Did a charter operator submit an Allentown proposal in York?

I’m sorting through all of the questions that community members asked of the seven charter operators that expressed an interest in taking over one or more York City schools one day.

And it looks like someone was wondering the same thing I was, about the proposal that came from Executive Education Schools.

Did the operator submit its Allentown charter school application after using “find and replace” to change every Allentown reference to York?

Executive Education Schools just opened its first charter school in Allentown. In its York proposal, there are some references to the “York School District” followed by the abbreviation “ASD.” There are references to people from York that are incorrect. (The proposal noted former state Rep. Jennifer Mann being elected to serve her hometown of York, when she was a representative for her hometown of Allentown.)

So, a community member asked Executive Education Schools why they used the same application and just changed the references using Microsoft Word.

“Our model has had proven success in urban areas and various academic settings. We apologize for the oversight on the WORD errors,” the operator responded.

 

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‘Baby Got Class’ video celebrates start of school

Parents, are you secretly celebrating the return of your kids to school?

Well, here’s a family so happy they’re rapping about it.

The Holderness family is known on the Internet for a “Xmas Jammies” video that I somehow missed but 14 million other people watched. And now they’re back, with “Baby Got Class,” set to the tune of the Sir Mix A Lot song.

My fave part: “Make it! Make it! Make that healthy lunch!”

It’s pretty fun.

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Welcome back for 2014-15

Well, summer’s pretty much over.

First graders Tessa Rishel, left, and Kaylyn Rosengrant, both 6, hold hands as they arrive on the first day of school at Conewago Elementary School Tuesday. (Photo by Kate Penn)

First graders Tessa Rishel, left, and Kaylyn Rosengrant, both 6, hold hands as they arrive on the first day of school at Conewago Elementary School Tuesday. (Photo by Kate Penn)

School buses began rolling this week, and students are heading back to their classrooms around York County. (A few districts don’t have to return until next week.)

As your kids head back to school, be sure to share any photos you take in our online gallery!

Find back-to-school information, including what’s new in your districts, here.

As always, feel free to get in touch with news from your districts. You can reach me at amason@ydr.com

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What’s your back-to-school spending look like?

(file photo)

(file photo)

The National Retail Federation has released its back-to-school survey and – suprise! – people are expected to spend more this year on supplies, clothing and electronics.

Here’s a quick look at some of the results:

  • Average family with K-12 kids will spend $669.28 on clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics, up from $634.78 last year.
  • Shoppers will spend about $212.35 on electronics – an increase from just under $200 last year.
  • School supply spending will increase about 12 percent, while clothing spending remains about the same.

Check out the full details here, and see what you think.

Is there something at the top of your back-to-school shopping list? Anything unusual your schools ask you to purchase? Post in the comments and let me know.

Also of interest:

Project Big Love offers school supplies and more on Saturday

U-Stor-It is collecting school supplies

 

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Wagner ad criticizes teachers’ union

In full-page ads in our newspaper, state Sen. Scott Wagner has said that public sector unions are the No. 1 reason “why nothing gets done in Harrisburg” and singles out the Pennsylvania State Education Association as the most powerful among the unions.

He criticized the teachers’ union for sending out an email “claiming victory over the defeat” of measures like Rep. Mike Tobash’s pension reform bill.

The ad includes an email blast from the teachers’ union, which says pension experts said the bill would not save much money but would make drastic cuts to retirement benefits for younger employees. The email credits teachers for contacting their lawmakers to tell them the bill doesn’t address the “real problem.”

Wagner says the email is a “slap in the face for every taxpayer” and criticizes unions for using “dues for politics.”

We’ve received one letter from a reader who disagrees with Wagner.

You can see the ad below (click the square with four arrows to make the document larger). What do you think?

 

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York College president joins students on trip abroad

York College President Pamela Gunter-Smith and  David Fyfe, assistant professor of geography, in Cambodia. (Submitted)

York College President Pamela Gunter-Smith and David Fyfe, assistant professor of geography, in Cambodia. (Submitted)

York College’s president – who has now been on the job a year, so I can’t call her “new” anymore – has a Facebook page, where you can typically see photos of her out and about on campus or attending sporting events.

But in recent weeks, the page offered a chance to see Pamela Gunter-Smith off campus – way off campus.

Gunter-Smith went to Cambodia and Vietnam with David Fyfe’s Cultures and Environments Field Series class.

