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Come to 'Brunch with Paul.' Here's why I'm going.

By Christine Carlson on Oct 22, 2015 04:10 PM

Why am I attending brunch with Paul Socolar?

To be honest, I don’t know Paul all that well. At most, we’ve exchanged polite hellos and chatted briefly at school-related events. However, I’m attending the “Brunch with Paul,” because the Notebook has become an important part of my life.

I wasn’t even aware of the existence of the Notebook until my children started attending public school. Once they did, it didn’t take me long to realize the extent of the dysfunction of the structure, administration, and funding mechanisms that affect our schools. To a newcomer wading into the public school swamp, it was confusing, and I found it hard to determine the motivations of all the parties claiming that children’s needs come first. And that’s when I discovered what a valuable tool the Notebook is in making sense of what’s going on.

Source4Teachers is paid only for teachers it places, according to contract

By Dale Mezzacappa and Greg Windle on Oct 22, 2015 01:20 PM

Editor's note

Critics may get small consolation from the news that Source4Teachers, the firm hired to provide the District's substitute service, is not getting paid by the District for the teachers that it is failing to place in city classrooms.

And the District has incorporated standard language into its contract terms allowing it to terminate its agreement with Source4Teachers "for its convenience" and without penalty, simply by providing the company with 14 days' notice.

A guide to help find your way to college

By Brianna Spause on Oct 22, 2015 11:27 AM

Ready to apply to college? Philadelphia Futures is dedicated to helping students get there with its annual edition of the Step Up to College guide.

The 66-page resource helps students navigate through each stage of preparing for college and applying.

“There is much public discourse currently about the cost of college and equal access to higher education for first-generation-to-college students; however, there is often less focus on the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the college admissions process,” said Joan Mazzotti, executive director of Philadelphia Futures.

School officials update City Council

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on Oct 22, 2015 10:10 AM

At a hearing Wednesday on the future of Philadelphia's public schools, City Council heard again about the struggle for resources throughout the District.

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, told Council members that there have been some terrible ideas to overcome those shortfalls, including outsourcing substitute teachers.

District to borrow more to make payroll

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 21, 2015 03:35 PM

As Pennsylvania's budget impasse creeps toward its fifth month, the Philadelphia School District will need to borrow additional money to cover payroll beyond October.

In August, the District borrowed $275 million to get through the first two months of school because of the logjam in the state Capitol – a move that will ultimately cost an additional $1 million in debt service.

Notes from the news, Oct. 21

By the Notebook on Oct 21, 2015 08:27 AM

When level best isn't good enough. Daily News

Elementary students press mayoral candidates on playgrounds, arts, guns. NewsWorks

Mayoral candidates face tough questions - from elementary students. Inquirer

Opinion: Rushed reforms fail our schools.Daily News

Students' reactions to 'Between the World and Me'. Notebook

Chelsea Clinton inspires Philadelphia students. Inquirer

Eighth-grader charts ‘new journey’ at Beeber. The Philadelphia Tribune

Christiana, Phillips-Hill look to scare up support for "ghost busting" bill. The Times

Can ed-tech inequality be solved by roving buses with Wi-Fi and loads of equipment? The Hechinger Report

Old memories, new hopes for former Philly high school grounds. The Philadelphia Tribune

Opinion: Philly schools' confusing background-check policy. Inquirer

News summary from Keystone State Education Coalition

State budget stalemate Day 113:

Wolf says he cannot advance money to strapped public schools. Inquirer

Gov. Wolf says he will not allow funds to go toward struggling school districts until budget is passed. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wolf offers possible path to help Erie schools. Penn Live

End the budget impasse, superintendents tell state. Times-Tribune

Editorial: Time’s up, Harrisburg: Enact a budget for Pa. Lancaster Online

Budget pains linger for Phila. school district. The Philadelphia Tribune

Elementary students press mayoral candidates on playgrounds, arts, guns

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 20, 2015 06:12 PM

What civic issues press on the minds of the city's 4th and 5th graders?

The two top mayoral candidates got a chance to find out Tuesday at an event held at Philadelphia School District headquarters and hosted by the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement.

