MCCC To Hold Info Sessions For Aspiring Educators‏

Blue Bell, Pa.—From pre-k to high school, teachers play an integral role in shaping students’ lives. And for decades, Montgomery County Community College’s Education programs have helped prepare teachers for the task. That preparation starts with an innovative curriculum that keeps pace with industry trends and transfer standards.

The College will hold information sessions on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. for prospective students and their families to learn about MCCC’s education programs. Sessions will be led by MCCC Education faculty in room 101 of the Advanced Technology Center at the Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

During the info sessions, participants will get a taste for what it’s like to be an education major at MCCC, and faculty will discuss job prospects in the education industry. Participants will also learn about MCCC’s three Associate in Arts (A.A.) degree programs in education—Education in the Early Years: Birth Through Grade Four, Education in the Middle Years: Grades Four through Eight, and Secondary Education.

All three of MCCC’s programs align with the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) certification requirements and transfer seamlessly to programs at four-year colleges and universities. Regardless of the program, all MCCC Education students take Introduction to Education (EDU 100), which allows them to observe different classrooms at a variety of grade levels and to learn about certification options and requirements.

To learn more about MCCC’s Education programs, visit http://www.mc3.edu/academics, then select Areas of Study, followed by Social Sciences.

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Grand Jury Investigating Plum Sex Scandal Involving Possibly 8 Students

An Allegheny County grand jury is investigating whether teachers at Plum High School abused as many as eight female students over as many as eight years and that school officials kept it quiet, according to a sealed search warrant executed Tuesday.

The warrant — signed Monday by Common Pleas Judge Jill E. Rangos, who supervises the grand jury — sought records that could show whether district officials knew about inappropriate contact between staff and students.

The warrant indicates that a grand jury is investigating whether criminal charges should be filed against school officials for failing to report known sexual abuse.

Among the violations under consideration are tampering with records, fabricating evidence, obstructing the administration of law, failure to report abuse and intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in a child abuse case, according to the warrant.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/8399593-74/ruggieri-hearing-charges#ixzz3ahY6QGzu
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Lancaster Ranked No. 1 Place To Be A Teacher In The U.S.

Education majors who graduated from Millersville University this month don’t have to look far to find an awesome place to work.

Lancaster is the best city in the country to be a teacher, according to a South Carolina-based data analysis and scholarship search company.

GoodCall created its list of the top 10 places to be a teacher based on average annual teacher salary, available teaching jobs, teaching jobs per capita, high school graduation rates, cost of living and amenities. It used data from the U.S. Census, Indeed.com, the National Center for Education Statistics, and WalkScore.com.

The average teacher salary for Lancaster is $60,370, and there were 70 teaching jobs available as of May 6, according to GoodCall. Those figures refer to public and private schools in the city, according to Carrie Wiley, GoodCall’s public relations manager.

Read more:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/lancaster-ranked-no-place-to-be-a-teacher-in-the/article_030e8894-faff-11e4-91c5-9b05a2f2a6f8.html

Nominations Sought For 2015 Teaching Excellence Award

Blue Bell/Pottstown/Lansdale, Pa.—To recognize and honor exceptional teaching, Montgomery County Community College’s (MCCC) Office of Academic Affairs invites students, faculty, alumni and interested community members to submit nominations for its 2015 Teaching Excellence Award.

The Teaching Excellence Award annually recognizes an MCCC faculty member whose teaching is intellectually stimulating and accessible for all students and who demonstrates a commitment to the well-being of students both inside and outside of the classroom. Nominees must be current, full-time faculty members in good standing to be eligible.

Nominations may be submitted online at surveymonkey.com/s/MCCCTeachingAward. Nominations are vetted by a faculty committee comprised primarily of past award recipients. The committee then forwards its recommendation to the vice president of academic affairs and provost, and then to the president. The winner will be announced during MCCC’s 2015 Commencement ceremony on May 21.

This year’s award is sponsored by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, which annually recognizes outstanding faculty from 52 Pennsylvania and New Jersey colleges and universities with its Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

At MCCC, the Lindback Award is given on alternating years with the Pearlstine Award for Teaching Excellence, named in honor of founding MCCC Trustee Gladys Pearlstine. Seventeen total awards have been presented to outstanding faculty since 1998. To view a full list of past recipients, visit mc3.edu/academics/faculty/teach-award.

Philadelphia Schools Plan To Hire 400 Teachers In 2015-16

The Philadelphia School District plans to hire at least 400 teachers for the 2015-16 school year.

In a district that has spent the last several years closing schools and laying off teachers, that is notable.

Particular areas of need, officials said, are secondary math and science, special education, art, music, and upper elementary school.

In an effort to compete with charter schools and other systems, the district has also changed its application process, shortening the hiring timeline and requiring applicants to submit more information up front.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/education/20150202_Phila__schools_plan_to_hire_400_teachers_in_2015-16.html#bVX3ueoSf5fh64GA.99

With No State Oversight, Local Districts Set Their Own Communication Policies

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luzerne County authorities last winter charged three school district employees with having sex with students.

