This guest blog post comes from Aaron Troisi, a board member of the Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools.
With the School District cutting programs and closing neighborhood schools, the city’s children may soon receive some educational assistance from an unlikely source – Philadelphia’s hip-hop community.
Hip Hop Fundamentals, a local group of dancers who use breakdancing to teach academic content, are gearing up to tour their empowering “Civil Rights Movements” assembly to 10 neighborhood public schools at no cost to the local schools. But first they have to raise some money.
by Benjamin Herold for NewsWorks, a Notebook news partner
For parents hoping to enroll their children in kindergarten at the coveted Penn Alexander Elementary School in West Philadelphia, it's been a roller-coaster weekend.
Now many are hoping a Tuesday morning meeting with Superintendent William Hite will pave the way for a comprehensive solution that guarantees admission to the school to all children living within its attendance zone.
After dozens of parents had already camped out in the freezing cold for the better part of a day outside the Penn Alexander school, District officials decided to change the process and conduct a lottery to determine who would get a coveted spot in September's kindergarten class.
"We're making the change for equity and safety," said Karyn Lynch, the District's chief of student services. She said that a lottery would "bring fairness to the process," and that officials had "great concern about people remaining outside for three days in cold weather."
By Friday afternoon, 68 people were lined up outside the school in freezing weather, hoping for one of the 72 kindergarten seats. The first parent arrived early Friday morning, setting off a scramble. Registration starts Tuesday morning and was on a first-come, first-serve basis.
by Charlotte Pope
The School District has begun to roll out a new system for responding to poor classroom performance, bad behavior, and truancy in students.
The West Philadelphia Parent and Family Resource Center, in collaboration with the School District of Philadelphia’s Parent University, held the second of four parent workshops Thursday to introduce a new system called RtII, or Response to Instruction and Intervention.
by Bill Hangley, Jr.
With the shadow of dozens of possible school closures looming in the background, a group of public school advocates has formally filed an ethics complaint challenging the legitimacy of the dramatic reform plan developed for the School District of Philadelphia by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the William Penn Foundation.
Este otoño los defensores de la educación trabajaron para asegurar que se tomara en cuenta la opinión de la comunidad en la discusión sobre el futuro de las escuelas de Filadelfia: la Philadelphia Coalition Advocating for Public Schools (PCAPS) llevó a cabo dos foros y circuló una encuesta dirigida a padres, educadores, estudiantes y otros que apoyan la educación pública.
Notebook readers can still find the bimonthly print publication at 750 distribution sites throughout the city, including all District and charter schools. But to increase access to the paper, the Notebook has contracted with the delivery company CCN to set up honor boxes at strategic spots on the streets around town.
Since coming to Philadelphia, Superintendent William Hite has emphasized the importance of community input and involving students in decision-making. This fall, Hite created the Office of Student Services to tackle student issues and ensure that their voices continue to be heard, and he brought in a former colleague to lead it.
“If you really want to focus on curriculum, instruction, and what’s happening in the classroom, it is critical to pull out the student services,” said new Chief of Student Services Karyn Lynch.
Response to the October 2012 edition article “A new blend of public and private”
I think the decentralized approach to school management that is a component of the portfolio model is questionable due to the lack of actually decentralizing.