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Stories tagged: November

What’s new: Classroom libraries and report cards


Dale Mezzacappa

on Oct 30, 2015 02:00 PM

This year, as part of a more focused approach to literacy instruction, many K-3 classrooms in District schools have new libraries. Students’ report cards will also look different.

Here is a brief guide to the classroom libraries and the new report card, from an interview with Diane Castelbuono, the District’s deputy chief for early childhood education.

In 40 schools, K-3 classrooms received extra funds from a grant to create “leveled libraries.” Books are sorted into bins, each with a letter indicating the reading level, progressing from A to Z.

Resources for families: A Philadelphia literacy guide


Fabiola Cineas and Greg Windle

on Oct 27, 2015 11:55 AM

Dyslexia and learning disabilities


This site hosts articles by experts and parents about how to identify learning problems, help a child at home, and talk to teachers. Expert articles explain special education, IEPs, 504 plans, response to intervention, and special education support staff. Its diagnostic tool helps find articles relevant to your child’s age and learning issues.

Researcher tracks District developments over years


Catherine Offord

on Oct 23, 2015 01:02 PM

“How do you know what’s going on without the Notebook?”

That’s the question that longtime Notebook member Betsey Useem asks herself when thinking about Philadelphia’s education system and the issues that have faced the School District over the last several decades. 

As an education researcher for more than 40 years and a resident of Pennsylvania since the early 1990s, Useem has had particular insight into the context in which the Notebook was founded, as well as the recent history of Philadelphia’s education system.

Early Intervention changes would help Pa. reach more children in a timely way


Sonja D. Kerr

on Oct 21, 2015 10:45 AM

Parents in Philadelphia who have concerns that their child may have a disability or a delay can obtain help even before the child reaches school age. A federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, requires Pennsylvania to offer Early Intervention services for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who need them. Research has confirmed that such early identification can improve educational outcomes for children.

The state arranges for services that can include evaluations and development of an individual plan to assist the child. Children may receive special instruction, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, support for the family, and behavioral services.

For quality pre-K, look for more than the ABCs


Dan Hardy

on Oct 19, 2015 09:51 AM

Take a tour of Children’s Village, a highly regarded child-care center in Philadelphia’s Chinatown neighborhood, and some of the elements that make it a high-quality program are immediately evident.

In Room 303, a group of 3- and 4-year-olds is absorbed in a variety of activities, playing with toys, listening to recorded music and stories, or engaged in drawing, making and building things.

How to judge the quality of pre-K programs


Dan Hardy

on Oct 19, 2015 09:50 AM

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has a well-regarded 10-point standard for high-quality programs. Publicly funded Keystone Star-3 and Star-4 pre-K programs meet at least seven of them, including having a comprehensive early learning curriculum, all lead teachers with at least a bachelor’s degree, continuing professional education, maximum class size of 20 and teacher-child ratio of at least 1 to 10, and on-site inspections at least every five years. (Pennsylvania programs are not required to meet NIEER standards of conducting comprehensive health screenings, giving all children meals, and requiring assistant teachers to have at least an associate’s degree in child development.)

The cost of high quality


Dan Hardy

on Oct 19, 2015 09:48 AM

The benefits of high-quality pre-K can be great, but relatively few Pennsylvania children receive it. In 2013-14, less than half of 3- and 4-year-olds statewide attended licensed programs. Only about 31 percent were in high-quality pre-K.

Fair funding campaign analyzes Pa. budget proposals


Catherine Offord

on Oct 16, 2015 12:34 PM

The Campaign for Fair Education Funding (CFEF), a statewide coalition of more than 50 organizations, recently released a report on the implications of the education proposals being debated in Harrisburg.

The report, “Lifting All Students: Why Pennsylvania Must Act Now to Fairly Fund Public Education and Secure Our Future,” details the practical outcomes for school districts across the state under both the $410 million funding increase in Gov. Wolf’s proposed budget and the $100 million increase proposed by Republican legislators.

How to help children develop into readers


Connie Langland

on Oct 16, 2015 09:20 AM

Experts say that it’s never too early to start reading with your kids.

According to Reading Rockets, the national multimedia literacy initiative, parents of babies should snuggle up with them and read a book.

Improved instruction is at the heart of literacy push


Connie Langland

on Oct 14, 2015 09:39 AM

The kindergartners are sitting cross-legged on a carpet doing their best to draw the letter F, the letter of the day at KIPP Philadelphia Elementary Academy (KPEA), a charter school in Strawberry Mansion. Each day, the children practice saying and writing a different letter.

“Okay, friends, hold your fa-fa-fabulous Fs up to me,” says their teacher, Lauren Holifield. “Oh, my goodness, fa-fa-fa-fantastic. … Now make your best lowercase f. Have fu-fu-fun with it.”

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