A county jury last Wednesday acquitted one of them — suspended Hanover Area School District teacher Edward Evans. The other two face trial on charges they had sex with students.

After the Evans trial concluded, jury foreman Jeffrey Lotz said the jury couldn’t definitively determine if Evans had sex with an 18-year-old student, but he said Evans put himself in a bad position by taking the student into his bedroom. Evans admitted he picked the student up and took him back to his house to go over pamphlets on sexually transmitted diseases.

School districts can set their own policies on contact and communication between teachers and students outside of school. With no official state oversight of out-of-class communication, policies vary by school district.

Read more:http://citizensvoice.com/news/with-no-state-oversight-local-districts-set-their-own-communication-policies-1.1730161

Portland, Peduto And Progressive Politics: Pittsburgh Is Poised For Creative New Ideas

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early Thursday, I tweeted a story from Salon that asked:  “Is Pittsburgh the Next Portland?”

The piece by longtime Pittsburgh fan Jim Russell originally appeared on the website Pacific Standard and opened with this provocative lead paragraph:

“What does a dying city look like? Brains are draining.  The population is shrinking or aging, or both.  Vibrant, creative class cool Portland is the antithesis of dying.  Yesterday, journalist Annalyn Kurtz tweets:  ‘See!  The Portland labor force lost 25,000 workers in the last year.’ ”

The next sentence was the real killer:  “What in the name of Richard Florida is going on here?”  Pittsburghers of a certain age will remember when Richard Florida was just a local phenomenon.  The Carnegie Mellon professor from 1987 to 2004 literally wrote the book on what constitutes a livable city.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/tony-norman/heres-a-city-poised-for-creative-new-ideas-688899/#ixzz2UH8bzcYV

Changing Skyline: Cool Affordable Housing For Young Teachers

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Philadelphia County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s easy to imagine the sprawling 19th-century brick mill on South Kensington’s Howard Street as just another high-end apartment complex for twentysomething professionals, the newest outpost on Philadelphia’s ever-advancing frontier of gentrification.

Situated a few blocks north of Fishtown‘s hipster bars and BYOB food shrines, Oxford Mills preserves the kind of authentic architectural details that make young, and not-so-young, renters swoon: high ceilings, huge windows, thick wooden beams.  The amenities hail straight from the wired generation’s handbook.  Plans call for an office incubator that rents desk space by the day and a public cafe that spills onto a sliver park furnished with outdoor tables and a fire pit.  You know, for those cool, late summer nights when you want to linger with friends.

But Oxford Mills, which will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday, ventures down an uncharted path.  It is being built by a private company, D3 Real Estate, which intends to market the units as affordable housing to teachers, especially novices working in programs like Teach for America, and others who fall into the growing category known as “the working poor.”

Newly minted professionals with college degrees are not generally seen as the target demographic for low-income housing, a term that still brings to mind no-frills residential complexes built for the chronically poor, elderly, or disabled.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/home/20130415_Changing_Skyline__South_Kensington_housing_development_for_low-wage_workers_is_a_socially_driven_project.html

Little Relief Anticipated As School Taxes Rise In Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

School property taxes have risen more sharply this year than in 2011-12 as Lancaster County school districts continue to struggle with stagnant revenues and surging expenses.

State funding for basic education has been flatlined for most Lancaster County school districts for 2012-13, and local sources of revenue are stagnant or declining as more property owners successfully appeal their assessments.

In addition, school officials say, there was less fat to be cut from budgets this year because so many districts implemented steep spending cuts and wage freezes in 2011-12.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/687758_Little-relief-anticipated-as-school-taxes-rise-here.html#ixzz20bremAN8

Reading School District Seeks 14 Administrators; Teachers Union Upset

Just two days after passing a 2012-13 budget that laid off more than 200 employees, the Reading School District is looking to hire – and the teachers union isn’t very happy about it.

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipediaust two days after passing a 2012-13 budget that laid off more than 200 employees, the Reading School District is looking to hire – and the teachers union isn’t very happy about it.

In an email sent to staff Friday, the district announced that it is looking to fill 14 administrative positions. Some are existing positions currently vacant, while others are new.

But despite appearances, district officials said, the district is not opening up its budget to create new positions.

Calling the job listings a wish list for newly hired superintendent Dr. Carlinda Purcell, school board President Yvonne L. Stroman said only seven or eight of the positions will likely be filled when school begins this fall. Stroman said only positions included in the district’s $220 million budget – such as director of secondary education and director of special education – will be filled.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=396900

Reading School District Lays Off 87 More Employees

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nearly 90 more furlough notices have been handed out to Reading School District employees.

Karen B. Gokay, director of human resources, Thursday confirmed that 65 teaching assistants and 22 secretaries have been formally told they will not have jobs with the district next school year. It is unclear exactly when the layoffs will take effect.

“It’s such a devastating blow for the people being furloughed,” said Charlene Weiser, president of the teaching assistant union, adding that the cuts will negatively affect students. “That’s 65 less assistants in classrooms.”

