Principal turnover highest in Pa. cities, study says, and school leaders may be getting whiter, too
WHYY Keystone Crossroads By Avi Wolfman-Arent January 8, 2019
When a principal leaves a school, research suggests that students tend to suffer. And a new study of K-12 schools in Pennsylvania shows that principals are more mobile in big, urban districts. In a typical year, about one in five Pennsylvania principals (19%) leave their schools, according to a deep dive into principal mobility by the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium (PERC). But in places like Philly (24%), Pittsburgh (24%), Erie (22%), and Reading (27%) that number is more like one in four. When you zoom in on charter schools in Philadelphia, the figure rises to more than one in three (35%). Pennsylvania’s total principal mobility rate in the study period — 2007-08 through 2015-16 — was slightly above the national average of 17.5 percent. The authors of the PERC study say their work is just a starting point, a way to raise questions that could be answered by further research. Keystone Crossroads here breaks down five eye-raising trends contained in the new data.
Principals leave their schools at high rates in Philadelphia, new study shows
Charter schools experience higher turnover than District schools, according to a new report by the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium.
The notebook by Dale Mezzacappa January 8 — 7:00 pm, 2019
A new study indicates that principals switch schools or exit Philadelphia’s education system at high rates and that such mobility is concentrated in schools with more high-poverty students and more students of color. The turnover rate is higher in charter schools than in District schools, according to the study conducted by the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium, which aims to engage colleges, nonprofits, and the public education sector in nonpartisan research. Between 2008 and 2016, an average of 35 percent of Philadelphia charters saw a change in principals each year. For District schools, it was 24 percent. The year-by-year numbers fluctuated, but turnover “is much higher in charter schools,” said the study’s chief author, Matthew Steinberg, of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. The exception was in 2013 when the District closed two dozen schools. The study also showed that principals in District-run schools are older, more experienced, and more likely to be people of color than those in charters. Charter schools are also more than twice as likely to have a first-time principal. Over the period of the study, 12 percent of District principals were new to the role in any given year, compared to 31 percent of charter principals.
“Principal mobility—that is, transferring from one school to another or leaving the principalship entirely—is disproportionately concentrated in school districts serving more low-income students and has negative consequences for student performance.”
Principal Mobility in Philadelphia Traditional and Charter Public Schools, 2007-08 through 2015-16
The Philadelphia Education Research Consortium, Authors: Matthew P. Steinberg, Haisheng Yang Publication date: January 2019
WHY THIS STUDY: Effective principals improve student achievement, develop and retain teacher talent, and manage the organization and mission of schools. Since principals become more effective over time, attracting and retaining excellent principals is a high priority for all school districts. But public school districts in large cities like Philadelphia are especially challenged to provide every school with an effective school leader. Principal mobility—that is, transferring from one school to another or leaving the principalship entirely—is disproportionately concentrated in school districts serving more low-income students and has negative consequences for student performance. For these reasons, it is critical for policymakers and school leaders in Philadelphia to have a clear picture of the extent and nature of principal mobility.
Neshaminy teacher: ‘Redskins’ nickname ‘clearly is not’ a ‘term of honor’
WHYY By Aaron Moselle January 8, 2019
Five years ago, a group of student editors at Neshaminy High School in Bucks County made national headlines as they fought to remove the name “Redskins” — the nickname for the school’s sports teams — from the school’s student newspaper. On Tuesday, Tara Huber, the newspaper’s faculty advisor at the time, testified about the incident before a state commission weighing the school’s use of the term, which the commission argues is offensive to Native Americans. Huber’s stance on the word hasn’t changed: “redskins” is a racial slur. “Some people think that it is a term of honor and it clearly is not,” said Huber, an English teacher at Neshaminy High School, during the second day of a weeklong hearing called by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. Starting in 2013, student editors at The Playwickian pushed to not publish the word “redskins” anywhere in the monthly newspaper. The decision was not well-received by school administrators.
School district accused of banning Bibles says legal group is misleading public
The Mechanicsburg Area School District says it does not ban the Bible or other religious materials from its schools.
