July 1, 2010 |
New York City went for small high schools in a big way, and the country's largest school system is still high on that education reform strategy. Oakland, Calif., opened 49 small schools in the last decade, but is closing six. And in Philadelphia, the superintendent's message is clear - small schools are fine, but don't expect any new ones until inequities at big neighborhood high schools are fixed. For a time in the mid-2000s, small schools were booming. They were supposed to transform the large, failing American high school, to engage students and boost their achievement to ready them for college.
June 30, 2010 |
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.
June 25, 2010
Although each of the small schools that opened in 2006 reported high graduation and college-acceptance rates, a poor showing by students at the High School of the Future on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment [PSSA] tests in 2008-2009 is cause for Superintendent Arlene Ackerman to say that there would be major changes there next year. Ackerman said that she's not talking about changing the school's leadership - the school had four principals by the time the Class of 2010 began its junior year - but that the district needs to "give lots of attention to the School of the Future moving forward.
June 25, 2010 |
THE DAY before Constitution High School's Class of 2010 graduated last week, Doriean Jackson, Marquis White and others in the school's first class of graduates said that they were proud to be pioneers in Philadelphia's small-schools movement. They were part of history, they said, as the founding class that launched the Center City school in September 2006, in partnership with the National Constitution Center. "We came in as freshmen and we had free rein," said Ashley Brown, 18, from the Northeast.
June 20, 2010
Where There's a Will, There's a Way By David W. Hornbeck, with Katherine Conner Rowman & Littlefield. 300 pp. $39.95 paperback Reviewed by Edward B. Fiske When David W. Hornbeck became superintendent of schools in Philadelphia in August 1994, he arrived with a national reputation as an education reformer in Kentucky and Maryland and an ambitious 10-point program for turning around the troubled urban district of 217,000 pupils. Over the next six years, he enacted a number of impressive reforms, including higher academic standards and all-day kindergarten, and oversaw some significant gains in student test scores.
April 19, 2010 |
What is it about Greg Mortenson's story of building schools in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan that seems to resonate so deeply? To be sure, Mortenson's books, Three Cups of Tea and Stones into Schools, which tell the story of Americans working with Pakistani and Afghan villagers to build schools, take the reader on armchair adventures in exotic locations with a colorful cast of characters. But I would suggest that Mortenson's books resonate so deeply for another reason.
March 27, 2010 |
When Keith Griffith found out Florence High School didn't have a cross-country or indoor track team, he was devastated. ?More than a year ago, Griffith - whose personal best in the 400 meters ranks 16th all-time in New Jersey - transferred midway through his junior year to Florence from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South in Mercer County. He had just completed a successful cross-country season and Griffith was beginning to realize how much running meant to him. ?"I was a little bit devastated because it was the peak of when I was getting interested in the sport," said Griffith, 17, now a senior who is headed for Louisiana State.
October 21, 2009 |
I can sense their pain. The leaves aren't yet off the trees, and parents of high school seniors already are feeling the strain of college admissions. It isn't just that their kid's essays aren't done, or that early-admission deadlines loom. Rather, the pain is because other parents are circling about. I've been there twice as the mom of a high school senior, and I know well the uncomfortable questions and subtle one-upmanship that come with the territory. "How did your son do on the SATs?"
May 8, 2009 |
The Radnor girls' lacrosse team would like to keep moving along without anyone noticing. But, that's becoming increasingly difficult each time they win. It's what success brings. In fact, it's what 2 years of success has brought. The Red Raiders' record shows they've been the best in the state. This year, they finally get to prove it. That's because for the first time in PIAA history, there will be a state tournament in girls' lacrosse, encompassing every team. In the past, area lacrosse started and stopped with District 1 postseason, which was broken down by Class AAA (large schools)
April 29, 2009 |
Pennsville softball coach Herb Bacon said the answer was on the T-shirts. "We have T-shirts that say: 'Tradition never graduates,' " Bacon said when asked why Pennsville and other small-school softball teams always seem to be among the top 10 ranked by The Inquirer. The tradition about which the veteran coach spoke, of course, is a winning one. Bacon recently celebrated his 550th career victory spanning 28 years at Pennsville. Under his guidance, the Eagles, ranked seventh in South Jersey, have won numerous Tri-County Conference crowns, a half-dozen South Jersey Group 1 championships, and state titles in 2008, 2002 and 1993.