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The Notebook's latest news posts.

Hill-Freedman named a National Blue Ribbon School for second time

By Shannon Nolan on Sep 30, 2014 05:04 PM

The Hill-Freedman World Academy in Northwest Philadelphia was honored Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Education as a National Blue Ribbon School.

This is the second time the selective-admission school has been awarded a Blue Ribbon, with the first being in 2006. It is the only District school to receive the award this year.

From armed robbery to criminology

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 30, 2014 05:14 PM

When he was 35, Quaris Carter arrived in North Philadelphia as a stranger to the East Coast, carrying two garbage bags of clothes and barely a dime.

After more than three decades in Texas, he was just grateful for the chance to redefine his life.

"I actually sort of saw myself change," he said. "I started feeling free, like, I'm going somewhere new. It's a new start."

Walter Palmer tells parents he has plan to save embattled charter

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Sep 30, 2014 10:47 AM

With legal and financial options dwindling for Walter Palmer's charter school, Palmer says he’s prepared to give up the school to save it.

“If I have been an impediment, I will step down. If I have been the problem, I will resign,” said the founder of the Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School yesterday, during a community meeting at the school. “I will not get in the way of us educating our children.”

Pa. districts and community groups get $23 million to support at-risk youth

By David Limm on Sep 29, 2014 06:13 PM

The Pennsylvania recipients of a major federal grant program aimed at supporting at-risk youth were announced today by Gov. Corbett and his wife, Susan.

Sixty-four school districts and community-based organizations across the state will receive $23 million in three-year 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants. The grants will help support out-of-school time programs that give academic support to students from underperfoming schools and high-poverty areas, who are at risk of dropping out or disengaging from school. 

More than a third of that money will go to 23 grantees based in Philadelphia, a mix of community organizations and charter schools. (See the list of Philadelphia grantees below.)

Tonight's School Reform Commission meeting canceled

By the Notebook on Sep 29, 2014 02:51 PM

Tonight’s regularly scheduled School Reform Commission meeting has been canceled.

When asked, the District did not immediately give a reason for the cancellation of its monthly "strategies, policy and priorities" meeting. The next scheduled SRC meeting, an action meeting, will take place on Oct. 16.

Update: A spokesperson for the District said that the meeting was canceled because the format for the meetings is being revamped. 

In cheating, principals cited intense pressure to raise scores

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Sep 26, 2014 04:05 PM

Early in the morning, before anyone else arrived at Communications Technical High School, Barbara McCreery would sit in her office as principal and redo some of her students' standardized test booklets – 15 at a time, she says, with an answer key in hand.

Two former principals charged in state cheating investigation

By David Limm on Sep 25, 2014 03:09 PM

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has filed criminal charges against two more former Philadelphia principals.

Barbara McCreery, 61, former principal of Communications Technology High School, and Arthur "Larry" Melton, 70, former principal of Bok Technical High School, were arrested Thursday as part of the state's ongoing investigation into adult cheating on standardized tests.

They were taken into custody and charged with crimes of "tampering with public records or information, forgery, and tampering with records or identification," according the attorney general's office.       

PSSA scores stay flat; Hite encouraged by results

By Dale Mezzacappa on Sep 24, 2014 06:09 PM

Less than half of Philadelphia students in District schools read and do math proficiently, but the rates stayed essentially flat this year despite severe funding cutbacks.

Superintendent William Hite called the results good news.

Corbett signature makes Philly cigarette tax official

By Mary Wilson for New​sWorks on Sep 24, 2014 04:20 PM

Gov. Corbett has signed a long-awaited measure to let Philadelphia levy a tax on cigarettes, beginning next month, to raise money for its schools.

Supporters heralded the bipartisan effort of Pennsylvania lawmakers to allow the city to levy a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes. The tax, along with a city sales tax increase and borrowing, helped the School District bridge an $81 million deficit.

Judge denies Palmer charter's request for more funds; school's future uncertain

By Dale Mezzacappa on Sep 24, 2014 04:23 PM

A Common Pleas Court judge refused Wednesday to order the Philadelphia School District to immediately pay Walter D. Palmer Leadership Learning Partners Charter School nearly $1.4 million in disputed funds, endangering the school's ability to stay open.

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