May 2, 2012 |
The Philadelphia School District's financial situation is so dire that without a $94 million cash infusion from a proposed city property-reassessment plan, schools might not be able to open in the fall, leaders said Tuesday night. At a district budget hearing, chief recovery officer Thomas Knudsen stressed that the district might fall off "the cliff on which we now stand so precariously" if swift action is not taken. The district's money problems, coupled with a lack of academic progress and safety issues, have prompted Knudsen to propose a total overhaul of how schools are organized and run. More students would be shifted to charter schools, and the central office would be shrunk, with district schools managed by staff or outside organizations who bid to run them.
April 2, 2012 |
In a cozy corner of a third-grade classroom at Holland Elementary School in Bucks County's Council Rock School District, 9-year-old Conner Weinberg confidently read to a companion, glancing up once in a while for approval. In return, his listener offered a soulful gaze and, occasionally, a slight wag of a tail. Which is about what you can expect when your audience is a 140-pound Rhodesian ridgeback named Kicho. "Sometimes, I get jittery inside when I read [aloud], but not with Kicho," Conner said.
March 18, 2012 |
Fifth graders surge into my classroom at Kilmer School in Cherry Hill. I'm not sure what to expect - or what they expect of their "Teacher for a Day. " But these 21 lively little people sure seem excited to see me. "You're going to do an essay about what you might want to do as a career," I inform them, in a tone intended to blend the avuncular and the authoritative. Standing in front of a smart board, I wear a headset mike and what I hope is a look of confidence. Or at least composure.
March 6, 2012 |
ARTEM DESMAN sits on the floor of his West Philadelphia home propped up against a pillow, a book in hand. Artem set up the corner by himself, eight weeks after he started in teacher Jaime Arafin's class at Lea Elementary School, according to his mother, Meg Gardner. "It was the greatest thing because he was coming home and actually imitating what he was doing at school," Gardner said. "He was really growing in literacy. " But the extra effort that Arafin took to inspire Artem and his classmates - a reading nook with five beanbag chairs and ottomans and baskets filled with books - was considered "unnecessary clutter" by a group of district administrators, which had it removed.
February 8, 2012
More U.S. funds for Alzheimer's WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is increasing spending on Alzheimer's research - planning to surpass a half-billion dollars next year - as part of a quest to find effective treatments for the brain-destroying disease by 2025. In a two-part plan announced Tuesday, the National Institutes of Health will immediately devote an extra $50 million to dementia research, atop the $450 million a year it now spends. The boost opens the possibility that at least one stalled study of a possible therapy might get to start soon.
December 24, 2011 |
This week, with the winter holidays fast approaching, it seemed that Joe Pisacano's fifth-grade class at McDonald-Davis Elementary School in Bucks County's Centennial district had abandoned education for celebration. Thursday afternoon, Pisacano, in a bright red cap and shirt and billing himself as a "Skateboarding Santa," toted his beloved 1976 G&S board, decorated with tinsel and a tiny Christmas tree, to the ramp in the hallway outside his classroom. To cheers and gasps from his students, he made a series of runs down the hall, smacking into a stack of gift-wrapped boxes at the bottom.
December 19, 2011 |
BY DAY, Christopher Paslay teaches The Crucible and Thoreau's Walden to juniors at Swenson Arts and Technology High School. By night, the 39-year-old teacher-turned-blogger maintains a website, Chalk and Talk, that gives public-school teachers a voice. For Paslay, it was the advent of the No Child Left Behind reform model - the idea of holding schools to standards judged by test scores - that triggered his advocacy on behalf of his fellow teachers. "The disparaging of public-school teachers all the time got me a little upset," explained Paslay, who's taught English at Swenson, in Northeast Philadelphia, for 15 years.
December 7, 2011 |
Balance. Discipline. Dedication. Those have been the keys for football stars Quanzell Lambert of Timber Creek, Jim Cashman of Haddonfield, Andrew Lisa of Moorestown, and Jake Prus of Woodstown. The four seniors applied those qualities to their sports careers and were among the best players in South Jersey this season. But the four football standouts will be honored as scholar-athletes at the Brooks-Irvine Memorial Football Club banquet Monday night because they brought the same focus and determination to their schoolwork.
August 18, 2011 |
JOPLIN, MO. - Seniors and juniors are taking classes in a converted big-box store. Freshmen and sophomores are in a building across town. The new middle school is in an industrial park. Across Joplin, the schools are still a jumble, with books, computer monitors, and unassembled furniture littering unfamiliar hallways. But as classes resumed Wednesday, students and teachers welcomed the start of another year as a return to something normal - or what passes for normal in a city crippled last spring by the nation's single deadliest tornado in six decades.
July 11, 2011
This from my education-team colleague Susan Snyder: The Philadelphia School District has cut one of the companies overseeing disciplinary classrooms in its schools. The Abraxas program served 270 students in grades three through eight in nine classroom sites around the district last school year. The decision to end ties was made because the company did not meet standards set within the district's "accountability matrix," said district spokeswoman Shana Kemp. Phone calls to the company were not returned.