Catholic vs. Public school

In honor of St. Cyril’s winning their freedom for at least a year, something my high school (St. James) wasn’t allowed to do, here’s a blog of one of my favorite arguments.

Grade school is probably the single-most important thing in a child’s learning development. Most of the things they learn in the first two grades are with them for the rest of their lives. I want my children to not only learn these things that they will need in life, I also want them to learn intangibles as well: discipline, respect, and a love for learning. I think the best place for my child to learn this is in Catholic school.

I’m sure there are many great public schools around. I’m sure that you think Catholic schools are over-rated, but standardized testing data says otherwise. I just think that when it comes to teacher-student attention and expectations on a student to succeed, Catholic schools just come out on top. As with anything else, where are you going to get better service, from a private company or a state-run company? There’s no question.

My wife, on the other hand, doesn’t see the same need as I do for it. I think her main point is money. She just does not want to make the sacrifice to send our kid(s) to Catholic school. My parents made the sacrifice. They didn’t have a lot of money, but still got a loan to pay for my high school education. They knew how important a Catholic education was in terms of learning and discipline. There are less drugs and fewer teen pregnancies in Catholic schools. Her other point is the whole religion thing. I guess she thinks that the school will turn our kids into mindless drones preaching about God at the dinner table, and telling us how Sister Bethany told them to reject satan. This is just not the case.

Everything I learned in life is somehow connected to my time spent in Catholic school. Would I have to same education in public school? I doubt it. I’m not saying they teach different things, but if I didn’t have the fear of getting in trouble with the nuns for not doing my homework or for fooling around, I probably would not have paid attention as much and learned a lot less. If I didn’t have to memorize 20 vocabulary words a night or have to know every kind of structure for an English sentence, I would probably not have the communication skills I do today. My high school was an all-boys school. I couldn’t imagine if I went to a co-ed public school when I was teen – I would get lost in a girl’s cleavage every day!

I’m sure many disagree with me, and that’s fine. I only know from my own experience. Many people who go to Catholic school can’t stand it, but I think they have instilled values in me that I have to this day. Some people just hate the uniforms, but you realistically have to look past that. I’m not saying that my kids should go to a Catholic high school, but certainly they should go for grades 1-8, then they can decide which high school to go themselves.

St. Cyril’s did it!

EAST LANSDOWNE – The total dollar amount raised by the St. Cyril Save Our School (SOS) Committee will be announced at a special meeting tonight in St. Cyril Parish Social Hall.

The initial target was $200,000 to keep the school open beyond the current school year that ends in June.

We’ve raised over $200,000. I expect there shouldn’t be any problem,” St. Cyril Pastor Father Edward T. Kearns said on Monday.

SOS Committee President Jim Gray will announce the grand total.

The committee was formed after the results of a self-study of schools in Cluster 63, of which St. Cyril is a part, showed the school had a deficit of $200,000 for the current year. Closing in June was recommended unless the funds could be raised. Fund-raising efforts got a boost from sixth grade student Tommy Geromichalos who wrote a letter to the Make-A-Wish Foundation expressing his heartfelt with that the school be kept open long enough for him to graduate from eighth grade.

Since the first committee meting on Jan. 25 parents, teachers and students have worked intensively to raise $200,000.

“It’s been hectic but it’s been great,” Father Kearns said. “People are really rallying around this cause. They definitely want to keep this school open as long as they can. It’s been great because everybody’s been on the same page.”

If paperwork is completed by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in time for the Wednesday meeting Father Kearns will be able to announce the school will stay open another year. In any event he expects the announcement to come within the week. But the work won’t end there. “We’re looking forward to next year. We’re looking at long term funding to keep the school open,” he said.

The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the parish social hall, 153 Penn Blvd. in East Lansdowne.

