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December 2015 Vol. 23. No. 3 Focus on Standardized Tests

From our readers

A family-type atmosphere

By the Notebook on Nov 24, 2015 11:23 AM

A family-type atmosphere

Response to Sept. 23 blog post “Eatiquette brings family-style dining to the cafeteria” by Brianna Spause.

This article on Eatiquette gives me hope that every school in our District will be able to participate in this program. So many of our children don’t have the opportunity to have daily family dinner time. I believe the data will demonstrate positive outcomes for these two lucky schools. There’s a great possibility of some level of stress reduction – therefore, allowing our children to hear instruction.

Mattie Davis

The writer is a 1st-grade teacher in the School District of Philadelphia.


Nurturing a passion for reading

Response to Oct. 9 blog post, “Literacy campaign stresses importance of teacher training at schools of ed” by Fabiola Cineas.

It’s too bad that the word “passionate” is not evident among the reading goals for the children to be served with these clinical techniques and measures.

Color-coded books serve the teachers as a measure more than the child readers, encouraging restricted reading to level rather than passionate reading to subjects of personal interest despite the difficulty of text. How about “reading” pictures and captions in an obviously too-big book? Would a too-big book be available in a classroom library?

Every child, especially our low-income students, deserve two humans in each school to guide the way to lifelong, passionate reading – a certified reading teacher and a certified teacher-librarian. In addition, a well-resourced school library provides thousands of fabulous choices for students to read – choices that support the curriculum, the cultural needs of our diverse student populations, special interests of the students, and the reading abilities of the students in that particular school.

School libraries are economical that way. The collection is curated, maintained, and circulated among all students and staff in the whole school, as needed. The certified teacher-librarian, reading specialist, and classroom teachers collaborate in an effort to reach every student.

Students who read need the additional resources of the neighborhood public library branch. More important, however, is easy access to magnificently overabundant print and electronic reading resources in the building where the teaching and learning is taking place – in their school library – with the certified teacher-librarian as their guide among the largesse.

Carol W. Heinsdorf

The writer, retired from the School District of Philadelphia, is a certified teacher-librarian and a member of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools.


Ensuring equality for all

Response to the Nov. 2 blog post “LGBT-friendly high school among slate of Philly charter school hopefuls” by Kevin McCorry.

I am a Philadelphia public school teacher and sponsor of my school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. We should be working hard to ensure that all of our public schools are safe for LGBTQ students, not creating a separate charter school. Separate is never equal; we have learned it before. It is much healthier for both LGBTQ and straight students to learn together and from each other.

Diversity is America’s strength, as is its public education system. Although I’m sure that this proposed school for LGBTQ students has its heart in the right place, this is absolutely the wrong way to go about this. Put money into our public schools and support programs there, and we will continue to see positive change.

Meghan Donnelly

The writer is a teacher in the School District of Philadelphia.

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