Tuesday, July 19, 2016

PA Ed Policy Roundup July 19: Philly names first nine community schools

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PA Ed Policy Roundup July 19, 2016:
Philly names first nine community schools



Apply Now for EPLC's 2016-2017 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program!



"We know that the pendulum has swung too far to the side of standardized testing," said state Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-West Lampeter Township. "The ESSA law gives us the opportunity to recalibrate that."  ESSA is the Every Student Succeeds Act, a federal education law that takes effect in July 2017. It replaces No Child Left Behind, the 2002 law that ushered in an era of high-stakes testing in public schools.  Under the new law, tests will be given in the same subjects and grade levels as before. But states have more flexibility in the amount of testing time, as well as how the results are used.  Pennsylvania lawmakers have been holding joint hearings on what that means here.  Smucker, who is chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said he is interested in seeing "fewer tests but better tests."
Rethinking standardized tests: Pa. considering ‘fewer but better’ exams
Lancaster Online by KARA NEWHOUSE | Staff Writer July 19, 2016
Public school children spend too much time on standardized tests.  That's become a common refrain in Lancaster County and across the nation.  Turns out, kids aren't the only ones.  Weeks before the tests begin, principals spend countless hours preparing the school and staff.  They unpack boxes.  They apply labels to up to six test booklets per student.  They ensure that staff complete required training.  They rework the school's schedule.  And they plan which teacher will escort students to the bathrooms during the tests.  "It's amazing how much taxpayer resources go toward (standardized) tests," said Jerry Egan, assistant superintendent for elementary education at Penn Manor School District. "You're having administrators who are well paid spend a month counting and putting stickers on tests."  That time "should be focused on instructional leadership," Egan said.  But change could be coming.  With the number of students sitting out of standardized tests on the rise and a new federal education law kicking in soon, Pennsylvania officials are taking another look at the tests and how their results are used.

“This bill contains harmful provisions that would be devastating to our schools and unfairly affect our children’s ability to learn. One particularly bad proposal changes the Community Eligibility Program, which helps feed millions of children in vulnerable schools nationwide. Currently, if a school or school district has an “identified student percentage,” students that government agencies identify as vulnerable, of 40 percent, the whole school is entitled to free lunch benefits. However, this proposal would raise the qualifying threshold to 60 percent, allowing fewer schools to participate and more children to go hungry.
In Philadelphia, this means that more than 14,000 students will be impacted.”
Letter to the Editor: Don’t gut the school lunch program
Delco Times Letter by U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, D-1, Philadelphia POSTED: 07/18/16, 9:48 PM EDT
To the Times: As summer comes to an end and Philadelphia schools get ready for the upcoming school year, it’s important that we work to ensure all children have the necessary tools they need to succeed.  These tools include readily available access to nutritious meals. Research shows that a healthy diet helps a child’s physical and cognitive development and improves their ability to concentrate in school. That’s why I’ve always been a strong supporter of school nutrition programs.  Unfortunately, the Republican proposal in Congress for the Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill, the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016, would gut these critical nutrition programs, instead of building upon their success. 

Letters: Compromise produced Pa. budget
Inquirer Letter by William F. Adolph Jr., Republican chairman, House Appropriations Committee, Springfield (Delaware County Updated: JULY 19, 2016 — 3:01 AM EDT
The passage of Pennsylvania's general-fund budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year represents something that is becoming all too rare in government - compromise ("Budget funding deal is reached," Thursday).  From Philadelphia to Mifflintown to Erie, our state is blessed with diverse geography and population. This diversity is a strength of our commonwealth, but it can also make governing difficult.  The budget makes key investments in education, holds the line on spending, and doesn't raise the personal income or sales tax. The budget spends $31.6 billion, an increase of $1.5 billion from last year. Of that increase, $1.2 billion is for mandated and contractual obligations. Gov Wolf's original budget proposal would have spent $33.3 billion.