York College President Pamela Gunter-Smith and her husband ride an elephant in Cambodia. (Submitted)

York College President Pamela Gunter-Smith and her husband ride an elephant in Cambodia. (Submitted)

The geography class is offered every summer and Fyfe has taken students to Peru, Egypt, China, Turkey, Greece and other destinations, he said in an email. Faculty and staff are invited, too.

Students focus on the cultural or physical geographies of the region they are visiting, and Fyfe incorporates some readings on tourism. The students write research papers connected to their  majors and some reflective essays when they return.

This summer, students visited “several places throughout Vietnam, from Saigon in the south where we visited the Cu Chi Tunnels, to Huay and Hoi An and DaNang in the central part of Vietnam where the demilitarized zone is located as well as the former US air base at China Beach and the UNESCO world heritage site of Hoi An,” Fyfe wrote. “We then went to the north of Vietnam to Hanoi and Halong Bay (another world heritage site) and then spent three days in Mai Chau, a rural village in the mountains west of Hanoi. We finished the trip by flying into Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat before flying home.”

York College students and staff wrote camels during a stop in Dubai. (Submitted)

York College students and staff rode camels during a stop in Dubai. (Submitted)

An airline change allowed them a day in Dubai, too.

“Spartans on elephants in Cambodia,” Gunter-Smith wrote when she posted photos from Cambodia. “What’s next? Spartans on camels in Dubai? Maybe.”

Check out Gunter-Smith’s Facebook page here.

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More documents filed in York City/New Hope lawsuit

Court filings keep coming in the lawsuit filed against the York City School District by New Hope Academy Charter School families.

When last I reported, Sean Summers, the attorney for the families, was seeking to amend the complaint a second time, adding allegations against the district and more defendants.

Here’s what’s new:

  • The district’s attorney, David Brown, filed a motion opposing Summers’ request to amend the lawsuit. He argues that affidavits filed with Summers’ request contain false information and that the plaintiffs don’t make a case for fraud, among other things.
  • Brown also sent a letter to the judge asking permission to file a motion for a protective order and to strike the affidavits. The letter says Summers has been providing documents from the discovery process to reporters, which Brown says violates a professional conduct rule and should stop. Brown says the affidavits should be struck because they contain false information. He requested oral arguments on the motion.
  • Summers sent a letter in response, suggesting a conference to discuss the matter. He said there would be a “lengthy and detailed response to the baseless accusations.” He also claims the district is withholding information and telling witnesses not to answer questions based improperly on attorney-client privilege.

The judge has scheduled a conference for July 8. The documents are below if you want to take a look.

 

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Will York City follow in New Orleans footsteps?

York City School District continues to move through a financial recovery plan that includes the possibility of someday converting schools into charters, if internal reform doesn’t work as the plan requires.

Officials have said new collective bargaining agreements are necessary for internal reform to work financially, and the city teachers’ union recently rejected a contract proposal. So the all-charter option seems to loom larger.

Given that, I thought York-area folks might want to read more about what’s happening in New Orleans, where the Recovery School District will become the first district in the country to be completely made up of charter schools next year. The move has advocates and critics.

This isn’t to say that if York went all-charter, it would work the way it does in New Orleans, where the takeover of schools kicked into higher gear after Hurricane Katrina. But it’s interesting to look at the issues at play in another district. Continue reading “Will York City follow in New Orleans footsteps?” »

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LIU 12 partnership brings NASA into the classroom

I’ve written several times about a connection between NASA and some local rocket kids.

A few months ago, I heard about another NASA connection at an area school board meeting, where a board member seemed pretty excited about a training opportunity through NASA and the Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12.

So I checked it out, and Jared Mader, director of educational technology at the LIU, explained that the intermediate unit was going to offer a training session to bring NASA’s MMS Mission to elementary-level classrooms.

NASA’s MMS Mission aims to build four satellites measuring data in the magnetosphere of earth to determine how solar flares impact the earth and the magnetic field from the earth, Mader said.

Mader said that NASA partnered with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and wrote an activity series to teach students about STEM principles related to the mission. ISTE asked Mader and Ben Smith, a teacher in the Red Lion Area School District, to write an iBook that is a teacher’s guide on how to complete the activities in a digital classroom. (At the elementary level, teachers were likely not science majors, though some might have had some focus on science.) Continue reading “LIU 12 partnership brings NASA into the classroom” »

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Teens: Apply now to join the Teen Takeover staff

Attention teenagers – the York Daily Record is taking applications for its Teen Takeover staff.

Members of the staff write stories, post on the Teen Takeover blog and attend monthly meetings. Your work could be published online or in print.

The deadline for next year is June 27.

Get all the details here. 

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