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=393224

More Than 100 Positions On Chopping Block At Easton Area School District

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Easton Area School District could cut more than 100 positions if it chooses not to raise taxes for the 2012-13 school year.

Facing a deficit of more than $8 million without a tax increase, the administration Wednesday unveiled the details of cuts associated with tax increases of 2.2 percent, 1.7 percent and zero percent. All of the budget plans include using $1.5 million from the district’s assigned reserves.

Even with a 2.2 percent tax hike, the maximum allowed by the state, the district would cut more than 40 teaching positions, 27 paraprofessionals and 10 maintenance positions in order to balance its 2012-13 budget.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/easton/mc-easton-school-budget-options-20120404,0,2495016.story

Budget Crisis In Reading School District

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Reading School District‘s financial picture for next year was painted for the public Monday night – and it’s not pretty.

The district is facing a nearly $53.2 million hole in its proposed budget for the 2012-13 school year, which the district administration presented for the first time to the Reading School Board.

“It is ugly,” said Roger Brubaker, acting district business manager.

It’s so bad that the district might have to consider taking drastic steps – from closing schools, to laying off teachers, to freezing wages, to cutting kindergarten to half-day.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=375711

Chester-Upland School District May Run Out Of Cash

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Image via Wikipedia

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — Nearly two decades after being declared financially distressed, the school system in this struggling Philadelphia suburb faces a new and even more daunting crisis: It may run out of cash.

Administrators in the Chester Upland School District, one of Pennsylvania’s poorest systems and once the center of a failed experiment in school privatization, say they won’t be able to make payroll Wednesday unless the state advances the district $18.7 million in expected funding. While teachers and staff have vowed to continue working, the situation has thrown the system into new turmoil and has parents scrambling for other options.

Hoping to avoid a shutdown, the school filed a lawsuit Thursday, declaring a “cash-flow crisis” and asking a judge to tell state Education Secretary Ronald Tomalis that he must act to provide students in the district with a “thorough and efficient educational system.” Meanwhile, anxious parents are looking at other options for their children, such as sending them to private schools or having them live with relatives and go to other public schools.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/article/20120115/NEWS03/120119722

Pennsylvania Gets More Than $41 Million In Federal Education Funds

Pennsylvania has been given more than $41 million in education funding through the federal Race to the Top grant program.

The money will be used mainly for a new evaluation system for teachers, an effort to align academic standards and improve access to charter and online charter schools, according to state education officials.

The $41,326,299 grant will be paid over the next four years.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=355271

Pottstown School District Administrators Agree To Pay Freeze

I am pleased to learn that Act 93 employees and PSD administrators have taken voluntary pay freezes.  The teaching staff is not part of this group.  The Pottstown Federation of Teachers is now involved in a contact dispute with the district that is not going well. 

Teachers in the Fleetwood School District (Berks County) have been asked to take voluntary pay freezes, along with the administration, which will save the Fleetwood School District $800,000. 

Teachers in the Twin Valley School District (Chester County) have been asked to take voluntary pay freezes, along with the administration, which will save the Twin Valley School District $600,000 to $700,000 a year.  The Superintendent, Dr. Robert F. Pleis has already volunteered to take a pay freeze along with his colleagues at Fleetwood and Pottstown.

We give the PSD administration two Roy’s Rants thumbs up for leading by example.

The board also voted NO on “forward borrowing”.  “Forward borrowing” would have allowed the district to borrow up to an additional $23 million, over and above the $28 million already authorized.  The $28 million was authorized for renovations at the district’s five elementary schools.  We applaud the fiscal responsibility shown by the board.  PSD already has an enormous debt from the renovations at the high school and middle school.  Taxpayers cannot afford more debt.  Any amount over $28 million will need voter approval!

Education Week Releases Annual State Report Cards

Bookstand with large textbook

Image via Wikipedia

Education Week has released the results of their grading of all 50 states’ educational systems. Pennsylvania scored a B-.  Maryland had the highest score with a B+ followed by New York’s B rating.  The Dakotas and the District of Columbia scored a D+.

Click the link below to view the interactive map.  Click on each state to see details on who made the grade and how they did it.

Pennsylvania did well compared to the rest of the United States however; a B- certainly leaves room for improvement.

http://www.edweek.org/ew/qc/2011/16src.h30.html

Another Neighbor To The North Slashes Teaching Positions

The Easton Area School District Board of Education has voted 5-3 to slash 72 teaching positions for the 2010-2011 school year.  27 high school teachers, 9.5 middle school teachers, 18 elementary teachers and all the computer technology coordinators will get pink slips. 

According to the board, negotiations with the teachers union failed to provide the necessary cuts to bridge the budget deficit.  Teachers agreed to cuts that would have saved $5 million dollars but the district still would have needed to move money from their reserves, even with the concessions.

The $131.5 million dollar 2010-2011 budget will include a 2.35% property tax increase.

The Easton Area School District has an enrollment of approximately 9,000 students, 9 schools and more than 530 teachers.