Teachers, advocates in PA prep for new federal education law
WITF Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Jul 15, 2016 5:31 PM
(Harrisburg) -- As a new federal education law is rolled out across the country, Pennsylvania educators and advocates are busy deciding how the commonwealth will adapt to it.  US Education Secretary John King and state Education Secretary Pedro Rivera met in Harrisburg on Friday with advocates from around the commonwealth to discuss potential school reforms that comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act.  ESSA, as it's commonly called, became law late last year.  It replaces No Child Left Behind, which had been in place since 2001.  King said the new law relies less on strict federal regulation, letting individual states and districts customize their educational approach.  "The way the law is structured, it's really a high degree of state and local flexibility with very clear, strong civil rights guardrails," he said. "And I think the ongoing conversation for the country has to be, how do we make sure that state and district flexibility is used for the sake of equity and excellence in every school?"  Susan Gobreski, director of Community Schools for Philadelphia, said this is especially important in Pennsylvania because the needs of its students vary widely by district.

“The community schools initiative seeks to more seamlessly integrate city services into schools, from health care and adult education to out-of-school-time activities and support for English language learners. City officials in charge of the initiative say the goal is to create conditions in each school so that learning can take place. Steps to meet that goal would include improving communication and information-sharing between schools and city agencies, opening schools to the neighborhood, and placing services within the schools themselves.”
District announces first Philly community schools
City officials in charge of the initiative say the goal is to create better conditions for learning.
The notebook by Maria Archangelo July 18, 2016 — 10:58am
Mayor Kenney's Office of Education announced the first nine of 25 planned community schools at a press conference this morning. The first group of schools to be part of the new initiative will be:
§  William Cramp Elementary School, 3449 N. Mascher St.
§  Murrell Dobbins CTE High School, 2150 W. Lehigh Ave.
§  F.S. Edmonds Elementary School, 8025 Thouron Ave.
§  Edward Gideon Elementary School, 2817 W. Glenwood Ave.
§  Kensington Health Sciences Academy, 2463 Emerald St.
§  Logan Elementary School, 1700 Lindley Ave.
§  Southwark Elementary School, 1835 S. Ninth St.
§  South Philadelphia High School, 2101 S. Broad St.
§  Tilden Middle School, 6601 Elmwood Ave.
The Office of Education conducted surveys and meetings with Philadelphia residents as part of the school selection process. A report about the process released last week stated that a neighborhood's rate of child poverty and health issues, such as the prevalence of diabetes and asthma, should be the most important considerations in deciding which schools should become community schools. The most important school-based factor should be the willingness of the school's principal and staff to get on board, according to survey results outlined in the report.

“Five of the schools are located in police districts with the highest number of shootings in 2014. At four of the schools, more than 20 percent of the students are learning to speak English.”
Philly announces nine community schools to aid needy neighborhoods
Inquirer by Martha Woodall, STAFF WRITER martha.woodall@ phillynews.com 215-854-2789 @marwooda Updated: JULY 18, 2016 — 1:45 PM EDT
City officials on Monday named nine schools that have been selected to receive extra money and support to create hubs for social, health and other services in their neighborhoods as part of the new community school's initiative.  Otis Hackney, the city's chief education officer, announced that the first group of community schools are: William Cramp Elementary and Murrell Dobbins, Career and Technical Education High School, both in North Philadelphia; F.S. Edmonds Elementary, East Mount Airy; Edward Gideon Elementary , Brewerytown; Kensington Health Sciences Academy; Logan Elementary; Southwark Elementary; South Philadelphia High School; and Tilden Middle School, Southwest Philadelphia.  "While we don't think this initiative will be a complete solution to our problems, we certainly can agree that this will put us on a trajectory not only to build stronger children but also stronger families, stronger communities," Tori Damon, the principal of Dobbins, told an audience of city and School District leaders during the announcement at City Hall. "I just say that I'm standing here so composed, but on behalf of my colleagues, I just want to say we are so excited!"  Mayor Kenney, who plans to develop 25 community schools over the next four years, said the goal is to identify the specific needs of students, parents and their communities and then forge partnerships with private providers to offer the needed services in the schools.

