news-schoolsroundup010816-1: 20 Philadelphia schools chosen to participate in mock trial

Chris Davis, TUBAA representative, and Khary Atif, chapter president. Afrocentric Books were donated to Pre-K to 12th grade students residing in North Philadelphia.

More than 303 teams from 255 high schools in the Commonwealth have been chosen to take part in the 2017 Statewide Mock Trial Competition. Now in its 34th year, the program is sponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.

The participating schools from Philadelphia include: Abraham Lincoln High School, Archbishop Ryan High School, Boys Latin Of Philadelphia Charter School, Camelot Academy West, CAPA, Central High School (two teams), Constitution High School, Esperanza Academy Charter High School, Franklin Learning Center, Germantown Friends High School (three teams), Girard Academic Music Program, Girard College High School (two teams), Imhotep Institute Charter High School, Roman Catholic High School (three teams), Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School (two teams), Science Leadership Academy Beeber, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Tacony Academy Charter School, The Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School and William Penn Charter School (two teams).

“Although it is called a competition, we view the mock trial program as a great academic opportunity for high school students, even those who do not plan future careers in the law,” said Joel C. Seelye of Altoona, chair of the association’s Young Lawyers Division. “Critical thinking, effective presentation skills and dispute resolution tactics are just some the ingredients needed to be successful in the mock trial program, and these are skills that will be helpful in many workplaces.”

The district and regional levels of the competition will continue throughout February and March. Fourteen teams will advance to the Pennsylvania Bar Association Statewide Mock Trial Championships, March 24 and 25, in Harrisburg. The winning team of the state championship will represent Pennsylvania in the national mock trial finals, May 11-13 in Hartford, Conn.

Children’s Fund earns perfect financial score

The Children’s Scholarship Fund of Philadelphia received a perfect score in terms of financial health, accountability and transparency in metric rankings, received from the Charity Navigator, a renowned independent charity evaluator.

CSFP, which is a privately funded program whose mission is to provide financial access for students from low income Philadelphia families, also made the Charity Navigator’s top 10 list for Highly Rated Charities Relying on Private Contributions.

“We are honored that Charity Navigator rated CSFP so highly for such important measures,” said Ina Lipman, executive director of the CSFP, in a statement. This score truly attests to our organization’s commitment to efficiency, transparency and responsibility to generous donors who have made it possible for deserving low-income children to get a great k-8th grade education. It also speaks to the thousands of lives we have changed in Philadelphia through our impactful program: over 96 percent of kids leaving our program in 8th grade onto graduate high school prepared and on time.”

AKA foundation to host movie screening

Through the Ivy Legacy Foundation, Rho Theta Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., hosted a screening of the film, “Hidden Figures,” to 1,000 middle and high school students on Jan. 7.

Three women featured in the film were mathematicians working with NASA and were also members of AKA. The sorority hopes the event will encourage 1,000 STARTS (Students Taking Aim and Reaching Success) STEM Challenge.

“Introducing young people to women in the sciences will encourage them to delve deeper into STEM vocations,” the chapter wrote in a statement. “It is our view that seeing is believing.”

Ruth Curran Neild joins Research for Action

Ruth Neild is now the Director of Research for Action’s Philadelphia Education Research Consortium, an initiative the organization launched with a grant from the William Penn Foundation.

Currently, she serves as the delegated director of the Institute of Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education.

“I am thrilled to be returning to Philadelphia,” Neild said. “My early experience at RFA showed me the importance of thinking creatively about strategies that bridge research and practice, and significantly influenced my work at IES.”

RFA is an independent, nonprofit education research organization that aims to improve access to high quality education for disadvantaged students. Kate Shaw, RFA’s executive director, said Neild has used Philadelphia as a laboratory for much of her research and has published on topics ranging from the early signs of high school dropout, career and technical education and small schools.

“We are excited to welcome her back to RFA and to Philadelphia,” Shaw said.

Joe Roebuck sworn in as chairman of the House

State Rep. Joe Roebuck, who represents the 188th legislative district, was sworn in earlier this week as the Democratic chairman of the House Education Committee.

“As we begin a new session, I look forward to working to improve education in Pennsylvania, and that has to include restoring more of the school funding that was cut during former Gov. (Tom) Corbett’s four years,” Roebuck said in a statement. “Philadelphia has been especially hard hit by those cuts, but the impact has been statewide. We have made significant progress on restoring education funding in Gov. Tom Wolf’s first two years, but we have much more to do. Fortunately, we already know there are common sense ways to generate funding and balance the budget, such as a reasonable tax on gas drilling and closing corporate tax loopholes.”

N.J. Congressman appointed to House Committee

Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ) will now serve on the House Committee on Education and Workforce. He is expected to be the only New Jersey congressional member to serve on the delegation.

“It’s an honor to represent New Jersey’s working families,” Norcross said in a statement. “This is a continuation of my lifelong fight to defend hard working men and women and make certain that every person has the dignity of a good paying job. I’ve built bridges and buildings across South Jersey, and now I’m working to build bridges in Washington — by working with both sides of the aisle to fight for policies that put American workers first.”

Norcross, who graduated from a community college and was trained in a skilled apprenticeship program, said he would like to use his position on the committee to advocate for expanding affordable higher education opportunities.

Philadelphia Futures to host annual conference

Philadelphia Futures’ conference kicked off this weekend with nearly 600 high school students, college students, parents, mentors guests and more. The theme for the event is “Taking the Next Step.” The conference will culminate with a reception that celebrates Executive Director Joan Mazzotti, who will step down from her position in January.

The conference takes place at Drexel and includes a panel discussion moderated by 6abc’s news anchor Rick Williams. Additionally, there will be workshops and a closing session to honor the 16 years of service from Mazzotti.

Philadelphia Futures is a group that provides the city’s low-income, first generation-to-college students with the tools and opportunities for admission to and success in college.

Super Science Cyber School Day on Jan. 23

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and WXPN present: Super Science Cyber School Day at Philadelphia’s dinosaur museum.

Parents and students will have an opportunity for hands on science workshops during National School Choice Week, Jan. 22-28. The registration for the even is $7 for each child and each adult.

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