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CTE Success Stories: An HVAC mechanic who beat the odds

By Michaela Ward on Aug 31, 2015 02:31 PM

When Luis Maldonado first heard about the HVAC & Refrigeration Technology CTE program at Edison High School, he was simply passing his lunchtime with a friend who was already in the class.

“For lunch we’d hang out in the shop and he’d teach me what Mr. Zimak had taught him,” Maldonado recalled.  

This preview of the HVAC coursework led Maldonado to visiting CTE teacher James Zimak’s shop regularly. At the time, he thought CTE courses were a graduation requirement, so he signed up for Zimak’s class.

Germantown High alumni celebrate shuttered school's centennial

By Bastiaan Slabbers for NewsWorks on Aug 31, 2015 01:28 PM

The 100th anniversary party may have been held in West Philadelphia, but there was no question that the grand ballroom was bursting with Germantown High School pride.

On Saturday night, a black bear — the shuttered school's mascot — welcomed nearly 300 alumni as they celebrated their alma mater's centennial.

Chester Upland can't pay its teachers -- but they're working anyway

By Laura Benshoff for Newsworks on Aug 28, 2015 10:55 PM

Teachers' union president Michele Paulick said she received some unwelcome news at the Chester Upland School District teacher convocation this week.

"Our superintendent, Gregory Shannon, read a letter from our receiver, Francis Barnes, that informed the teachers that there are no funds," said Paulick, who described feeling "shock, frustration and anger" at the news.

Making career and technical education into a first-class option

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Aug 28, 2015 11:35 AM


David Kipphut has a mission: to transform what used to be called vocational education from a second-class backwater to a first-class pathway to prosperity in Philadelphia.

It’s an uphill climb in a cash-strapped district that prioritizes college attainment. Even so, Kipphut has seen significant progress since taking over the Office of Career and Technical Education (CTE) three years ago. Among his favorite examples: the welding program at Randolph High, which just graduated its first cohort.

Commonwealth Court rules District can't force charters to cap enrollment

By Dale Mezzacappa on Aug 27, 2015 07:06 PM

Commonwealth Court ruled Thursday that the School Reform Commission lacks the power to impose enrollment caps on charter schools, a decision that hands a big victory to charters seeking to limit school districts' control of them.

The ruling throws another wrinkle into the School District of Philadelphia's ongoing effort to remain solvent. The District has maintained that unrestrained charter growth depletes its own limited funding and doesn't allow it to plan for its own schools..

The student as education insurgent

By Ron Whitehorne on Aug 27, 2015 01:31 PM

Educating for Insurgency, by Jay Gillen, makes the case that the transformation of our schools depends on recognizing the critical role of young people in high-poverty schools.

Gillen is a Baltimore math teacher who helped organize the Baltimore Algebra Project, a student-run collective that provides tutoring services and engages in political advocacy. The project was inspired by and draws on the legacy of the iconic Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leaders Bob Moses and Ella Baker.

Gillen’s book centers on a discussion of what he calls "schools of poverty" and the efforts to reform them. He compares the organization and norms of the plantation during slavery with today’s schools.  

CTE Success Stories: 'Like we were actually managing a business'

By Michaela Ward on Aug 27, 2015 10:35 AM

It was Andrea Seitchik, a George Washington High School Career and Technical Education teacher, who first approached Dylan Henry about taking CTE classes.

As a 10th grader, Henry decided to give Seitchik’s Sports Marketing and Management program a try. He said he liked the first class, an introduction to the program.

“It made it seem like we were actually managing a business,” he said.

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