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Bartram's troubles: Not about funds?

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 04/16/2014 - 17:36 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Bill Hangley Jr.

As news of violence and disarray at Bartram High School dominated Philadelphia headlines, national education researchers were downtown at the Convention Center, discussing the theory and practice of a “portfolio” school reform strategy that relies on management changes – converting low-performing schools to charters or closing them.

And although many have tied Bartram’s troubles to the budget cuts that sharply reduced staff levels at the school, Philadelphia School Partnership head Mark Gleason does not agree.

School counselors struggle to help seniors with college plans

Submitted by thenotebook on Mon, 12/23/2013 - 10:39 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

As application deadlines loom for many of the nation's top colleges, guidance counselors in Philadelphia's traditional public high schools are scrambling to ensure that the needs of all students are met.

According to Philly School Counselors United, staff shortages due to budget cuts have made the undertaking "frantic" for counselors and a "struggle" for the School District's seniors.

Christine Donnelly is the only guidance counselor for the Academy at Palumbo's more than 800 students.

The case of Laporshia Massey: Asthma and our schools

by Eileen M. DiFranco Posted in December 2013 Edition | Permalink

I’ve been a school nurse in Philadelphia for almost 25 years. I’ve seen lots of blood and a finger almost amputated by a door accidentally slammed. I’ve seen head injuries, seizures, and high and low blood sugar levels in diabetics. 

The very worst moments I’ve experienced as a school nurse, however, are those that were spent with children who were having an asthma attack.

No relief in sight for District’s troubled finances

by Dale Mezzacappa Posted in December 2013 Edition | Permalink

This story will appear in the Notebook's forthcoming print edition focusing on school funding, due out on Dec. 2.

 

Nearly three months into the school year, the School District of Philadelphia is still navigating treacherous fiscal waters, having made little progress in convincing state and city lawmakers to provide financial relief and stability.

Faced with a $304 million budget gap for this fiscal year, the District had sought $180 million in new revenues from the state and city and $133 million in labor concessions. As of mid-November, it had received $112 million in increases from the state and city, but just $17 million of that is in recurring funds. And it had reached no agreement with its unions.

As a result, it is still operating schools with shrunken staffs, sparse instructional materials, inadequate counseling services for students, and classes at their contractual maximum. 

Kensington mural spells out students' concerns over Philly school cuts

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 11/21/2013 - 13:30 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks



A new photo mural uses the alphabet to spell out the hardships of the Philadelphia School District's budget crisis.

The 26-panel project hangs along a gate below the Berks Street stop on the Market-Frankford El. Not far away sits Kensington CAPA High School, where the students who are behind the outdoor art installation go to school.

Guidance counselors in Philly schools 'barely making it, if not drowning'

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 10/24/2013 - 17:53 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

What does $45 million mean to the Philadelphia School District?

Not enough.

That was the unanimous feeling from the group of school guidance counselors who gathered Wednesday evening to discuss what they've seen in Philadelphia's traditional public schools so far this year.

Last week, after Gov. Corbett announced that he would release an additional $45 million to the District, Philadelphia schools Superintendent William Hite said he'd immediately begin recalling 400 employees. Of that number, he said, 80 would be guidance counselors.

"It's a Band-Aid in a gaping wound that's just not going to make much of a difference," said Tatiana Olmedo, guidance counselor at Central High School.

Protesters rally at Vare-Washington over loss of teachers, services

Submitted by thenotebook on Wed, 10/23/2013 - 16:03 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Isaac Riddle

About 50 parents, teachers, students, and community members joined Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan in a protest about budget cuts outside of Vare-Washington Elementary School on Wednesday afternoon. 

The group gathered to voice concerns over the latest loss of programs and services at the South Philadelphia school and to talk about the impact the District’s leveling efforts will have on a school already hurting from staffing shortages brought on by districtwide budget cuts. 

Nurses hold vigil in memory of girl who died of asthma

Submitted by thenotebook on Fri, 10/18/2013 - 16:58 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Naveed Ahsan

School nurses, parents, and education advocates concerned about budget cuts held a silent candlelight vigil outside of District headquarters before Thursday’s School Reform Commission meeting in memory of 12-year-old Laporshia Massey, who died from an asthma attack on Sept. 25.

Philly groups file blanket complaint on counselor shortage

Submitted by Dale Mezzacappa on Fri, 10/18/2013 - 00:05 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

Parents United for Public Education and Philly School Counselors United filed a complaint with the Department of Education Thursday saying that Philadelphia chidlren are being denied an adequate education due to the counselor shortage in city schools.

"The lack of counselors impedes the ability of teachers to deliver as effectively instructional services," according to the complaint, filed with the help of the Public Interest Law Center of Pennsylvania (PILCOP). 

One family's continuing search for adequate special education services

Submitted by thenotebook on Thu, 10/17/2013 - 16:49 Posted in Latest news | Permalink

by Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks

The Philadelphia School District has at least 20,000 students designated as having special needs.

Each year, the District pays millions in legal fees and lawsuit settlements based on its failure, both proven and alleged, to meet their needs.

This year, due to budget cuts, the District shed close to 3,000 staff members.

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