School Reform Is Hot Topic For Philadelphia Schools

Philadelphia Schools are in dire need of reform. In an effort to achieve this goal, two committees, The Right to Education Task Force and The School Reform Commission, have been formed to focus on improving the situation for all Philadelphia Schools students. A new mission statement, a Declaration of Education, an anti-truancy effort, and summer programs have all been implemented within the district of Philadelphia Schools.

The Right to Education Task Force, which focuses on special education and persons with disabilities served by Philadelphia Schools, strives to do the following:

o Review state and national legislation that affects improvements of special education classes

o Participate in active and meaningful discussion about education concerns, and give recommendations to resolve them

o Serve as advisors and advocates to protect the rights of students with disabilities

o Encourage and facilitate cooperation between public and private agencies and their officials to provide services to persons with disabilities

Philadelphia Schools has put a “School Reform Commission” in place in order to continue the improvement of Philadelphia Schools. The commission’s mission statement is as follows: “The mission of …Philadelphia Schools is to provide a high quality education that prepares, ensures, and empowers all students to achieve their full intellectual and social potential in order to become lifelong learners and productive members of society.” The Commission has set several target goals for themselves, teachers, administrators, and staff, which they hope to achieve by June of 2008. These goals include Early Literacy, Academic Achievement, a Safe and Orderly Environment, Community Collaboration, Equity, Efficient and Effective Philadelphia Schools, and improved Support Operations.

Among other efforts, Philadelphia Schools have teamed up with Mayor John F. Street to implement a citywide anti-truancy initiative. The program is designed to ensure that school-aged children and teens are actually present in their Philadelphia Schools, and that their parents are aware of truancy laws. The initiative also intends to assure that parents and students alike are aware that the City, Philadelphia Schools, and the Family Court plan to hold them accountable.

In addition, Philadelphia Schools offer numerous summer programs that both keep kids off the streets, and serve to help students who have fallen behind in their studies. The programs are focused on academic enhancement and enrichment, and are mandatory for any 1st – 8th grader who did not achieve proficiency in a core subject, such as Math or Reading. Eighth graders who need additional help meeting Philadelphia Schools promotion criteria and 12th graders needing additional credits to graduate are eligible.

Mark S. Schweiker, President and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce sums it up by saying, “The reformation of the Philadelphia public schools serves as a model for the entire nation. As the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce touts the advantages of this region to the world, our rapidly improving public school system is an example that Greater Philadelphia is a progressive place to live and raise a family.”

Personal Creative Writing – The Value Of Writing Just For Yourself

When was the last time you wrote creatively just for yourself?

Without any brief or pre-requirements from anyone else, without any word count you had to meet or structure and form you had to adhere to?

Without any restrictions on how you wrote, what you wrote about, why you wrote it and where it lead to?

When was the last time you just wrote for the pure enjoyment of writing?

The reasons you don’t write just for yourself more often are varied. Here are 3 of the most common, and the benefits that show these reasons just don’t stand up:

1. Writing for myself is self-indulgent. This is a common concern, we don’t write just for ourselves because we’re told it’s selfish or self-indulgent. What’s easy to forget, is that time we invest in ourselves reaps benefits far and wide. We not only become more at peace with ourselves, more calm and understand ourselves better, this then radiates out to the people we’re close to and spend most time with. Put simply, if you’re a happier bunny, it’s going to be more enjoyable and pleasurable for all your bunny friends to be around you as well.

2. I don’t have time, I’ve got other writing I need to be doing. You need more articles for your business, more content for your website, and you were supposed to finish your new book weeks ago. By taking the time to write just for yourself, to flow freely and explore whatever comes, it actually unlocks your ability to write. Which makes you a more fluent, prolific writer. Then all those other things you feel you need to be writing will become all the more easy to write and all the more enriched and full in content.

3. What’s the point if there’s no end product I can use? You always feel you need some measurable or tangible product to show for the time you spend writing. Sometimes you can’t measure the benefits of writing by the number of words or pages. In terms of creative writing, it’s often the time you spend trying out new voices, new styles, new structures and new techniques that enhance your writing the most in the long term. Even if you have nothing “concrete” to show for it at the end of that session of writing, the experience gained is invaluable.

Personal creative writing – writing just for yourself – has many benefits, 3 of the main ones you can see above.

So just try something new today. Put aside your concerns about personal creative writing being selfish, or you not having time, or not allowing yourself to write unless you have a strictly defined outcome in mind. And just write…