Hello

Hi,
My name is Joe Ward. (no relationship to Franny) I simply responded to Franny’s request for guest bloggers.
I am a lifelong registered Republican who leans left on most social issues. I live in Aston, PA and am absolutely convinced that this country is headed in the wrong direction.
I plan to bring you items that will support that position, and hopefully get some of my fellow Delaware County residents as pissed off as I am becoming.
Seeya around
~J

Murdered For Mooning

This story both amazes me and makes me furious. To think that two kids could actually do something so devoid of respect for human life makes me take a real hard look at how our children are being conditioned by the media. Too much MTV, gangsta’ rap crap, video games, and broken homes are robbing a whole generation of America’s youth. Drugs only add additional fuel to their already numb about life minds.

According to Upper Darby’s Top Cop Michael Chitwood, these scumbags chased the man down like hunting wild boar and both hit him with a shovel and stabbed him in various parts of his body, including his buttocks, because he “Mooned” them! Then they had the audacity to brag about it?

Sick son’s of Bitches they both are. The one suspect, Christopher McEneaney, has actually been in my home a few years ago, when him and my older son were “hanging out”. They became enemies after some sort of dispute at Clifton Field, thank God for that.

So what will become of this? The duo are now in “The Meadows”, along with the adults. No Lima for them. The family of the victim, Martin Malone, are heartbroken as anyone in their situation would be. Read the article and draw your own conclusions.

I already have.

Blog Contributors Needed

To our existing contributors: How about posting something? I cannot stand seeing only my own posts here, as they make this blog look way too one sided. I know that a few of you have never posted here yet. Maybe you do not know how, or don’t care to.(In that case please let me know, so I can remove you.) I feel that with a big election coming up here in November bloggers on both sides of the issues at hand should be able to post their thoughts.

To our readers: If your serious about being a contributor to this blog, please e-mail me and I’ll send you an invitation from Blogger. When you receive it, please follow the instructions.

Cheers.

Cheney: Right Again? Sound Off On This!

Quote from today’s Daily Times Sound Off by an either some person who listens too much to Fox News, or the Big Talker, or just a person in the 3rd stage of senility.

“Dick Cheney says there is no civil war going on in Iraq. What we see now is
a last desperate attempt by terrorists to ferment unrest in that area of the
world. With Dick Cheney’s track record, just let me place full faith in anything
he says. I agree 100 percent with Mr.Cheney and I feel anyone who disagrees
with him is unpatriotic. If anyone disagrees, I’d be happy to hear from him or
her.”

Oh really? Well, I’m here and I as a TRUE Republican or better yet AN AMERICAN, think your a MORON! Dickhead Cheney? Mr deferred stock options over ten years with Halliburton, who in turn has made zillions of America’s working stiff’s tax dollars while providing shit for what they were hired for? You heard it from me, right here.

P.S. Your probably too stupid to know how to use a computer.

What Has America Become?


One must ask him or herself this, especially with the elections coming up in November.

Commonwealth:

The original phrase “common wealth” or “the common weal” is a calque translation of the Latin term res publica (“public matters”), from which the word republic comes, which was itself used as a synonym for the greek politeia as well as for the republican (i.e. non-monarchical) Roman constitution (in legal theory still in force during the empire).
The English noun Commonwealth dates originally from the fifteenth century and in different contexts indicates:

A political unit founded in law by agreement of the people for the common good,
A federated union of constituent states,
A republic,
A co-operative commonwealth is the ideal of a society based on cooperative and socialist principles.

Historical Commonwealths

Great Britain: The Commonwealth of England was the official name of the political unit (de facto military rule in the name of parliamentary supremacy) that replaced the kingdoms of Scotland and England under the rule of Oliver Cromwell and his successors from 1649 to 1660. It formed the first republic in the English-speaking world, though this quickly devolved into a pseudo-monarchy.

Australia: Australia uses the official style: The Commonwealth of Australia. Since the six Australian ex-colonies federated to form one dominion called the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.

United States: Four states in the United States officially designate themselves “commonwealths:” Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. These states use the term “commonwealth” to emphasize that they have a “government based on the common consent of the people,” instead of a government legitimized through their earlier Royal Colony status that was derived from the King of England.

