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NEWS
August 8, 2015 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
It looks like the Philadelphia School District's 129,000 students may get another day off in September, thanks to Pope Francis. Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. has decided to ask the School Reform Commission to close schools on Sept. 24, spokesman Fernando Gallard said Thursday. Schools already were scheduled to be closed Sept. 23 for Yom Kippur and Sept. 25 for the papal visit. Gallard said Hite decided to seek the additional day off because of concerns about navigating parts of the city before the pope's scheduled arrival.
NEWS
June 30, 2010 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
Small high schools came to Philadelphia in a big way four years ago, when four new ones opened their doors. Less than three miles apart, High School of the Future in Parkside and Science Leadership Academy (SLA) in Center City had vastly different beginnings. Expectations for both were high. Both awarded their first diplomas this month. But although leadership was identified as key to both, one had turmoil at the top and the other had a stable principal. Though both emphasized technology and were given freedom to innovate, one kept a close eye on district standards and the other initially veered from the path.
NEWS
June 19, 2015 | BY JENNIFER WRIGHT, Daily News Staff Writer wrightj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5938
WHILE STUDENTS headed home for the summer yesterday, the School Reform Commission approved the first of two staff outsourcing plans with the intent to cut costs and staff empty classrooms. The SRC voted unanimously to give Source4Teachers, based in Cherry Hill, N.J., a $34 million contract to manage substitute staffing services for two years. Chairwoman Marjorie Neff and Commissioner Sylvia Simms missed the meeting but cast their votes in a conference call. "The vendor was able to commit to us to provide high quality substitutes at a 90 percent fill rate by January of next year," said Naomi Wyatt, the district's head of human resources.
NEWS
April 3, 2013 | By Ibrahim Barzak and Dalia Nammari, Associated Press
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Starting with the new school year in September, Gaza boys and girls in middle and high school will be breaking the law if they study side by side. Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas rulers argue that new legislation, mandating gender separation in schools from age 9, enshrines common practice. But women's activists warned Tuesday that it's another step in what it sees as the Hamas agenda of imposing its fundamentalist world view on Gaza's 1.7 million people. The Gaza rules appear harsh compared to Western practice but are not unusual in parts of the Arab and Muslim world.
NEWS
June 4, 2007
What qualities are important for a new Philadelphia schools chief? We'd like to hear from Philadelphia residents in 150 words or less. E-mail us at suburbanletters@phillynews.com or write us at Regional Commentary Page, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 800 River Rd., Conshohocken, Pa., 19428. All letters must include a full name, home address, and day and evening phone numbers.
NEWS
December 27, 2005
Let me commend you for reporting that "the Eastern PA Organizing Project, a faith-based and community group... " rebuked the School District of Philadelphia. Faith groups can and should rebuke secular organizations, for faith groups are better at changing lives than secular organizations. We are accountable to the God who made us, whereas secular organizations leave out God all together. The only hope for improving the educational system in America is impacting the Word of God upon it. Thomas Muldoon, Philadelphia
NEWS
December 14, 2012 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
SUPERINTENDENT William R. Hite Jr., saying he had "few options," announced Thursday that the School District will recommend closing 37 schools as part of a plan to establish "a school system that is better run, safer and higher performing. " Calling it "a historic moment," Hite said his recommendations also included changing the grade levels of 23 schools and making other program changes affecting another seven. The total savings for the district could be up to $28 million beginning in 2014-15, he said.
NEWS
June 25, 2015 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
Joe Watkins - then-Gov. Tom Corbett's pick to oversee the Chester Upland schools, which the state said lacked the ability to address their financial disarray - said Tuesday that he is resigning to take a job with a new social-media company. Watkins, who has been the district's chief recovery officer for 21/2 years, will leave Tuesday. He will become executive vice president for external affairs for ElectedFace, a website that aims to connect people to government officials in every political district in America.
NEWS
March 18, 2015
THOUGH "City Council budget hearings" is usually a phrase to excite only the most wonkish of citizens, every year there is at least one issue that generates more heat among the populace. In recent years, that issue is usually money for schools, and what the best way is to raise that money. This year, that issue is likely to generate enough heat to make us forget this past winter, since Mayor Nutter's budget proposal calls for raising property taxes 9.3 percent to generate $105 million for the schools.
NEWS
July 15, 2013 | By Michelle Faul, Associated Press
LAGOS, Nigeria - Shaking a finger while cradling an assault rifle, the leader of Nigeria's extremist Islamic sect threatened to burn down more schools and kill teachers. But he denied that his fighters were killing children. In a new video released Saturday, Islamic radical Abubakar Shekau said he "fully supports" attacks on several schools in recent weeks. The U.N. Children's Fund says at least 48 students and seven teachers have been killed since June, with some burned alive this month in a dormitory.
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NEWS
August 28, 2015 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Dressed in navy blue polo shirts and dragging backpacks behind them, the first graders in Christina Gonzalez's class filed into their classroom quietly for their first day at North Camden's Molina Elementary School. There were a few nervous tears, there was some talking, and because of registration glitches, a few students did not yet have name tags on their coat hooks. Otherwise, it looked like any other day. "I am so excited to show you our classroom," Gonzalez said, herding the students gently into the room, decorated with cutout paper bees and colorful posters.
