Monday, October 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Monday, May 16, 2011, 6:16 PM

Remember parents, your young charges don't have to report to school tomorrow, Tuesday, May 17. It's Election Day and only school staff is required to show up.

The only other day off this month is Memorial Day, Monday May 30, which gives students a three-day weekend.

Enjoy the day off, students.

POSTED: Monday, May 16, 2011, 5:20 PM

The Accountability Review Council, an independent entity charged with monitoring the district’s reform efforts, will present a report on the progress of Supt. Ackerman’s Imagine 2014 plan during this Wednesday’s School Reform Commission planning meeting.

The report, The Status of 2009-2010 Academic Performance in the School District of Philadelphia and Observations on the Initial Implementation Stage of Renaissance Schools, can be viewed by clicking on this link.

Using PSSA scores in reading and math and the state and federal benchmarks, ARC members sought out whether the school district made progress in meeting expections under No Child Left Behind during the 2009-10 school year and how the Renaissance schools plan impacted students.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 3:59 PM

Here's a little nugget of news from the SRC: the district expects to reach up to 75 percent utilization of their buildings by next school year if they stay on the course outlined in their Facilities Master plan.

That plan - which includes grade changes (from 25 groupings to four), school consolidations, the selling of properties and lease terminations - seeks to rid the district of 50 of their buildings, bringing them to a roughly 85 percent utilization rate. They are currently at about 67 percent. While the district plans to close no schools this September, they will continue to invest in fixing up its older buildings that are not beyond repair. 

The district estimated they have roughly 70,000 empty seats in schools across the district and have imposed a moratorium on construction that would create additional seats.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 11, 2011, 3:14 PM

One of Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s hens will soon leave the nest to fend for himself.

David Weiner, associate superintendent of academics, has accepted a position with the New York City Department of Education to become its deputy chancellor for talent, labor and innovation. He begins his role in the middle of next month.

During the announcement at the School Reform Commission meeting, Ackerman said she "wished him nothing but the best."

POSTED: Monday, May 9, 2011, 6:56 PM

Last year, I had the privilege to write about an impressive group of students who cooked their way into culinary arts programs in many of the country’s top schools.

I wasn’t surprised. The intensity and focus with which those student chefs sliced, diced, puréed and sauteed, was something to envy — and to drool over as well.

Their skills, recognized by some of Philadelphia’s top chefs, have paid off.

POSTED: Thursday, May 5, 2011, 5:45 PM

Getting scholarship money for college almost always means extra pocket change for pizza, textbooks or for attending the frequent parties held on college campuses.

I'm sure the 29 Philadelphia high school seniors who each received $1,000 from Comcast this week will appreciate the extra cushion. These students will share an award of $184,000 with 145 other students across the Commonwealth in recognition of their leadership skills.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 3, 2011, 12:05 PM

Hundreds of teachers continue to fret over the future of their jobs after district officials proposed cutting 1,260 teachers to help make up a $629 million budget deficit.

While the district is offering an early-retirement program, it's likely that the majority of the laid-off teachers will be those with less than five years of experience. Nearly 400 teachers had notified the district of their intent to retire or resign at the end of this school year though it's uncertain how many will qualify.

Since the announcement, some are even getting permission from their principals to apply for jobs in other school districts.

POSTED: Monday, May 2, 2011, 6:08 PM

The district released a statement today in response to the Inqy's story about allegations of school personnel altering PSSA test scores. In their statement, district officials say they use a "very robust monitoring system" during test taking to thwart cheaters.

While students take their tests, a group of test monitors visit about 75 percent of schools, including charters, in unannounced visits, choosing to visit specific classrooms at random.

"The District takes testing security very seriously and works hard to ensure that students are tested using all established protocol in order to ensure accurate results, the release read. "Investigations determine that most of the alleged security breaches reported to the District annually are unfounded."

About this blog
Dafney Tales has been covering the School District of Philadelphia for the Daily News since 2009. She hopes this blog will be a forum where taxpayers – parents, educators and advocates - as well as students, can engage in a constructive conversation about education in the city. Send tips to Reach Dafney at

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