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The Notebook's latest news posts.

Hite to propose changing, but not canceling Source4Teachers contract

By David Limm on Nov 19, 2015 01:26 PM

In an email to School District employees Thursday, Superintendent William Hite again acknowledged the failure by staffing firm Source4teachers to adequately fill the District's substitute vacancies and described a few planned changes in the Cherry Hill-based firm's contract to be considered at Thursday's School Reform Commission meeting.

"Without a doubt, our efforts this year to ramp up substitute teacher recruitment and hiring by contracting with Source4Teachers (S4T) have not worked as anticipated," Hite said.

Changes to substitute teacher plan to be unveiled at SRC meeting

By Tom MacDonald for NewsWorks on Nov 19, 2015 10:38 AM

Philadelphia Schools Superintendent William Hite intends to present a new plan for covering teacher vacancies after months of dissatisfaction with a New Jersey contractor hired to supply substitutes.

Source4Teachers of Cherry Hill was awarded the District contract to provide 75 percent of the teachers needed by the District on any given day. In September, its fill rate was only 11 percent. That's increased, but only slightly.

What happens when a magnet school suddenly drops admission criteria?

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 18, 2015 07:39 PM

For many Philadelphia families, the city's special admissions magnet schools are key resources that keep them from moving out of town.

But what would happen if one of these schools was suddenly required to drop its acceptance requirements and begin enrolling students performing at far lower academic standards?

One Northwest Philadelphia public school – Hill-Freedman World Academy – is on track to find out.

Understanding the PSSA exams

By Paul Jablow on Nov 18, 2015 01:37 PM

The Notebook is examining standardized testing this month. The topic is the focus of our upcoming December-January edition.

What are the PSSAs?

The Pennsylvania Department of Education launched the PSSAs (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) in 1992. They are standardized tests administered annually and are based on state standards for what students should know and be able to do at various grade levels.

Keystone exams: Questions and answers

By Dan Hardy on Nov 17, 2015 03:40 PM

The Notebook is examining standardized testing this month. The topic is the focus of our upcoming December-January edition.

What are the Keystone exams?

In 2009, the Pennsylvania State Board of Education voted to establish statewide end-of-course exams in order to set uniform benchmarks for key academic subjects. The tests began in 2011. The tested subjects are Algebra 1, Biology, and Literature.

Field narrows as 14 charter hopefuls submit proposals to SRC

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 17, 2015 02:55 PM

Fourteen potential Philadelphia charter operators submitted applications for proposed new schools by the Nov. 15 deadline. That's about one-third as many as last year.

Twenty-two schools had submitted letters of intent by the Oct 15 deadline.

Ten of the 14 applications came from existing Philadelphia charter operators. Six came from entities that did not submit applications in the 2014-15 cycle.

Pa. school officials lobby to keep taxing abilities

By Mary Wilson for NewsWorks on Nov 16, 2015 04:07 PM

Tiny preschoolers and K-12 school students took Monday off to join school board members and exasperated parents calling for an end to Pennsylvania's budget impasse, as Gov. Wolf signaled that a budget deal wouldn't be ready before December.

Members of the advocacy coalition known as Campaign for Fair Education Funding fanned out throughout the Capitol building to meet individually with their lawmakers and ask for a finalized state budget.

Caucus of WE reveals leadership slate and campaign platform

By Paul Jablow on Nov 16, 2015 02:12 PM

Amy Roat, a teacher at Feltonville School of Arts & Sciences, will head an insurgent slate of candidates to run against the established Philadelphia Federation of Teachers leadership in the union’s 2016 elections.

After a scare, more details emerge in tentative budget deal

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Nov 11, 2015 05:48 PM

After a scare Tuesday, leaders in the Pennsylvania Capitol said that the framework of a state budget agreement is still intact.

The tentative agreement includes a $400 million increase to K-12 public education this year.

Caucus of Working Educators unhappy about PFT election procedures

By Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 10, 2015 04:25 PM

The Caucus of Working Educators, which is trying to topple the long-dominant Collective Bargaining (CB) Team for leadership of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, is protesting the union's election procedures -- or the lack of them so far.  

WE, as it is known, also alleges that CB-loyal building representatives – the elected union leaders at each school – are improperly seeking to bar them from distributing flyers and holding meetings in school buildings.

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