This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Public School Notebook is joining forces with Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization with a national reach, to launch Chalkbeat Philadelphia just in time for the 2020-21 school year. The website and social media accounts for Chalkbeat Philadelphia will launch on Aug. 17, 2020.
The potential for the two nonprofits to partner started years ago when the Notebook co-founder and former editor Paul Socolar and Chalkbeat’s co-founder and CEO Elizabeth Green began conversing about industry concerns and goals.
“We always saw the potential synergy because our programmatic work is so aligned, and we found ways to be supportive of each other’s work,” says Socolar. “The organizations are working to accomplish similar missions. The timing to partner formally seems right now.”
The two organizations now will collaborate in order to benefit from streamlined roles and administrative overhead, a broader reach, and greater financial stability, with support from the Nonprofit Repositioning Fund (which supports long-term strategic alliances and collaborations in the Philadelphia region to build organizational sustainability and improve program and service delivery). Backing also comes from the William Penn Foundation and the Independence Public Media Foundation, among others.
Longtime Notebook contributor Dale Mezzacappa will continue her work in her new position as the senior reporter for Chalkbeat Philadelphia. Dale is a contributing editor at the Notebook. She has reported on education since 1986, most of that time with The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“For years, the Notebook has provided critical community-focused coverage of the issues facing our public schools and the families they serve,” says Philadelphia City Councilmember Kendra Brooks. “Chalkbeat Philadelphia means that these urgent stories will continue to be told. With this partnership, Philadelphia will continue to benefit from journalism that supports the ongoing struggle for equity and quality in our public schools.”
Chalkbeat is a national, nonprofit news organization committed to covering one of America’s most important stories: the effort to improve schools for all children, especially those who have historically lacked access to high-quality education. Their coverage is rooted in local communities, including Chicago, Detroit, Newark, New York, and now Philadelphia.
The Notebook was founded in 1994 by a group of concerned parents, teachers, and community members committed to improving public education. It has remained an independent journalistic enterprise, with nonprofit status backed by foundation and donor support.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to carry on the legacy of the Notebook,” says Green, Chalkbeat’s CEO. “For over 25 years, the Notebook has had a profound impact on the students, parents, teachers, and administrators in Philadelphia. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue that connection for many years to come.”
Chalkbeat Philadelphia will ensure the Notebook’s mission of delivering high quality, local reporting on the public education community.
“As a public school parent, I relied on the Notebook’s excellent investigative journalism long before I joined the organization,” says Lauren Wiley, Executive Director of the Notebook. “I am excited that this partnership with Chalkbeat will continue our mission to empower and amplify the voices of Philadelphia families, educators, and public school advocates.”
As programmatic efforts of Chalkbeat Philadelphia start in August, Chalkbeat has launched a search for a Philadelphia-based bureau chief to join the team this fall.