More….

After reading the above pages I thought it pertaint to post. Locally, and across the state, our current government has wasted tax dollars by either overspending or underspending, never getting it right. The other day in the Daily times, I read where Curt Weldon has raised four billion for the firefighters accross America. A worthy cause indeed. But at the same time, American troops are being exposed to poisionous, non treated water from the Tigris River by none other than Halliburton. To me, there is no Dem or Pub, only 100% do the right thing for US, America, WE The People…

So what is it? Who are we? Who do we trust to run the country? Body armor not being supplied to American Troops that have just been told that “They are not going home anytime soon”? DU rounds polluting the entire globe, including right here in Delaware County? Deficit reaching nine TRILLION? Gasoline looking at God knows what a gallon this summer? Too many questions that will never be addressed until it’s too late.

Note to self: I must just start watching fox news and turn off the puter’.
You know, duck and cover, or duck and cower. Whatever…

School thrives on innovation

School thrives on innovation

View a slideshow on Upper Darby High School

By Dan Hardy
Inquirer Staff Writer

Sarah Seilus was in trouble.

As one of 1,200 freshmen in Upper Darby High School, she felt lost and unhappy. “I never felt like going to school,” she said recently. She missed dozens of days, falling further and further behind, and flunked ninth grade.

Seilus was rescued last fall by a new program, Transition Ninth. Instead of repeating ninth grade, as she would have had to do at most schools, she and 102 other students were enrolled in special classes. The goal: passing the failed courses to catch up as quickly as possible to their classmates and, in the process, reconnecting them to their school.

So far, it has worked. Seilus, who said she would have dropped out if she were not in the program, attends school more frequently and is getting passing grades. “We’re closer with our teachers; they’re so much more understanding,” she said. “This year, it’s different.”

Because it has instituted many innovative programs such as Transition Ninth, Upper Darby, the second-largest high school in Pennsylvania, with 4,000 students, has become a laboratory for change.

Upper Darby is “a model for taking high school reform seriously and addressing it with great dedication,” said Sheila Rosenblum, a Philadelphia-based consultant who is monitoring how the district is spending a $500,000 federal school-improvement grant that was awarded in 2003.

“They haven’t solved all the problems, but they haven’t shirked them, either.”

Hugging the frontier between Philadelphia and Delaware County, the Upper Darby district is one of the most diverse in Pennsylvania. For decades, families from dozens of nationalities and ethnic groups looking for high-quality schools have moved there from the city, or from other countries.

Since the mid-1990s, large numbers of African Americans, along with the children of Asian, South Asian and African immigrants, have swelled district rolls.

The high school struggles to serve a student population that is more typical of large urban schools. School halls echo with more than 30 languages. About a third of the students are poor.

“When you walk in through the front door, it’s like a little city – you can find people from everywhere and learn from them,” said Marcia Dorley, 18, who lived in Liberia until she was in seventh grade.

Many students thrive. Jumah Taweh, whose family fled the turmoil in Liberia, moved first to Philadelphia, then to Upper Darby when she was in fifth grade. A senior, she plans to attend Pennsylvania State University’s Berks campus this fall; she wants to be a pediatrician. The high school, she said, is “just like a big family; you can depend that they will be there to support you.”

A very big family, indeed. At the high school, a nondescript 1970s-era, four-story brick building, everything is plus-size. There are 157 classrooms and two gymnasiums. The auditorium seats 1,700; the lunchroom seats about 1,000. An outdoor stadium is the only place big enough to fit everybody.

The size can be daunting, students say. When Victor Adu-Bohene, now a senior, came to the school in 2004 from Ghana, “the first time, when the bell rang and I stepped into the hallway, I was totally lost,” he said. “I had a schedule sheet in my hand, but I didn’t know where to go.”

