Monday, February 8, 2016

POSTED: Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 1:48 PM

There is a saying that goes something like, "God never closes a door that he doesn't open a window somewhere." It came to mind while reading my Daily News colleague Ronnie Polaneczky's column on the closing of St. Bridget's Catholic school in East Falls.

She reports that many St. Bridget's parents were pleasantly surprised when they took a look at Thomas Mifflin Elementary, a Philadelphia public school where Leslie Mason, a principal who has been there since 2009, helped heal past problems.

With some St. Bridget's parents now considering Mifflin, Polaneczky wonders whether it might finally become a true neighborhood school.

POSTED: Monday, April 16, 2012, 2:15 PM

For many parents, getting a child into Masterman is a dream. The high school is considered among the best in the country and, because it's a public school, it's free.

Admission is largely based on test scores, and to get into the high school, children generally need to get into Masterman's 5th grade first. Last year, only a handful of Masterman’s 110 9th grade seats went to students who were not already enrolled in the middle-school program, according to this article by Benjamin Herold in The Philadelphia Public School Notebook.

Even if your child gets into 5th grade, admission to the high school is far from guaranteed.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 10, 2012, 5:54 PM

The parents at Bache-Martin Elementary, which serves the Francisville and Fairmount neighborhoods, have big dreams for an interior courtyard at the school. They want to turn into a garden and play space for the children and are trying to raise money to make that happen.

The project takes a step forward this Saturday, April 14, when volunteers gather to spruce up the courtyard and plant flowers and greenery around the school's exterior at 2201 Brown Street. Anyone can help from 9 a.m. until about noon.

The Bache-Martin parents are joining with the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, which awards 250 scholarships to college-bound high school seniors every year who have demonstrated a commitment to community service and leadership, in the project.

POSTED: Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 4:04 PM

If you live in the city, choosing a school for your child can be overwhelming, but it seems like a good sign that there are at least more opportunities to talk about it.

One of them is coming up April 18, when I will be part of a panel discussion titled "School Daze: Choosing the right elementary school for your Center City Child." The discussion is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Ethical Society, 1906 Rittenhouse Square.

Martha Benoff, a licensed psychologist, and Luise Moskowitz, who chairs the Outreach Commmittee of the Home and School Association at Greenfield Elementary, a public school in Center City, will join me on the panel.

POSTED: Thursday, March 22, 2012, 6:03 PM

Kids are so much fun, but figuring out how to entertain them can perplex even the most creative parents.

One West Philadelphia parent filled daughter Zora's days recently by visiting every playground near their house for 31 days straight, on playground for every day in January, and writing about it at

Read it and find out which playgrounds have monkey bars, which might be a good spot for a family reunion and which have a lot of trash.

POSTED: Monday, March 19, 2012, 11:51 AM

Got an idea that could educate kids and make you a little money? Then get your application in to Philly Supporting Entrepreneurship in Education, or Philly SEED, to compete to win up to $5,000 for your idea.

Applications are due TODAY for the March 28 competition. More info. here.

POSTED: Monday, March 12, 2012, 12:47 PM

Let's rip this Band-Aid right off: We looked at houses in the Lower Merion School District this weekend. We still want to stay in the city, but when a friend sent us a listing for a $250,000 house in Bala Cynwyd, we gave into temptation and looked.

A much smaller mortgage and a stellar school district? For that, we might tolerate a commute.

Predictably, the house was too small, with a layout that not even our most creative sides could envision transforming into something appealing. The Realtor also showed us a nearby house for $389,900. That one was beautiful, and we could have moved into it tomorrow.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 7, 2012, 8:03 PM

In many parts of the city, parents of public-school students are looking for new ways to raise money for their children's educations, knowing that Harrisburg is likely to continue cutting funds.

At Bache-Martin Elementary, parents are hoping beauty will send a few dollars their way. The Home and School Association there has partnered with neighborhood beauty salons, which have agreed to donate a portion of their March proceeds to help Bache-Martin keep art, music, recess and afterschool programming.

Participating salons include the Beehive, Emerald Cutz, Shear Excellence Barber/Beauty Shop, Sulimay's Hair Design, and SNIP. To see their specific offers, go here.

About this blog
In her 12 years at the Inquirer, Miriam Hill has written about everything from politics to gourmet chocolate (Like!) and anxious dogs (adorable trouble).

But only one topic has become a passion: the pleasures and challenges of raising a young child in the city.

Not too long after her son was born four years ago, she started hunting around for day care, which triggered her ongoing search for a good primary school. Public, private or charter? Stay in the city or move to the suburbs?

And then there are the more mundane questions, such as how many games can you play while sitting on a stoop?

Please join her in the conversation about raising children in Philadelphia and about making this city better for kids. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, but her only personal obsession is not football, but Bruce Springsteen. As he might have said, it’s hard to be a parent in the city.

You can also follow Miriam on Twitter here.

Miriam Hill
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