The greatest impediment to academic success for Philadelphia students is often not about reading or math - it is what goes on outside the classroom. The city will pay for social workers, and eventually, other behavioral support employees, to help address emotional needs.
Activists called for an end to the School Reform Commission, Philadelphia schools' governing body for the past 16 years. To insulate Philadelphia from looming state budget problems, they say the SRC must vote to dissolve itself by the end of the year.
Children with special needs - there are more than 18,000 in the School District - are more likely to be victims of bullying. In some instances, the Education Law Center-PA says, the school system ignored or glossed over bullying that lasted months, even years.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz said an exhibit that includes some pieces from the Philadelphia School District's art collection was just a "partial victory," and said that the art should be permanently moved out of storage. It has been kept in storage in an undisclosed location since 2004.
A new program for children with intense needs - mostly emotional and behavioral - will open in September. Advocates, parents and politicians worry that the program sets up de facto segregation and asked for careful monitoring.
The initial plan was for the Philadelphia School District to award up to $54 million to a private provider to run a new special-education school for up to 600 students in the city. A scaled-back proposal, which would cost $10 million for 100 students, still has detractors.
Kristen Graham covers the Philadelphia School District. A native Philadelphian – and a product of the school system and Temple University – she has written about everything from crime and county government to education since joining the Inquirer in 2000.
Kristen is a Pulitzer Prize winner, part of a team whose "Assault on Learning" series about violence in the Philadelphia schools won the 2012 prize for public service for the Inquirer. Please pass along the scoop about what’s going on at your Philadelphia public school; Kristen welcomes tips, story ideas and witty banter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-5146.
You can also find her on Twitter here.