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The Philadelphia Association of School Administrators and city school officials have unveiled joint recommendations that address a number of issues that have bitterly divided the district and the principals' group over the past several years.

The recommended changes include revising the district's pay scales for administra6tors; paying small bonuses to principals who exceed an established set of goals; creating a fund to pay for a wide range of professional-development activities; and giving principals more flexibility and support in running their schools, according to Daniel J. McGinley, president of pasa.

The agreement, worked out over the past year and presented to the city's school board last month, appears to signal a sharp turnaround in what has been a hostile relationship between the district and the administrators' group.

To gain some leverage in its dispute with the district, pasa voted in the fall of 1986 to affiliate with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Pasa members were to have voted on the recommendations late last week. The school board probably will not take formal action on the proposals until early this summer, a district spokesman said.

Contract With School Custodians

Criticized in N.Y.C. Report

New York City's school custodians are paid more than twice the salaries of custoin other large school districts, yet in many cases their "duties are limited to a level that does not meet minimum health and safety standards," a school watchdog agency has charged in a new report.

The report comes as negotiations continue between the city's board of education and the custodians' union over a new contract. Both the condition of the schools and the provisions of the current contract with the custodians have been the target of sharp criticism in recent months from a variety of public figures, including Gov. Mario M. Cuomo.

Under the current contract, school custodians are independent contractors who hire additional employees and purchase tools and equipment that they then own. Under certain limitations, they also budget their own salaries, which in some cases exceed $70,000 and could reach as high as $100,000, according to the report.

The custodians' salaries, which include "exorbitant" fees for opening schools on evenings and weekends, are more than twice as high as the salaries of custodians in 10 other urban school districts, says the Educational Priorities Panel.

They also earn considerably more than custodians in New York City's private schools and cleaning services, the group's report charges.

It also criticizes the board of education, saying it has "walked away from many of the management prerogatives contained in the current contract, and has consistently accepted expensive agreements with the custodial union that demand very little in return."

The group proposes that the board expand its use of private cleaning services; that all custodial employees be made board employees, which would prevent them from striking; that the board create and enforce minimum standards for the conditions of its buildings; and that school principals be granted authority over their custodians.

Chicago Parents End Protest

Over School's Demotion Policy

Parents who pulled their children out of an academically troubled Chicago school to protest the demotion of 250 students have ended their boycott after reaching a compromise with administrators.

Grace Dawson, principal of the Beethoven Elementary School, said she demoted the students to lower grades in midyear because they had received failing marks in reading and scored at least two years below grade level on standardized tests. She had urged parents to schedule conferences to discuss their children's school problems, she said.

After the demotion notices were sent out, parents staged a three-day boycott involving half of the school's 840 students.

The district's superintendent, Manford Byrd, agreed to reinstate the demoted students to their previous grade level if parents made that request and if they also consented to consult with the principal and their children's teachers to plan a remediation strategy.

Boston's Extended-Day Program

Highly Rated in Pilot Study

A pilot extended-day program for at-risk middle-school students in Boston has raised participants' achievement levels, an analysis by the school district has found.

The analysis, which examined the program's first year, also found that teachers and parents generally rated it highly.

Known as Project Promise, the program offers 90 additional minutes of instruction each day and three hours on Saturday, for 1,073 students in three of the city's 22 middle schools. It was begun in the 1986-87 school year.

Superintendent of Schools Laval S. Wilson has proposed extending the program to all Boston middle schools. He called the study's results "a highly encouraging start."

The study compared the achievement levels in reading, writing, and mathematics of 33 groups of students, some of whom participated in Project Promise and some of whom did not.

In 23 of the groups, Project Promise students made more progress than their nonproject peers; in 8 groups, project participants did not do as well; and in 2 groups, the two types of students performed equally well.

In addition, 86 percent of participating teachers rated Project Promise "effective" or "highly effective"; a similar proportion said it had improved their teaching. Two-thirds of parents surveyed said they would like their children to be in the program again.

A 13-year-old student at Pender County (N.C.) High School has beencharged in the stabbing death of a 17-year-old senior at school, according to local police.

Gloria Woods was stabbed with a pocketknife Feb. 23 while students were changing classes, police in Burgaw, N.C., said.

The senior was walking from the main classroom building toward the school's band building when she apparently confronted the younger girl.

As the older student turned to leave, she was shoved, police said, and when she turned around, she was stabbed in the neck.

The dispute had apparently begun on a school bus several days earlier, when the senior teased the younger student, police said.

Reversing its total ban on smoking in schools, the Pawtucket (R.I.) school committee voted to allow teachers to smoke in specially designated areas of school buildings.

Last spring, the Pawtucket Teachers Alliance filed a grievance against the district after the school committee voted to ban smoking entirely.

The new regulations will allow one room with smoke absorbers and a special ventilation system to be set aside in each building for smokers.

Vol. 07, Issue 24

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