Still, halls and classrooms are clean, safe and orderly. The many nationalities appear to be largely at peace with each other. “Kids in this school are used to seeing people of color and different ethnicities,” said principal Geoff Kramer. “There doesn’t seem to be much tension.”

There are no metal detectors. Only a handful of students are seen in corridors during classes, and they have passes. The security staff of nine patrols the halls with help from teachers and administrators. Students who fight are taken to District Court, fined, and often enrolled in antiviolence and community-service programs. “It’s under control. I feel safe here,” Dorley said.

Last year, the school reported 32 incidents, including assaults on one student and 11 staff members; the year before, 25 incidents were reported, with assaults on four students and eight staff members.

“For a school that size, with that diverse a population, I don’t think there are a lot of incidents,” said Capt. Michael Kenny of the Upper Darby Police Patrol Division.

Administrators keep close watch. It’s not uncommon to find them at the Exxon station down the street if a fight is rumored, Kramer said. “We go the extra half-mile to make sure that our kids behave themselves,” he said.

Academically, the school struggles. It is on Pennsylvania’s No Child Left Behind list of schools that need to improve. White and Asian students score close to or higher than the state benchmark of 45 percent proficiency in math and 54 percent in reading. But blacks lag, at about 30 percent in reading and about 21 percent in math.

Close to 4 percent of seniors drop out, a higher rate than in most suburban districts but lower than most Philadelphia schools.

There are good reasons why performance lags, Kramer said. Last school year, 13 percent of students transferred in. Most came from Philadelphia, several dozen from foreign countries.

Many read at a second-grade level. “We’ve got kids who are just not prepared to do what our teachers are asking them to do,” said former social studies teacher Colleen Shoemaker, who now trains teachers in new techniques.

As the largest high school in the region, Upper Darby also has a size problem. Many experts advocate smaller high schools of no more than 800 students, especially in urban areas. That’s smaller than Upper Darby’s freshman class. But, with a tax rate that’s already high because there is little commercial development, Upper Darby can’t afford to build smaller schools, Kramer said.

The school’s size has a benefit. It enables the school to offer an unusually broad range of courses. A child-care course has students working with preschoolers in a suite inside the school; there are cosmetology courses and a horticultural program, complete with a greenhouse. There is even a student-run credit union.

“They work very hard to have all of the kids take advantage of their offerings, and the breadth of their offerings is remarkable,” said Mary Helen Spiri, director of the Chesapeake Coalition of Essential Schools, a high school reform group working with the district.

The school also has a reputation for innovation. It was among the first in the area to initiate 80-minute block scheduling and to mandate four years of English, math, social studies and science.
Spiri credits the school’s 260 teachers and other professionals. “Their strength is the quality of their people,” she said.

Indeed, music teacher Barbara Benglian in September was named Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year.

Helped by federal and state grants totaling $600,000, school officials have instituted new programs in the last few years that they hope will soon pay off.

In 2003, the school turned the ninth grade into a “freshman academy.” The class is divided into four teams; their teachers also work in teams, and most get time to consult with one another about student progress. Instruction time for English and math was doubled, and struggling students get junior and senior tutors.

Results are encouraging: The percentage of freshmen who were held back last school year dropped from 13 percent to 9 percent. And this year, the Transition Ninth program that Seilus is in promises more success. Without it, said teacher Tara Liberatore, students “would have felt foolish if they had been back with this year’s freshmen, and they probably would have slipped through the cracks and stopped coming to school.”

Students are responding to the changes. Nina Dixon missed two months of ninth grade last spring when she moved to New York but didn’t enroll in a high school there. Starting last fall, she was able to catch up with her peers through the Transition Ninth program and is taking mostly 10th-grade classes this semester. She is thankful for the second chance. “Here, they care about your education,” she said.