Students' reactions to 'Between the World and Me'

By Fabiola Cineas on Oct 20, 2015 10:39 AM

As part of the Free Library’s Teen Author Series, high school students from 13 District and charter schools received a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book Between the World and Me to read in their English classes and literature clubs. On Friday, they all listened to Coates read from his book at the Free Library.

Notes from the news, Oct. 20

By the Notebook on Oct 20, 2015 08:46 AM

PFT's Jordan blasts teacher vacancy situation. Notebook

Thousands of Philly students still without permanent teachers. Inquirer

Phila. Teachers’ Union President: District ‘Owes It To Children’ To Fill Teacher Vacancies. CBS Philly

House panel backs study of schools' zero tolerance policies. AP

First lady aims to get more students to continue education. AP

In Philly, Ta-Nehisi Coates talks race and the 'responsibility to resist'. Notebook

Letters: Teaming up for college success. Daily News

Black high school graduation rates rise with national tide. Tribune

How a regulatory blind spot puts the integrity of nonprofit higher ed at risk. Hechinger Report

Say it in any language you want – Latinos need a voice in the U.S. education debateHechinger Report

Tucker: Want a President Who Will Tackle Income Inequality? First Get a Candidate Who Will Talk K-12 Education. The Seventy Four

Some Republicans say use of new basic education funding formula should be reconsidered. PLS Reporter

For quality pre-K, look for more than the ABCs. Notebook

How to judge the quality of pre-K programs. Notebook

The cost of high quality. Notebook

News summary from Keystone State Education Coalition

State budget stalemate Day 112:

Budget impasse affecting school district, regional counties. Tribune

After GOP budget planning meeting, nothing definitive agreed-to and everything still on the table. PLS Reporter

Moody's lowers credit outlook for Pennsylvania to "negative," citing budget impasse. Penn Live

School district seeks money; budget pains linger. Tribune

PFT's Jordan blasts teacher vacancy situation

By Greg Windle on Oct 19, 2015 07:06 PM

Editor's note

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan spoke at Northeast High School on Monday to draw attention to the “District’s failure” to fill numerous teacher vacancies in the city’s public schools.

In Philly, Ta-Nehisi Coates talks race and the 'responsibility to resist'

By Fabiola Cineas on Oct 19, 2015 03:40 PM

For some students, school doesn’t come easily. They don’t revel in Shakespeare, nor do they thrive in the confines of the classroom. Instead, their brains whir with the goings-on of the street, their main concern protecting their vulnerable bodies.

High school students across Philadelphia identified with this idea as they gathered at the Free Library on Friday to hear Ta-Nehisi Coates read from his latest book, Between the World and Me.

District running out of patience with substitute firm

By Catherine Offord on Oct 16, 2015 04:37 PM

Editor's note

Five weeks into the school year, District officials are reaching the end of their tether with the private substitute placement firm Source4Teachers.

The District has seen the number of staffed classrooms plummet since it outsourced substitute recruitment and placement to the Cherry Hill-based firm in an attempt to boost coverage levels. Source4Teachers has said the firm is working to find solutions, but progress remains slow. 

After the fill rate for empty classrooms reached nearly 30 percent in the last week of September, that level has now slumped back to 20 percent, the District said.

Why I'm going to 'Brunch with Paul'

By Vicki Ellis on Oct 16, 2015 11:43 AM

I have known Notebook editor/publisher Paul Socolar forever. I recall, years ago, the very first Notebooks being dropped off at my neighborhood school, E. M. Stanton Elementary. 

In the ensuing years, the Notebook told the E.M. Stanton School story twice as we fought for the school's very life (Stanton successfully averted closure in 2003 and again in 2012). There is no doubt that having the Stanton story covered by the Notebook made a difference in our successful efforts to keep Stanton open as a good neighborhood school option for our kids and beyond!

Over the years, I have often said, "The Notebook consistently provides the best coverage of public education of any newspaper in the region – hands down." The Notebook moved onto the digital and social media stage without missing a beat.  

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