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Dale Mezzacappa has reported on education since 1986, most of that time with The Philadelphia Inquirer. Prior to taking over the education beat, she was in the Trenton and Washington bureaus covering politics and government. Her work has won many local and national journalism awards, including for a series spanning 13 years that followed 112 inner city sixth graders promised a free college education by a wealthy philanthropist. She is currently contributing editor at The Philadelphia Public School Notebook, a quarterly independent and non-profit publication. A graduate of Vassar and a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, she teaches a journalism course at Swarthmore College and sits on the board of the Education Writers Association.
 

Recent Blog Entries

More by Dale Mezzacappa

At institute, educators explore what teacher leadership looks like

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 25, 2014 03:40 PM

As the School District announced that it wanted teams of educators and others to submit plans for school overhaul, a group of young Philadelphia teachers was holding a summer institute on teacher leadership.

For three days this week, 18 of them met under the auspices of Teachers Lead Philly on the campus of Swarthmore College to discuss their challenges, draw from the wisdom of veterans, tell their stories and work on skills including mentoring, curriculum design, and writing for publication.

State commission on basic education funding begins its work

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 24, 2014 09:12 PM

The state legislature's Basic Education Funding Commission held its first meeting Thursday, with the goal of creating a school funding formula that one member said would be "focused on children and their best interests."

Pennsylvania is one of only a handful of states that do not have a predictable education funding formula based on student enrollment and characteristics.The distribution of more than $5.5 billion in state aid has some relationship to a district's size and wealth, but does not account for enrollment fluctuations or what is needed to insure at least basic adequacy of services for all students. 

District inviting educators, others to redesign schools

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 22, 2014 06:11 PM

The Philadelphia School District is launching a school redesign initiative, inviting applications from teams of educators, parents and outside organizations, including community groups and universities, to overhaul existing District schools.

"We're doing this now because we see a tremendous opportunity within the school system in the city to provide space for really talented and passionate people to help us with transformation efforts in specific schools," said Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn in an interview.

Partnerships director Stacy Holland leaving District

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 17, 2014 05:14 PM

Several additional top personnel moves at the School District were made public Thursday.

Chief of Strategic Partnerships Stacy Holland is leaving; her last day will be Aug. 31. She will be the new executive director of the Lenfest Foundation.

Before joining the District, Holland had been president and CEO of the Philadelphia Youth Network and, in that capacity, started working with the District on strengthening outside partnerships. She was hired by the District last October.

Her charge had been to use the District's work with outside organizations and government agencies to maximize services to children.

District announces 342 layoffs, mostly aides; move unrelated to cigarette tax

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 10, 2014 01:25 PM

Updated | 3:25 p.m.

The School District announced 342 layoffs Thursday, most of them noontime aides and special-education classroom assistants.

But the total also includes eight assistant principals, three conflict-resolution specialists, and 15 assistants in Head Start classrooms.

District spokeswoman Raven Hill said that these layoffs were mostly the result of budget decisions made by principals and are not related to the 1,300 layoffs that may be necessary if the legislature fails to give final approval to a cigarette tax to raise funds for the District.

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