Sunday, January 25, 2015

POSTED: Thursday, September 11, 2014, 9:59 AM

A top Philadelphia School District magnet will expand next fall. A $147,000 grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership is helping to paying for the addition of seventh and eighth grade classes to the Carver High School for Engineering and Science in North Philadelphia.

The planning grant was announced Thursday by the nonprofit known as PSP.

The plan was hatched last year, Principal Ted Domers said, when district officials approached him about possibly growing the school to add more high school students. But Domers had another idea - what if they added grades, offering the school's program to middle school students? After working with district officials, he and others reached out to PSP to see if they might qualify for a grant.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 11:34 AM

A former Philadelphia principal has surrendered his state education credentials in connection with a cheating scandal.

Arthur "Larry" Melton, who retired as principal of Bok High School, gave up his teaching and administrative credentials over 'allegations that the educator violated the integrity and security of the PSSA exams for multiple years."

Bok, a career and technical high school in South Philly, closed in 2013. Melton retired prior to the school's closure.

POSTED: Tuesday, September 9, 2014, 11:33 AM

A group of Philadelphia School District parents filed a lawsuit Tuesday saying the state education department has violated its legal obligation to investigate claims of "massive curriculum deficiencies" in city schools.

The group, including seven district parents and the group Parents United for Public Education, filed the suit in Commonwealth Court. Attorneys from the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia are representing the parents.

Last school year, parents submitted 825 complaints to the Pennsylvania Department of Education on issues ranging from overcrowding to "squalid and insufficient toilet facilities." They also documented overcrowding and a lack of counselors and school nurses. The complaints were met with either a form letter, or no response at all, the parents said.

POSTED: Thursday, September 4, 2014, 11:21 AM

Every student who attends a Philadelphia School District school is now eligible for free breakfast and lunch, officials announced Thursday.

Students must simply show up to school to receive the free food - applications are no longer required.

Prior to the switch, about 80 percent of district students were eliglble for free and reduced lunch. All students had been eligible for free breakfast for four years.

POSTED: Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 2:29 PM
Philadelphia School District. (Bob Laramie / Staff Photographer)

Number of "Persistently Dangerous" schools in Philadelphia in 2008-09: 25

Number of "Persistently Dangerous" schools in Philadelphia this year: zero.

Reported incidents of violence were down in the Philadelphia School District last year, officials announced Wednesday. They also said that for the first time since such records have been kept, no city schools made the state's list of dangerous schools, a designation under the No Child Left Behind law.

POSTED: Friday, August 29, 2014, 12:19 PM
Philadelphia Public Schools Superintendent William R. Hite walks to the podium at the press conference at the school district headquarters. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ) (DN)

The fallout of the Philadelphia School District’s dismal financial situation continues: 17 central-office employees who provide support to schools were issued layoff notices on Friday.

Overall, 81 positions were eliminated, said Fernando Gallard, spokesman for the school system, but among those were 64 vacant jobs.

The laid-off workers come mostly from the district’s facilities and capital improvements offices. One employee from the Office of Family and Community Engagment was also affected.

POSTED: Friday, August 22, 2014, 10:41 AM
The sale of William Penn High School to Temple University will proceed. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

The sale of William Penn High School to Temple University, blocked temporarily by a community group's legal action, will now go through, officials said Friday.

Inez Henderson-Purnell, president of the WIlliam Penn Development Coalition, said the group withdrew action against the transfer of the deed for William Penn, the sprawling school complex on North Broad Street. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had denied the group's request for injunctive relief.

"We fought the good fight," Henderson-Purnell said in a statement.

POSTED: Thursday, August 21, 2014, 3:03 PM

4:15 p.m.

Steve Flemming's third-grade classroom at the J.B. Kelly School hasn't been painted for 10 years. He has no bulletin boards. 

So he painted the room himself. And built a makeshift bulletin board. And then he rushed to a press conference called Thursday by State Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.) to talk about how rough things were last year, and how they could be worse this coming school year.

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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