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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

District kicks off $30 million push for early literacy

By Dale Mezzacappa for the Notebook and Kevin McCorry for Newsworks on Jul 7, 2015 11:27 AM

Close to 700 K-3 teachers from 40 District schools are attending a weeklong summer institute at Martin Luther King High School in East Germantown, learning best practices for teaching students how to read.

The professional development session is a kickoff of a three-year, $30 million effort on the part of the District to bolster the number of students in city schools who read proficiently by the age of 8, a marker that is highly predictive of future success in school. Now, only 40 percent of students in District schools reach that level.

Mayor, Council, PFT, District, charters join in asking state for new funds

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 2, 2015 05:10 PM

Putting aside their usual bickering over what the School District deserves and how it spends its money, the city's key education players sent a joint letter to the Philadelphia legislative delegation Thursday "in unified support of restoring critically needed state funds" that will benefit students. 

How did Superintendent Hite fare on his performance review?

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jul 2, 2015 03:04 PM

William Hite, nearing the end of his third year as superintendent, got positive marks from the School Reform Commission in his annual performance review.

He was eligible for a $60,000 bonus, but declined to take it, citing the District's budget woes.

SRC set to adopt budget considerably smaller than what it sought

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 30, 2015 05:06 PM

Updated | 6 p.m. 

The School Reform Commission will vote Thursday on a 2015-16 budget of $2.8 billion, while giving Superintendent William Hite authorization to spend $2.67 billion of that pending the state's completion of its own highly contentious budget.

Students tell their stories: A chess expert nearly lost to the system

By Dale Mezzacappa on Jun 26, 2015 10:18 AM

In researching our edition on "boosting graduation rates for all," the Notebook interviewed young people who had dropped out and were now reengaging in school. We asked why they left, why they returned, and what obstacles they face. Some described heartbreaking personal situations and herculean struggles. But all displayed hope and optimism about their futures. They were all eager to tell their stories.

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