The Pennsylvania Department of Education will discuss the Every Student Succeeds Act and solicit feedback from education stakeholders and the community during a event scheduled for next week.

The ESSA goes into full effect in the 2017-18 school year and is the country’s primary K-12 education policy since the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Questions discussed in the program will include: What can Pennsylvania do to innovate and take advantage of the flexibility to support Philadelphians and Philadelphia? Does the new federal administration signal major changes to ESSA implementation or will increased local control insulate states from federal influence?

The Education First Compact forum will be held from 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Thur., Feb. 2, at Pipeline Philly, 30 S. South 15th St., and will be hosted by the Deputy Secretary of Education Matthew Stem, along with Beth Olanoff, the special assistant to the Secretary and ESSA Lead Pennsylvania Department of Education. The Education First Compact is an initiative of the Philadelphia Education Fund, which brings together people to discuss issues affecting education in Philadelphia.

Paul L. Dunbar 8th graders visit Temple University

Students from Paul L. Dunbar Promise Academy visited the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University last week in an attempt to get them interested in healthcare. Students were involved in interactive workshops that included using ultrasound and electrocardiogram machines, human brain displays, CPR demonstrations, and a discussion on bone health.

The student government association at LKSOM partnered with two non-profit organizations, It Takes Philly and the Opening Doors Foundation to make the event happen.

More than 200 participant in Aspen Challenge

More than 200 students and educators from the School District of Philadelphia will take part a program that includes 20 high school teams of eight students in grades 9 to 12. The event is from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wed., Feb. 1 at the Ballroom at Ben, 834 Chestnut St.

The Aspen Challenge, founded by the Aspen Institute in partnership with the Bezos Family Foundation, will offer a daylong youth leadership development forum where they will hear leaders pioneering change.

The event features Amir Khalaib Thompson (Questlove) from the Roots, Ezekial Emanuel, oncologist and bioethicist chair at the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, MK Asante, professor and poet, the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, coalition builder and founder of Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace, Komal Ahmad, founder and CEO of Copia, a company working that works to eradicate hunger, JT Reager, an earth scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center.

Nine neighborhood schools receive grants worth $4,300

The Philadelphia Public School Giving Circle Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation will give $4,300 in academic enrichment support to nine Philadelphia neighborhood schools. The Circle supports public elementary schools serving low-income students in neighborhoods with limited fundraising capacity.

The supported projects include:

Spring Garden Elementary School’s Family Fun Nights for academic enrichment in science, math and literacy.

Henry C. Lea Elementary School’s new math and reading curriculum for fifth graders.

Vare-Washington Elementary School for garden supplies.

Horatio B. Hackett Elementary School for back of the chair sacks for fifth graders to store and organize learning materials.

Southwark School’s reading books and literacy materials for students in the bilingual program.

Warren G. Harding School t o purchase five Chromebooks to supported blended learning.

James J. Sullivan Elementary School to purchase tickets for first graders to see Ambler Theater’s “Puss in Boots.”

S. Weir Mitchell Elementary School for 100 sets of headphones for use with Chromebooks.

Thomas K. Finletter Elementary School for four Ozobot robot kits to start an after school robotics club.

“This is an attempt to level the playing field a little bit and to also make us feel good,” said Andy Toy, a founding member of the Circle. “It’s not every person for themselves, it’s everyone working together.”

Brian Sims to host education forum Monday

On Monday, State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Phila.) will host an education forum at 7 p.m. on Jan. 30 at the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, 901 S. Broad St.

Principals from five neighborhood schools will participate. They include: April Brown from Waring Elementary, Zack Duberstein from Vare-Washington Elementary, Lisa Kaplan from Jackson Elementary, Dan Lazar from Greenfield Elementary and Lauren Overton from Meredith Elementary.

The panel includes: Maia Cucciara from Temple University, Eleanor Ingersoll, from the Queen Village Neighbors Association School and Youth Committee and of the Meredith Elementary School Advisory Council, Otis Hackney from the Mayor’s Office of Education, Ivy Olesh, Friends of Neighborhood Education and Deborah Gordon Klehr, the executive director of the Education Law Center.

“Together we’ll explore how entire communities can use their unique assets to support local public schools and move our vision for Philadelphia schools forward,” Sims said. “Dr. William Hite, the Philadelphia School superintendent, will kick off the forum and help us welcome panelists, parents and attendees.”

Chester Community Charter first in robot performance

The Mayor of Chester Thaddeus Kirkland and the City Council honored “The Bionic Beasts,” robotics team of the Chester Community Charter School. The team took home first place in Robot Performance, second overall out of 31 teams, and also won an award for mechanical design.

“The students on our robotic steam are exemplary role models, and show a glimpse of the talented, young minds our school is fostering within the Chester community,” said David Clark, the CEO of CCCS said.

The team is led by coach Daniel Aulisio, who founded the team in 2013. Seven students are on the team which used elements from mathematics, science and engineering to build their robots.

New school district breakfast food to be introduced

On Monday, the School District of Philadelphia will unveil a new student produced breakfast item to school cafeterias in the city. Rebel Crumbles, are healthy cakes filled with fruits and grains and were created by Rebel Ventures, a student run business with student entrepreneurs from different high schools.

For more than a year, students worked to develop the food recipe, test the product, market it to vendors and establish a partnership with the SDP’s Food Services to bring it to local schools.

National School Choice Week wrapped up

Last week was National School Choice Week, a week to highlight school choice. Some counties throughout the week celebrated the goal of raising public awareness of effective education options for children, however Philadelphia was not on the list.

“Students, parents, teachers and community leaders in Pennsylvania have a lot to celebrate during National School Choice Week,” said Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week. “Pennsylvania has long been a pioneer in providing diversity of K-12 education options for children and families.”

The week was an independent effort to spotlight other options including traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning and homeschooling.

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