Founder Leaving Philly School Newspaper The Notebook

Paul Socolar is leaving The Notebook, the newspaper that chronicles the Philadelphia school district. He has been the editor of it since 1999.

Paul Socolar, the editor/publisher of Philadelphia school publication The Notebook, is leaving the publication. A transition committee has been formed to find his successor.

It might be hard for those without a child in the Philadelphia school district to understand how great The Notebook is. In a time of dwindling budgets in newspapers, The Notebook does an excellent job covering Philadelphia schools. It is thorough — and a great advocate for Philadelphia schools.

Socolar became the first full-time editor of The Notebook in 1999.

The paper writes:

“Paul has been almost a singular force in advancing the discussion of public school issues in Philadelphia,” said Harold Jordan, chair of the Notebook’s board of directors. At the same time, said Jordan, “what has made the Notebook successful is that there is a shared vision, there is a community of people who have kept the Notebook on track and helped it grow.”

Socolar and Jordan said that this year the organization is focused on some other significant changes as well, including a long-awaited redesign of the website and an increased presence on social media, both aimed at expanding the Notebook’s parent audience. Ongoing newsroom projects include a focus on mental health issues and trauma-informed practices in schools, the continuing funding challenges facing city schools, and the recently launched citywide READ! by 4th literacy initiative.

“We’re also working hard on ensuring the Notebook’s sustainability by growing our membership,” Socolar said. The Notebook launched a membership program in 2009. “Our audience is in the tens of thousands, so our membership should be more like 6,000 rather than 600. We can do a better job of communicating that the Notebook is a nonprofit that cannot exist without financial support from its readers — like public broadcasting stations.”

The paper hopes to have a new leader in charge by the start of the 2015-16 school year.