Friday, November 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

POSTED: Monday, December 23, 2013, 11:14 AM
In this file photo, Northeast students participate in a simulated space mission. (ERIC MENCHER/file)

UPDATED, 1 p.m.

I wrote in today's paper about the loss of the Space Research Center program, for 50 years a flagship program at Northeast High, the city's largest school.

POSTED: Friday, November 22, 2013, 12:24 PM

Students at several Philadelphia public high schools walked out of class today.

A school district official confirmed the walkout. Students from Ben Franklin, Mastbaum, South Philadelphia, Furness, Dobbins, School of the Future, Kensington CAPA, Overbrook and Penn Treaty high schools walked out around noon.

As many as 600 students walked out, district spokesman Fernando Gallard said.

POSTED: Monday, November 18, 2013, 3:49 PM

Tonight's strategy, policy and planning (read: non-voting) School Reform Commission meeting has a lofty title: "Options for Increasing Students' Access to Better Schools." Hard to argue with that concept, right? All kids deserve top-notch schools.  Let's figure out how to make that happen, or at least how to begin to make that happen.

Not everyone agrees on how to get to the goal, however.

At the meeting, a panel will discuss four options: developing new schools, replicating good schools, Renaissance schools (a district process that includes handing over low-performing district schools to charters) and improving district schools.

POSTED: Monday, November 18, 2013, 12:50 PM

Today, the Daily News' Regina Medina tells us how the Philadelphia School District may be violating the Sunshine Law by not bringing before the public certain key hires.

Most recently, the district hired David Hardy as chief academic support officer at a $160,000 annual salary, but never brought the matter before the School Reform Commission, as state Sunshine Act dictates. But Hardy's hire wasn't the only one where public scrutiny was skipped over. The Daily News reviewed SRC records for a year, and found that several other top employees were hired without formal review by the commission and the public. They included Deputy Superintendent Paul Kihn ($210,000), Chief Financial Officer Matthew Stanski ($175,000), Sophie Bryan, who worked in the charter school office and now in the superintendent's office ($100,000), Chief Operating Officer Fran Burns ($175,000) and Chief Human Resources Officer Naomi Wyatt ($180,000).

The district said it would review its process, and said a computer error may have led to the error.

POSTED: Wednesday, November 13, 2013, 1:31 PM
Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Hite, Jr presides over a School Reform Commission meeting. (CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer / File)

The $45 million in state money released by Gov. Corbett last month restored 80 full-time counseling positions.

But it also led to 40 additional assistant principals, teachers, secretaries and other workers being called back, as well.

Here's a breakdown of which positions were restored, from an email Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. sent on Friday to district principals:

POSTED: Friday, November 1, 2013, 5:33 PM
Members of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers protest budget cuts earlier this month.

So how is the Philadelphia School District spending the $45 million released by the governor last month?

Some of the money is going to restore employees. District spokesman Fernando Gallard said that 80 counselors will be recalled on Monday. An unspecified number of assistant principals, secretaries, school support aides, and school operations officers will also be recalled.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 5:03 PM

Actor/comedian/Philly guy Kevin Hart is giving back to his hometown.

Hart will donate 300 computers to the Philadelphia School district and 200 to city recreation centers, Mayor Nutter's office announced today.

The mayor and Hart will tour some of the receiving schools in November.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 4:15 PM

Mayor Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke today announced the mayor has signed a bill transferring $50 million to the Philadelphia School District.

The district keeps ownership of its school buildings, but will work with the Philadelphia Industrical Development Corporation to sell them. The buildings will go up for sale next week.

The deal, announced today, ends a stalemate between Nutter and Clarke over how to get the district the extra $50 million it needed to open schools on time. Nutter had wanted to borrow the money against future sales tax collections.

About this blog

Inquirer reporter Kristen Graham writes the Philly School Files blog, where she covers education in Philadelphia, both in and out of the classroom.

During the school year, you’ll frequently find her hosting live chats about the district on

Please do pass along the scoop about what’s going on at your Philadelphia public school; Kristen welcomes tips, story ideas and witty banter.

Kristen Graham Inquirer Staff Writer
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