“Community schools as a reform strategy are a concept pushed by Kenney with the support of City Council President Darrell Clarke and a coalition that includes the teachers union and several education advocacy groups. It is essentially the answer to the predominant school reform strategy of at least the past decade — the “portfolio model” that's led to the creation of more charter schools.
The community schools approach calls for schools to become neighborhood centers for support services, almost like a cross between traditional schools and community centers. The central argument is that children — especially low-income children — face steep barriers outside the classroom that prevent them from learning, and that schools must address those barriers in order to eventually drive achievement.”
Philadelphia names first nine community schools
WHYY Newsworks BY BY AVI WOLFMAN-ARENT AND DALE MEZZACAPPA JULY 18, 2016
Mayor Jim Kenney named Philadelphia’s first nine community schools Monday, officially launching his five-year plan to create 25 such schools.  The initiative was rolled out with much fanfare at a City Hall press conference that reinforced the central role community schools will play in Kenney’s K-12 education agenda.  “I firmly believe that when we help our schools become stronger, our neighborhoods will get stronger, and this makes for a stronger city,” said Kenney.  The nine schools in Philadelphia’s inaugural class of community schools are: Murrell Dobbins CTE High School; William T. Tilden Middle School; Kensington Health Sciences Academy; South Philadelphia High School; Edward Gideon Elementary/Middle School; Southwark   Elementary/Middle School; F.S. Edmonds Elementary School; James Logan Elementary School; and William Cramp Elementary School.  Together, the schools represent a wide cross-section of neighborhoods — from gentrifying South Philadelphia to some of the city’s poorest ZIP codes.

Introducing Philly’s first 9 ‘community schools’: Who made the cut
Billy Penn By Anna Orso July 18, 2016  at 10:09 am
Nine schools from across the city are set to become “community schools” within the next year, meaning they’ll be transformed from just schools into anchors of the neighborhood offering services to kids and adults in the area.  First-year Mayor Jim Kenney — fresh off a major political win in passing a soda tax meant to fund some of his educational initiatives — along with Council President Darrell Clarke and Superintendent Bill Hite announced Monday the following schools will be the first nine to be assigned a full-time community school coordinator:

Trump's Pennsylvania doppelganger
Philly Daily News by John Baer, Political Columnist Updated: JULY 19, 2016 — 1:08 AM EDT
CLEVELAND - When it comes to Donald Trump, Scott Wagner's seen the light - in the mirror.  You know how lots of Republican candidates and incumbents duck The Donald or shy away or work up weasel words such as, well, I support the ticket?  And how they do so in order to keep some distance twixt themselves and the nutsy things Trump's inclined to say?  (I'm looking at you, Pat Toomey, Pat Meehan, Brian Fitzpatrick.)  Heck, House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke to Pennsylvania's convention delegates on Monday for, as a colleague noted, 13 minutes before even mentioning Trump's name. This in 15 minutes' worth of remarks.  Well, you can take Wagner off any squishy list.  After sitting on the sidelines, Wagner's now all in, ready to do "everything I can" to help Trump win Pennsylvania and the White House.

“PA Cyber has seen a lot of controversy as its founder Nick Trombetta faces nearly a dozen charges including fraud, filing false tax returns and conspiracy in federal court. The school has faced criticism for its poor standardized test performance and its relationship with Lincoln Learning Solutions, an independent curriculum provider affiliated with the publicly funded online school.  The school educated more than 10,000 students last year. Conti had served as CEO since July 2012, according to his LinkedIn account.  The release did not say why Conti resigned.”
Michael Conti resigns as CEO of Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School
Beaver County Times By Daveen Rae Kurutz dkurutz@timesonline.com July 18, 2016
MIDLAND -- One of the largest online charter schools in Pennsylvania has a new leader -- at least temporarily.  The board of trustees at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School Monday accepted the resignation of CEO Michael Conti. Chief Operating Officer Nicole Granito was named acting CEO, according to a news release.  Granito has worked with the school in various capacities for more than a decade.  "Mike has captained our ship through smooth and rough waters and kept us on course for the past several years," board president Brian Hayden said in the release.  Hayden praised Granito and said he expects she will provide the embattled school with continuity as the board conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

Michigan educator named CEO of PA Virtual Charter School
Inquirer by Martha Woodall Updated: JULY 18, 2016 — 5:55 PM EDT
A Michigan educator who was part of a team that established one of the first cyber charter school in that state has been named CEO of King of Prussia-based PA Virtual Charter School.  John Chandler was involved in opening Great Lakes Virtual Academy. His appointment as the top administrator of PA Virtual was effective July 1, the school announced Monday.  He replaces Joanne Barnett who announced her retirement plans earlier this year. 