Penn Live By Ivey DeJesus | firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Updated 2:23 PM; Posted 1:54 PM
A central Pennsylvania school district that has been accused of banning students from handing out Bibles said the legal group backing the students is misrepresenting the situation. In a written statement, the Mechanicsburg Area School District on Tuesday said it does not ban religious materials from its campuses, and charged the Independence Law Center with issuing inaccurate allegations. The issue stems from a November incident in which the district denied permission to students seeking to distribute Bibles during the lunch period. The pro-bono legal group last week accused the district of banning students from distributing the religious materials, and ordered it to rescind the ban. “There is not a ban on the Bible, Torah or the Koran or any other religious material at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School,” district officials said in a written statement. “Students are always permitted to bring, read, share and discuss the Bible at school. We welcome and encourage students with all backgrounds and religious views to express themselves.” The district pointed out, however, that it has rules in place that must be followed by students or student groups wishing to distribute any material to other students during the instructional day, inclusive of lunch.
Inside One of America’s First Catholic-to-Charter School Conversions: ‘Intentionally Small,’ Built Around Character & Thriving
Why Center City Petworth has deliberately kept its campus small to pair enriched curriculum with relationship-building and character development
By Emily Langhorne | January 8, 2019
Washington, D.C.: Three rows of second-graders stand facing the front of the classroom. A speaker emits sounds. First, a door creaking. Then, footsteps thudding and a wolf howling, all followed by the unmistakable opening rift of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The students put their hands on their knees and take four big steps forward before swinging their arms quickly from side to side. When they’ve finished performing this simplified version of Jackson’s choreography, many fall to the floor, giggling. Jordan Daugherty teaches dance at Center City Public Charter School’s Petworth campus. Today, her second-grade class is learning the difference between improv and choreography. “That’s great,” Daugherty says. “Now face me upstage. That was choreography. Remember improv is when you feel the music and move with it. Choreography is when you make up the moves in advance to match the song.” At Center City Petworth, each student takes dance year-round as a part of their regular schedule. It’s an enrichment course, along with STEM and physical education, all component of the school’s commitment to providing every student with a comprehensive education.
Study Contradicts Betsy DeVos’ Reason for Eliminating School Discipline Guidance
The Trump administration recently rolled back Obama-era guidance that called for alternative methods of discipline than suspension and expulsion.
US News By Lauren Camera, Education Reporter Jan. 4, 2019, at 1:05 p.m.
SCHOOLS THAT USE methods other than suspension and expulsion to discipline students improved their climate, according to teachers – a finding that contradicts the narrative employed by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and White House officials to eliminate guidance aimed at keeping black students in the classroom. A new study by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Rand Corp. found that teachers in schools that embraced what are known as restorative justice discipline strategies perceived the discipline practices as positively impacting student conduct and, most importantly, positively impacting school safety. "Teachers considered their schools to have better working conditions and conditions more conducive to learning" than did teachers in schools that did not adopt restorative discipline practices, the researchers wrote. The study specifically focused on the use of restorative justice discipline practices in the Pittsburgh Public Schools district during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years. It's one of the first randomized controlled trials of the effects of restorative practices on classroom and school climates and suspension rates. The researchers examined a specific restorative practice program, the "International Institute for Restorative Practices' SaferSanerSchools Whole-School Change Program," in 22 schools. The findings comes just a week after DeVos eliminated guidance from the previous administration, handed down in 2014, that aimed to stem the school-to-prison pipeline by prodding schools to reduce the number of suspensions and expulsions, especially for students of color and students with disabilities, both of whom receive disciplinary actions at disproportionately high rates.
Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords to help introduce gun background check legislation
By Ashley Killough, CNN Updated 8:36 AM ET, Tue January 8, 2019
(CNN)Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords will return to Capitol Hill this week to help Democrats, who now control the House, introduce a bill requiring background checks on private transactions related to gun sales. Democrats will introduce the bill on Tuesday afternoon, the 8th anniversary of the shooting that nearly killed Gaffords and left six others dead. She'll join newly-elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Mike Thompson, a California Democrat, to unveil the bill. Democrats have long been signaling they would make legislation to address gun violence a top priority. "Thanks to the relentless efforts of advocates, courageous gun violence survivors, and the American voters who elected new leaders to Congress, I am thrilled that for the first time in decades, the United States House of Representatives will no longer sit silent as our nation reels from the growing gun violence epidemic," Giffords said in a statement announcing the legislation from Pelosi's office. Democrats introduced a similar bill -- with some Republican co-sponsors -- in November, but it wasn't brought to the floor while Democrats were in the minority. Despite bipartisan support for some gun legislation proposals, the Democrats' background check proposal appears unlikely to advance in the Republican-controlled Senate.