Upper Darby High by the Numbers

Location: 601 N. Lansdowne Ave.,
Upper Darby Township

Enrollment… 4,037

2005-06 freshman class… 1,100

Professional staff… 260

Percentage of studentsfrom low-income families… 33

Percentage of students taking the SAT

2005… 66

2001… 70

Class of 2005, plans after graduation, in percentage

Four-year college or university… 47

Two-year school… 33

Technical/trade school… 6

Workforce… 8

Military… 1

Ethnic makeup, in percentage

White… 53

Asian… 11.5

African American… 33.5

Latino… 2

SOURCES: Upper Darby School District, Inquirer Report Card

Google AdSense – A way to retire?

I have been playing around with this now since the fall of last year and have yet to master it. I have read that some people have made over 100 K in 6 months adding their codes to web sites. I personally am at a loss as to how to try and master this. I’ve put their code on both here, Our Forums and on the Index pages, with limited results.

The google adsense code is supposed to read your content, then add relavant ads. I’m betting that they cannot keep up. Here is the “Green Taffy” code, and I’ll add some “Adwords” about photography.

“I took a picture of some flowers down at Darby creek In Drexel Hill. I used my Cannon AE-1 and used an F-stop of whatever. My film was ASA 400 Kodak brand.”

Now, look above and to the right of this post and tell me what you see. Do you see Camera ads? Or Real Estate ads? To me this is way beyond my coding experience, but to Google, it has made them BILLIONS..

P.S. If your local and want to add your business web site to this site (For Free), just click here and fill in your information.

And while your at it, click on every google ad you see. I need a vacation this summer.
Better yet, just call us if you need any electrical work done and live in Delco or the surrounding areas.

Liz Electric Inc.

A wish nearly fulfilled at St. Cyril’s

News of Delaware County

EAST LANSDOWNE – The Save Our School (SOS) Committee at Saint Cyril in East Lansdowne is coming down to the wire on the deadline to raise $200,000 to keep the school open next year, but fund-raising efforts are still going full steam ahead.

“Everyone’s overwhelmed at how successful this has been,” Joanne Leonard, a parishioner and committee member said on Monday. “It rekindles your belief in mankind.”

The committee was formed after the pastor, Father Kearns, said it would take $200,000 by the end of March to keep the school open another year. Sixth -grade student Tommy Geromichalos, who suffers from cystic fibrosis, energized them. Geromichalos wrote a letter to the Make A Wish Foundation asking them to keep the school open.

To date $150,000 has been raised. That doesn’t include funds that are being tallied from a pizza sale conducted by the parish CYO.

Volunteers will spread out over the county this weekend to sell chances on a Dodge Neon that was donated for the fund drive by David Dodge of Glen Mills. Leonard, who formerly worked for the owner David Kelleher, contacted him and asked for a donation to the SOS committee.

“He and his wife just had a little baby,” Leonard said. “He appreciated the fact he was healthy. He knew with his wife’s pregnancy how you worry about every little thing. You worry that the baby will be healthy.”

In addition Kelleher had the raffle tickets printed up for free and is buying a raffle ticket for everybody who buys a car from the dealership. Volunteers will show the car and sell tickets at the Granite Run Mall from 10 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. on Saturday.

They also will be visiting three local parishes to sell the tickets after Saturday and Sunday masses. They will be at Notre Dame Church in Moylan, St. Madeline in Ridley Park and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Morton.

Word of the fund drive has spread far beyond the parish borders. “Catholic school children heard about our school and they’ve taken up collections to help our school children. Our principal Sister Barbara received checks for $165 and $190 from the school children’s collections,” Leonard said.

“It’s amazing. We were in the St. Patty’s Day Parade in Philly. We were out allowed to walk alongside the car and hand out letters that explained it. One man from Atlantic City said, ‘oh, I read this in the Atlantic City Press. He knew the whole story. So many people when they saw the car said right way they knew about us.”

Tax-deductible donations to the Save Saint Cyril School Fund can be sent to P. O. Box 1094, Lansdowne, PA 19050. Additional information can be found on St. Cyril’s Website http://www.saintcyril.org.

“When we come down to the end of March we’ll have father give us the official word. We still have other fundraisers planned,” she said.