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The Notebook's latest news posts.

Wolf's education transition committee has heavy Philadelphia presence

By Dale Mezzacappa on Dec 19, 2014 06:17 PM

Half of the members of Gov.-elect Tom Wolf's 18-person transition committee for education issues have Philadelphia ties, including co-chair Pedro Rivera, the Lancaster superintendent.

Rivera was born and raised in Philadelphia and spent 13 years in the system as a teacher, principal, and director of human resources before heading to Lancaster in 2008. There he has drawn attention for improving student achievement and the district's financial position.

Students say state's treatment of Philadelphia schools a form of violence

By Peak Johnson on Dec 19, 2014 02:18 PM

Students gathered at the School District's headquarters late Thursday afternoon to participate in a "die-in" to protest the grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. They also honored the death of Laporshia Massey, a Philadelphia student who died last year after suffering an asthma attack in school, where no nurse was on duty.

Wakisha Charter school shutting for good earlier than planned

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Dec 19, 2014 09:36 AM

North Philadelphia's Wakisha Charter School is closing its doors Friday, only the second charter school in Philadelphia history to do so in the middle of a school year. Wakisha was supposed to close Dec. 23, but last week the school's administration stopped classes and moved up the last day to Dec. 19.

District: We need $309M more next year to provide effective education

By Dale Mezzacappa on Dec 18, 2014 02:30 PM

Updated | 7:50 p.m.

Tonight Superintendent William Hite presented two five-year financial plans to the School Reform Commission.

One is called "Inadequate Status Quo" and reflects the "grim reality" of current conditions in schools. 

The other, called "Transformation," asks for enough resources to "provide all ... students with the kind of educational opportunities that will enable them to fulfill their promise."

Education groups at odds over study of Philly schools' performance

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Dec 16, 2014 05:26 PM

An influential school reform group is urging Philadelphia District leaders to approve every charter applicant that can effectively run schools serving a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students.

Last week, District officials heard pitches from operators hoping to open 40 new charter schools across the city.

Pa. auditor backs off state Department of Education

By Mary Wilson for NewsWorks on Dec 16, 2014 09:43 AM

It appears that the tensions have subsided, at least for the moment, between the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the commonwealth's fiscal watchdog.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale blasted the agency earlier this month for being uncooperative with a performance review.

District won't propose any school closings this year

By David Limm on Dec 15, 2014 06:26 PM

For the second year in a row, School District of Philadelphia officials will not be proposing any closures of District schools.

"At this time, we are not making any recommendations to close schools next year," School District spokesperson Fernando Gallard confirmed in an email, without elaboration.

South Philadelphia High drives toward becoming a community school

By Payne Schroeder on Dec 15, 2014 11:48 AM

For Kamoy Gumbs, a senior at South Philadelphia High School, the school day doesn’t end after the final bell. Instead, he heads up to the third floor to do some homework in the school’s teen lounge before he trades his pencil for an apron.

“I love cooking, and one of my friends told me about it, so I came over,” said Gumbs, 17, who takes part in a culinary arts program after school provided by Sunrise of Philadelphia, a social services organization. “I started in 10th grade -- it’s my third year. I go every day.”

Southern, as the school is often called, has been working with local service providers like Sunrise for three years to provide afterschool programming and social services inside its building for students, parents, and, when it can, other community members.

School District expects more high school applications with new online process

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Dec 13, 2014 08:45 AM

For the first time, Philadelphia's high school selection application -- used by about 60 percent of District students to apply to up to five schools outside their neighborhoods -- is entirely online.

It's a matter of convenience for the District and the students, according to Karyn Lynch, the District's chief of student services.

The process makes things easier on the District by cutting out time-consuming data entry, she said, adding that parents can access the application on smartphones or other mobile devices.

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