outcomes.
In embracing the READ! by 4th initiative – and its parent effort, the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading – the District has brought new curriculum materials and assessment approaches to classrooms.
Dale Mezzacappaon Jan 27, 2015 10:23 AM
This year, as part of its commitment to early literacy, the District has retooled professional development for principals and teachers. The objective is to make sure that they know the best strategies and can use the available literacy assessment tools – the Diagnostic Reading Assessment (DRA), DIBELS, and AIMSweb. Each sheds light on different issues children may have at different stages of their development, but teachers must be trained to use them properly.