“The district’s goal in reinstating a cyber program is to attract students who have left the district in favor of charter schools.  It’s our teachers, our standards, very small numbers,” Milanovich said.  The district is currently advertising for the cyber program on its website and is reaching out directly to families of charter school students, she said.”
Moon Area School board establishes cyber program, hires athletic director
Beaver County Times By Katherine Schaeffer kschaeffer@timesonline.com July 18, 2016
MOON TWP. -- The Moon Area School Board unanimously approved a motion Monday establishing the cyber school system for the district. The Moon Cyber Education Program will accommodate students in grades 7-12 who prefer a non-traditional school day, Interim Superintendent Donna Milanovich said.  The program will be operated out of the Moon Area High School building and students enrolled can choose to take classes either partially or entirely online depending on their needs. Students will take classes taught by district employees and graduate with a Moon Area diploma.


At GOP Convention, NEA Thanks Republicans for Help Enacting ESSA
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on July 18, 2016 7:54 PM
Cleveland Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: Leaders of the National Education Association are pretty excited about the prospect of a President Hillary Clinton and will be coming out in full force for the presumptive Democratic nominee in Philadelphia at the party's convention next week.  But, the union recently notched one of its biggest legislative wins in decades, thanks in part to Republicans, who are, after all, currently in control of Congress. The NEA and other organizations representing educators are thrilled with the Every Student Succeeds Act, which seeks to look beyond test scores in judging school performance, and takes aim at some of the Obama administration's most treasured policies, including tying teacher evaluation to tests.

“Many of her policy proposals were familiar, too. Among other things, she mentioned: 
·         Supporting a national campaign to elevate and modernize teaching;
·         Expanding the teaching of computer science in K-12 education;
·         Ensuring that testing informs teaching and learning, but does not dominate it; and
·         Opposing vouchers and for-profit schooling.
Clinton voiced support for allowing most Americans to attend college at no cost, a newer addition to her repertoire that many observers believe she cribbed from the playbook of her closest rival for the nomination, Bernie Sanders.”
Hillary Clinton Promises to be a 'Partner' to Teachers in Speech to AFT
Education Week Politics K12 Blog By Alyson Klein on July 18, 2016 9:43 PM
Cross-posted from the Teacher Beat blog By Stephen Sawchuk
For the second time this month, Democratic presumptive presidential nominee Hillary Clinton promised America's teachers that they can expect a friendly ear in the White House if she's elected.  The speech she gave to the American Federation of Teachers on Monday at its biennial convention in Minneapolis was substantially similar to the one she gave just weeks ago to the larger National Education Association. But the mood—after the spate of violence this month that has wracked communities, from nearby St. Paul, Minn., to Dallas to Baton Rouge, La.—was more sober.  Indeed, before she addressed K-12 issues, Clinton sought to address that violence. 

What Does A Trump Presidency Mean For Education Policy?
What effect will Trump have on education policy? No one knows.
Huffington Post  07/18/2016 11:04 am 11:04:11 | Updated 18 hours ago
During the Republican and Democratic conventions, The Hechinger Report will publish a new story each day, examining what the party proposals might mean for the future of education. Our staff reporters will provide education coverage from Cleveland and Philadelphia.
In the last 20 years, Republican education policy has focused on expanding the choices granted to local communities, families and students. Where it will go next, with Donald Trump the presumptive leader of the Republican Party, is anyone’s guess.  “It’s hard to know what the heck [Trump] thinks,” said Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “I don’t think he has thought deeply or long about education policy.”
Last week, the Republican Platform Committee began to discuss what it thinks should be included in the “Great Families, Education, Health Care, and Criminal Justice” section of its 2016 Platform. Current points of agreement include the ideas that students are more likely to achieve academically if their parents are married heterosexuals, student data should be more private, and merit pay should be granted to high-performing teachers.  The party also agreed to leave in wording that would encourage states to offer the Bible as an elective literature course.