NEWS
August 27, 2015 | By Martha Woodall, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mastery Charter Schools has been awarded $1.5 million from the Philadelphia School Partnership to help it turn around the Frederick Douglass Charter School in North Philadelphia. The grant from the partnership's Great Schools Fund was scheduled to be announced Wednesday - the first day of school for students at Douglass and at Mastery's 14 other campuses across the city. "We're delighted to have the support of the Philadelphia School Partnership and to get the resources we need to provide the best quality education for the children at Frederick Douglass," said Scott Gordon, CEO of the nonprofit Mastery Schools.
NEWS
August 26, 2015 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
WHEN SCHOOLS open this fall, many of them will lack much of what they have been lacking in recent years: streams of paper, counselors, hand sanitizer, secretaries, Band-Aids and nurses. The district, however, has found nearly $1.2 million to expand the administration by adding eight well-compensated administrators as part of Superintendent William Hite Jr.'s $309 million proposal to improve schools. That's the equivalent of a year's salary for 10 school nurses or counselors. Or seven assistant principals.
NEWS
August 26, 2015 | BY REGINA MEDINA, Daily News Staff Writer, medinar@phillynews.com, 215-854-5985
WHEN BARBARA Galarza was told by a high school psychologist last year that her teen daughter had "intellectual disabilities," she began to "cry, cry, cry. " She still had another surprise coming. The non-bilingual psychologist told her, "Don't worry, it's better this way. She'll get a lot of benefits," Galarza recalled yesterday in an interview conducted in Spanish. "She was heartless. " "Nobody would want news like that. It's not logical," she said. "For me that's not normal, [to]
NEWS
August 26, 2015 | BY SOLOMON LEACH, Daily News Staff Writer leachs@phillynews.com, 215-854-5903
SAMANTHA COLEMAN should be getting her daughter ready to go back to school for the start of third grade with her peers. Instead, the Northeast Philadelphia mom is scrambling to figure out how she can homeschool her 8-year-old for the upcoming year. That's because, according to Coleman, her daughter, Shayne, a successful child actress, was the subject of a threat scrawled on a wall inside John Hancock School just before classes ended in June. The message stated, "I will kill Shayne Coleman - murder," according to Coleman, who was alerted to the message by the principal.
NEWS
August 26, 2015 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
During a hearing that could determine the future of the financially embattled Chester Upland School District, lawyers for the district's major charter schools on Monday hammered at the Wolf administration's rescue plan, which hinges on a $24.7 million cut in state payments to the charters. Before a Delaware County Court judge, the attorneys spent about 21/2 hours grilling the district's state-appointed receiver, Frances Barnes, about the need for such steep cuts. Barnes, along with Gov. Wolf and top officials of his administration, has said the way that charters are reimbursed for students in special education or online academies is so unfair that Chester Upland will not be able to afford to open in September without changes.
NEWS
August 26, 2015 | By Rita Giordano, Inquirer Staff Writer
An investigation by Haddonfield School District engineers has revealed structural problems at J. Fithian Tatem Elementary School and the high school's main gymnasium and cafeteria that require stabilization. The buildings will be safe for use this school year, but some students and functions will have to be moved or rerouted, Superintendent Richard Perry said Monday. About $1.4 million in reserve funds is being used to address the problems, but to permanently correct the issues at the high school, the district will have go to a bond referendum to seek the needed funds, he said.
NEWS
August 24, 2015 | By Kathy Boccella, Inquirer Staff Writer
When it comes to the way charter schools are paid for teaching children in special-education classes, critics say Pennsylvania has been flunking basic math for years - and unfairly subtracting hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers' wallets. Last week, the Wolf administration took the first step in a case observers say could bring the issue to a head - a bid to block $24.7 million in charter payouts in the cash-strapped Chester Upland School District. Public school advocates say large charter school payouts are the result of faulty calculations that lawmakers and state officials have had a hard time erasing.
NEWS
August 24, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
At first glance, Gov. Wolf's decision last week to go to court to change how Chester's charter schools are funded appeared to mimic President Obama's strategy of seeking alternatives to a gridlocked legislative process. The legislative stalemate blocking passage of Wolf's proposed budget, which boosts funding for education, may have been a factor in his decision. But the Chester Upland School District's decades-old flirtation with fiscal disaster was what led Wolf to take legal action to ensure its schools open on time.
NEWS
August 22, 2015 | By Kristen A. Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia School Reform Commission moved Thursday night to block a proposed charter school's new application and to sell two unused buildings. Esperanza Elementary Charter School first came before the SRC in the winter, hoping to open a school in North Philadelphia. It already operates a charter high school and middle school in the area. The SRC turned down the application in February and denied it again Thursday, saying that although Esperanza has excelled at the high school level, its performance has been uneven for middle school.
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