OUT & ABOUT: The Best School Newspaper Ever

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BY DENISE CLAY/ We talk a lot about education in this country. I can’t tell you how many political rallies I’ve been to where the phrase “the children are our future” has been trotted out to thunderous applause. It’s like one the favorite phrases of the rubber-chicken circuit.

But education in most cases is becoming like the weather: Everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it.

Nowhere is that more true than in the city of Philadelphia. Despite being the site of what was the largest experiment in urban education until the folks in Louisiana decided to almost completely privatize the New Orleans School District, Philadelphians tend to either stare blankly at, or totally ignore, what’s going on with the management of the city’s schools. Between a state government that has shown it doesn’t know how to manage the city’s schools any better than the local authorities which used to, and a Mayor who lacks the temerity to demand the district back from the state controllers who have mismanaged it for the sole purpose of repeating the Louisiana Experiment, Philly’s kids are caught in a middle that no one seems interested in exploring.

No one but the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, that is.

The Philadelphia Public School Notebook covers one thing, and one thing only: the schools of the School District of Philadelphia. Founded in 1994, the newspaper not only gives you news about what’s going on in individual schools; it tackles issues such as the cost of college, school district cuts, and tracks where your tax dollars for education are really going better than anyone else.

What also makes the newspaper different is the voice it gives parents. Parent advocates like Asians United firebrand Helen Gym are among those who contribute to the newspaper and its blog on a regular basis.

As someone who currently teaches in a School District of Philadelphia school, I find the information that I get in the Notebook pretty valuable. Editor Paul Socolar and writer Dale Mezzacappa keep those who read the paper in the know about exactly what’s going on in schools. They’re always in the School District building at 440 N. Broad Street, and they never miss a School Reform Commission gathering.

The Notebook is hosting its annual End of the School Year bash on Tuesday, Jun. 12 at the University of the Arts’ Dorrance Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad Street. The party, which has the theme of “Turning the Page for Change” this year, will allow educators, education advocates and parents the chance to get together in a lighthearted setting to talk about the pressing issues our kids face. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished over wine and crudités.

Tickets for the event are $65, $25 for those 25 and under. To purchase tickets, you can go to the Notebook’s website: http://thenotebook.org/june-event or give them a call at (215) 951-0330.

I will also go to another event that is near and dear to my heart. The folks of the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society are installing new officers at the Kimmel Center on Tuesday. I’d like to send special congratulations to incoming President Darisha K. Miller of Ross Associates and incoming Vice President Vincent Thompson of Thompson Mediaman Communications. You’ve both helped me a lot in terms of connecting me with people who have really good stories to tell. I know that you’ll both do well.

A special shout-out goes to outgoing President Shalimar Blakely of A Peace of PR … you’ll get some of your life back now. I know you’re looking forward to it. And a special congrats to all of the members of the Class of 2012 … especially my Performance Learning Center kids. You’ve overcome a lot to get that piece of paper. Now go out and conquer the world. You can do this….

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One Response to OUT & ABOUT: The Best School Newspaper Ever

  1. A great newspaper and a great yearly gathering.

    Barbara Dowdall
    June 8, 2012 at 6:37 pm

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