Clinton attacks Pence, calls him 'hostile' to public education
Politico By KIMBERLY HEFLING  07/18/16 10:38 PM EDT
Hillary Clinton unleashed a blistering attack Monday night on Donald Trump's pick for vice president, telling thousands of cheering teachers union members that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is “one of the most hostile politicians in America when it comes to public education.”  “Neither Mike Pence nor Donald Trump should be anywhere near our children’s education,” said Clinton, speaking at the American Federation of Teachers' biennial gathering in Minneapolis. She spoke as the GOP convention was taking place in Cleveland, 750 miles away.  If you want to know what kind of president Trump would be, Clinton said, “just look at who he’s chosen as his running mate.”  “Mike Pence is one of the most extreme vice presidential picks in a generation," Clinton said. "And he’s one of the most hostile politicians in America when it comes to public education.”

Education Bloggers Daily Highlights 7/18/2016


PSBA 2016-17 Budget Update JUL 22, 2016 • 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Please join PSBA’s Assistant Executive Director of Public Policy and Chief Lobbyist John Callahan for an in-depth dive into Pennsylvania’s budget. In this complimentary member webinar, see what is behind the numbers, get the trends and analysis for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Find out what is in the school code and policy changes to come. Participate in a question and answer period.  Register online with PSBA’s webinar host GoToWebinar at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/rt/7915829886509395715

Apply Now for EPLC's 2016-2017 PA Education Policy Fellowship Program!
Education Policy and Leadership Center
Applications are available now for the 2016-2017 Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP). The Education Policy Fellowship Program is sponsored in Pennsylvania by The Education Policy and Leadership Center (EPLC). Click here for the program calendar of sessions.  With nearly 500 graduates in its first seventeen years, this Program is a premier professional development opportunity for educators, state and local policymakers, advocates, and community leaders.  State Board of Accountancy (SBA) credits are available to certified public accountants.  Past participants include state policymakers, district superintendents and principals, school business officers, school board members, education deans/chairs, statewide association leaders, parent leaders, education advocates, and other education and community leaders. Fellows are typically sponsored by their employer or another organization.
The Fellowship Program begins with a two-day retreat on September 15-16, 2016 and continues to graduation in June 2017. Click here to read more about the Education Policy Fellowship Program, or here to see the 2016-2017 program calendar.
Applications are being accepted now.

Appointment of Voting Delegates for the October 15th PSBA Delegate Assembly Meeting
PSBA Website June 27, 2016
The governing body boards of all member school entities are entitled to appoint voting delegates to participate in the PSBA Delegate Assembly to be held on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. It is important that school boards act soon to appoint its delegate or delegates, and to notify PSBA of the appointment.
Voting members of the Delegate Assembly will:
1.     Consider and act upon proposed changes to the PSBA Bylaws.
2.     Receive reports from the PSBA president, executive director and treasurer.
3.     Receive the results of the election for officers and at-large representatives. (Voting upon candidates by school boards and electronic submission of each board’s votes will occur during the month of September 2016.)
4.     Consider proposals recommended by the PSBA Platform Committee and adopt the legislative platform for the coming year.
5.     Conduct other Association business as required or permitted in the Bylaws, policies or a duly adopted order of business.
The 2016 Delegate Assembly will meet on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the conclusion of the regularly scheduled events of the main PASA-PSBA School Leadership Conference.

2016 PA Educational Leadership Summit July 24-26 State College
Summit Sponsors: PA Principals Association - PA Association of School Administrators - PA Association of Middle Level Educators - PA Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development 
The 2016 Educational Leadership Summit, co-sponsored by four leading Pennsylvania education associations, provides an excellent opportunity for school district administrative teams and instructional leaders to learn, share and plan together at a quality venue in "Happy Valley." 
Featuring Grant Lichtman, author of EdJourney: A Roadmap to the Future of Education, Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera (invited), and Dana Lightman, author of POWER Optimism: Enjoy the Life You Have... Create the Success You Want, keynote speakers, high quality breakout sessions, table talks on hot topics and district team planning and job alike sessions provides practical ideas that can be immediately reviewed and discussed at the summit before returning back to your district.   Register and pay by April 30, 2016 for the discounted "early bird" registration rate:

PA Supreme Court sets Sept. 13 argument date for fair education funding lawsuit in Philly
Thorough and Efficient Blog JUNE 16, 2016 BARBGRIMALDI LEAVE A COMMENT

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