A Conversation With U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, an Award-Winning Teacher
Education Week Teacher Beat By Madeline Will on January 7, 2019 11:51 AM
The 116th U.S. Congress is more diverse than ever before, with a historic wave of women of color taking office. While much of the national spotlight has been on the youngest woman to serve in Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, there is also a former history teacher who has made history with her election: Rep. Jahana Hayes. Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, taught high school for over a decade. A Democrat, she is the first black woman from Connecticut to serve in Congress. Hayes was sworn into the U.S. House last week. Before then, she spoke to Education Week about her priorities in Congress—she hopes to be on the House education committee—as well as her thoughts on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, her experiences on the campaign trail, and what her election means for her students. Her responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Testing Resistance & Reform News: January 3 - 8, 2019
Submitted by fairtest on January 8, 2019 - 12:59pm
With new state legislative sessions getting underway, momentum is building for further rollbacks of testing overuse and misuse. Look for many more victories in 2019 as parents, educators, students and community leaders push for genuine assessment reform.
Pennsylvania schools work – for students, communities and the economy when adequate resources are available to give all students an equal opportunity to succeed.
Join A Movement that Supports our Schools & Communities
PA Schools Work website
Our students are in classrooms that are underfunded and overcrowded. Teachers are paying out of pocket and picking up the slack. And public education is suffering. Each child in Pennsylvania has a right to an excellent public education. Every child, regardless of zip code, deserves access to a full curriculum, art and music classes, technical opportunities and a safe, clean, stable environment. All children must be provided a level chance to succeed. PA Schools Work is fighting for equitable, adequate funding necessary to support educational excellence. Investing in public education excellence is the path to thriving communities, a stable economy and successful students.
Build on finance, policy, board culture skills at PSBA’s Applied School Director Training
Four convenient locations in December and January
Take the next step in your professional development with Applied School Director Training. Building upon topics broadly covered in New School Director Training, this new, interactive evening event asks district leaders to dive deeper into three areas of school governance: school finance, board policy and working collaboratively as a governance team. Prepare for future leadership positions and committee work in this workshop-style training led by experts and practitioners. Learn how to:
Dec.11, 2018 — Seneca Valley SD
Dec. 12, 2018 — Selinsgrove, Selinsgrove Area Middle School
Jan. 10, 2019 — Bethlehem, Nitschmann Middle School
Jan. 17, 2019 — State College
Cost: This event is complimentary for All-Access members or $75 per person with standard membership and $150 per person for nonmembers. Register online by logging in to myPSBA.
NSBA 2019 Advocacy Institute January 27-29 Washington Hilton, Washington D.C.
The upcoming midterm elections will usher in the 116th Congress at a critical time in public education. Join us at the 2019 NSBA Advocacy Institute for insight into what the new Congress will mean for your school district. And, of course, learn about techniques and tools to sharpen your advocacy skills, and prepare for effective meetings with your representatives. Save the date to join school board members from across the country on Capitol Hill to influence the new legislative agenda and shape the decisions made inside the Beltway that directly impact our students. For more information contact .
PSBA Board Presidents’ Panel
Nine locations around the state running Jan 29, 30 and 31st.
Share your leadership experience and learn from others in your area at this event designed for board presidents, superintendents and board members with interest in pursuing leadership roles. Workshop real solutions to the specific challenges you face with a PSBA-moderated panel of school leaders. Discussion will address the most pressing challenges facing PA public schools.
Annual PenSPRA Symposium set for March 28-29, 2019
Pennsylvania School Public Relations Association Website
Once again, PenSPRA will hold its annual symposium with nationally-recognized speakers on hot topics for school communicators. The symposium, held at the Conference Center at Shippensburg University, promises to provide time for collegial sharing and networking opportunities. Mark you calendars now!
We hope you can join us. Plans are underway, so check back for more information.
2019 NSBA Annual Conference Philadelphia March 30 - April 1, 2019
Pennsylvania Convention Center 1101 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19107
Registration Questions or Assistance: 1-800-950-6722
The NSBA Annual Conference & Exposition is the one national event that brings together education leaders at a time when domestic policies and global trends are combining to shape the future of the students. Join us in Philadelphia for a robust offering of over 250 educational programs, including three inspirational general sessions that will give you new ideas and tools to help drive your district forward.
Save the date: PSBA Advocacy Day at the Capitol in Harrisburg has been scheduled for Monday April 29, 2019
Save the Date: PARSS Annual Conference May 1-3, 2019
Wyndham Garden Hotel, Mountainview Country Club
Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools