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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

SRC approves new KIPP charter school and transfer of Douglass to Mastery

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 21, 2015 10:33 PM

On Thursday, the School Reform Commission approved a new K-4 KIPP charter school for West Philadelphia to open in 2016 and voted to transfer management of Young Scholars Frederick Douglass Charter School from Scholar Academies to Mastery.

The three-year KIPP charter was approved by a 3-1 vote, with SRC Chair Marjorie Neff dissenting. Commissioner Farah Jimenez recused herself due to a potential conflict of interest.

Nurses protest District plans to privatize school health services

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 21, 2015 10:13 PM

Umbrellas in hand, more than 50 people demonstrated outside School District headquarters Thursday against District plans to outsource school-based health services, a move that could further reduce the ranks of unionized school nurses.

Several speakers said that the proposal was nothing more than a union-busting move that would line the pockets of private health-care providers on the backs of children.

Students tell their stories: From the verge of foster care to YESPhilly

By Dale Mezzacappa | Video by Trenae Nuri on May 21, 2015 03:12 PM

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.

Cuts could put graduation gains at risk, Nutter and others warn

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 20, 2015 05:17 PM

A key author of a new report showing rising graduation rates in Philadelphia, especially among vulnerable student groups, warned that the impact of recent District budget cuts has not yet shown up in the data and could affect future classes.

SRC to vote on turning over Young Scholars-Douglass to Mastery

By Dale Mezzacappa on May 19, 2015 10:01 PM

The School Reform Commission plans to vote on a resolution Thursday that keeps open the academically struggling Young Scholars Frederick Douglass charter school in North Philadelphia on the condition that its management be taken over by Mastery Charter.

Douglass is one of the initial seven low-performing District schools given to a charter operator for academic turnaround in 2010 under the Renaissance schools initiative, and it is the first to be recommended for transfer from one charter operator to another. 

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