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The Notebook's latest news posts.

YouthBuild Philly helps high school dropouts graduate

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 29, 2014 04:59 PM

Alan Jacobs dropped out of Kensington High School at 16 and soon found himself locked up on a gun charge.

His mom, Emma Johnson, felt that her son had completely lost control of his life.

"He wanted to stand on the corner and make fast money," said Johnson. "We talked to him and we talked to him, and he was just headstrong. He wanted the streets."

Lea’s new principal counting on school partners to steady the ship

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Aug 29, 2014 11:44 AM

In a district roiled by budget cuts and layoffs, the new principal at Henry Lea Elementary is counting on a network of community supporters to help keep the West Philadelphia school on an even keel.

“The cuts are probably going to be the biggest challenge. How do you function, as a building, with less than we’ve ever had?” said Jennifer Duffy, a former District administrator hired just last week to run the 600-student school.

But, she said, “This school, more than any others I looked at, has a tremendous network.”

Controller's audit of District financial controls found no 'material weaknesses'

By Paul Socolar on Aug 28, 2014 03:02 PM

City Controller Alan Butkovitz released his annual report on the School District’s internal controls on Wednesday and drew headlines for his continued concerns about the District’s handling of its art collection.

But not noted in the media coverage was the fact that this is the first time since 2008 that the controller’s review of the District’s internal controls found neither “material weaknesses” nor “significant deficiencies.”

Austerity, uncertainty loom large as Class of 2018 arrives

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 28, 2014 10:29 AM

Beginning high school is daunting enough for most young people. But this year, students in Philadelphia face worries that most of their counterparts in more reliably funded districts don’t have.

Will their schedules be disrupted if more layoffs become necessary and some teachers disappear? Will counselors be available to make sure they are taking the courses they need? Will their high school even offer all the courses they want – in some cases, courses that attracted them to that school in the first place?

Wolf gets warm welcome from Philadelphia teachers

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 27, 2014 08:05 PM

Under a blazing August sun, Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf practiced the politics of friendly with red-shirted members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers at Solis-Cohen Elementary School.

Union members, hoping that a Wolf win would translate into more school resources, posed for pictures and shook hands Wednesday with the man who current polling says will overtake Gov. Corbett in November.

City controller calls on District to display locked-away art

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on Aug 27, 2014 04:36 PM

Philadelphia's city controller is calling on the School District to display some long-hidden works of art. Valuable pieces have been sitting in storage for years.

Controller Alan Butkovitz says the District should put on display about 200 pieces of art now in storage. The collection includes paintings by Thomas Eakins and N.C. Wyeth. Altogether, Butkovitz says, they could be worth $4 million to $8 million.

Philly families get help in search for quality preschools

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 27, 2014 02:37 PM

Parents searching for high-quality pre-kindergarten options for their children can be overwhelmed as they try to find a school they can trust.

On Tuesday, a coalition of nonprofit education advocacy organizations announced it will give parents a huge helping hand.

With the lead of the Philadelphia School Partnership, a new website is allowing parents to easily search and compare high-quality pre-K options. It can be accessed through, an existing site that evaluates K-12 options.

Judge: Boarding school at Girard College stays

By Dave Davies for NewsWorks on Aug 27, 2014 01:23 PM

A Philadelphia judge has put the brakes on plans by Girard College to suspend its high school and boarding programs next year in order to restore the school's finances.

Girard College is a unique institution in Philadelphia. Established by 19th-century merchant Stephen Girard, it offers a free education from 1st through 12th grades for kids of single parents at its 43-acre campus in North Philadelphia.

New principals for Cook-Wissahickon, Lea, KCAPA, Kensington Business

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 26, 2014 05:04 PM

With more than 40 schools opening in a week with new principals, the District has filled vacancies at Lea and Cook-Wissahickon elementaries and at Kensington CAPA and Kensington Business.

Jennifer Duffy is the new principal at Lea. According to a bio posted on the school's site, she was born and went to college in South Africa and most recently worked in the District's Office of Multilingual Curriculum and Programs. She is also a member of the Philadelphia Writing Project.

Schools again rely on first-time principals to overcome budget crisis

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Aug 26, 2014 12:23 PM

"Why on earth would you want to work in the Philadelphia School District?"

It's the question the leader of city schools has been using to grill principal candidates all summer long.

Philly Ed Feed

Stopping Summer Slide



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