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Editor and director of the Notebook since 1999, Paul was one of the Notebook’s founders in 1994. He came to the Notebook as a public school parent with a long history of involvement in public education and other social justice issues. His children both graduated from Philadelphia public schools. He has been an active Home & School Association member and served as a parent representative on a School Council. Prior to becoming editor, he worked on education issues for the National Coalition of Education Activists and the American Friends Service Committee.

Recent Blog Entries

More by Paul Socolar

District study: Students in career and technical education programs do well

By Paul Socolar on Jan 15, 2015 10:00 AM

Philadelphia students who take part in career and technical education programs in District high schools are much more likely to graduate than their academically similar peers who do not participate in these programs, according to a new School District research study.

District researchers presented the findings at a public meeting at District headquarters on Wednesday. The results are a boost to proponents of career and technical education (CTE), once referred to as vo-tech and sometimes in the past derided as less rigorous than academic classes.

Be there for us - we'll be there for you

By Paul Socolar on Dec 23, 2014 07:42 PM

The Notebook staff is preparing for an exciting 2015 – another year of changes and challenges for the Philadelphia public school system ... and for our nonprofit news organization. Your voices, your concerns drive our coverage. We also depend on you, our readers, to help financially to maintain and expand this independent, comprehensive coverage. The Notebook could not exist if not for your support.

Picasso Project grants give Philly school arts programs a boost

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Dec 23, 2014 04:42 PM

Fifteen Philadelphia area schools have something to be thankful for.  They are being awarded grants totaling $70,000 through Public Citizens for Children and Youth's Picasso Project — a philanthropic reaction to budget cuts that have decimated art and music resources across the city's public schools.

"Several schools in Philadelphia have no arts teacher, no music teacher and very little funding. If they do have an art teacher, they may not have any budget for materials," said Linda Fernandez, the project's director.

Hearings start Dec. 8 for 40 new charter school applicants

By Kevin McCorry and Paul Socolar for NewsWorks and the Notebook on Nov 26, 2014 06:55 PM

For the first time in years, the Philadelphia School District is accepting applications to open new charter schools.

Many of the applicants, which are listed below, are already familiar names. KIPP proposes three new schools, String Theory seeks four, and Mastery wants two, as do American Paradigm and MaST.

There are also some interesting newcomers making pitches.

Reader feedback invited: Teaching about Ferguson in Philadelphia

By Paul Socolar on Nov 25, 2014 01:03 PM

Many Philadelphia students have yesterday's news on their minds today -- of the non-indictment in last summer's police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. And some teachers and schools have changed their plans for the day to give students an opportunity to respond.

The Notebook would like to hear from teachers, parents, and others about how you are engaging with young people about that news. Please share your experiences and thoughts in our comments.

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