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The Notebook's latest news posts.

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.

SRC meeting dominated by charter conversion critics

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 16, 2015 05:15 AM

Philadelphia school leaders got an earful Thursday night.

Much of the four-and-a-half-hour School Reform Commission meeting was filled with contentious testimony.

Teachers, parents, and advocates decried the shortage of school nurses and took leaders to task for the so-far exceedingly underwhelming results of their decision to outsource substitute teaching placement services — leading some in the crowd to call for ousting Superintendent William Hite.

Mastery's CEO talks about expansion plan and Renaissance turnarounds

By Dale Mezzacappa on Oct 15, 2015 03:22 PM

Mastery Charter Schools CEO Scott Gordon said Thursday that a new $9.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education would be used to open new schools in the city and across the Delaware River.  

"We're expecting to open schools in Philadelphia and Camden," Gordon said in a telephone interview. "New schools or Renaissance schools. Our preference has always been Renaissance schools, because that is the quickest way to address kids who are trapped in struggling schools." 

SRC to hear from parents about charter conversion plans

By Kevin McCorry for NewsWorks on Oct 15, 2015 02:31 PM

Expect a lively Thursday evening on North Broad Street.

Philadelphia parents, students, educators, and advocates will have their first chance to testify on the sweeping proposals unveiled by the Philadelphia School District two weeks ago.

Mastery gets $9.6 million federal grant to expand

By Greg Windle on Oct 14, 2015 05:56 PM

Updated with information on Scott Gordon interview

The U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has awarded Mastery Charter Schools a $9.6 million federal grant with the goal of opening 12 new schools over the next five years as a part of the department’s Replication and Expansion for High-Quality Charter Schools program.

Looking for volunteers to help Notebook at High School Fair

By the Notebook on Oct 14, 2015 03:32 PM

The Notebook will be at the Pennsylvania Convention Center this weekend when an estimated 8,000 parents and students will flood the venue for the annual High School Fair.

We will be handing out copies of our Fall Guide to High Schools, which contains profiles of 88 high schools, both District and charter. We’re looking for volunteers on Saturday to help us hand out the guides. 

If you can volunteer one or more hours between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, please contact Lauren Wiley by email or by phone at 215-839-0082 ext. 106. The Notebook could use your help!

Judge approves charter cut, more funds for Chester schools. But can he do that?

By Laura Benshoff for NewsWorks on Oct 13, 2015 12:52 PM

After two months of negotiations and hearings, Delaware County Judge Chad Kenney has approved a drastic plan to rework the Chester Upland School District's finances.

The next question is, can he do that?

Education takes center stage in Philadelphia mayoral debate

By Aaron Moselle for NewsWorks on Oct 13, 2015 10:25 AM

More than 200 people packed a Center City auditorium Monday night for a tame, wide-ranging mayoral debate between Democrat Jim Kenney and Republican Melissa Murray Bailey.

As it has throughout this election season, education dominated the hourlong event at WHYY.

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