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Renaissance Schools list announced

By the Notebook on Jan 27, 2010 03:52 PM

The District just released the 14 "Renaissance Eligible Schools" and the 12 "Alert Schools" for 2010-11. The Notebook has published a FAQ about the Renaissance Schools, as has the District.

UPDATE: Each school name now links to a fact sheet with its School Performance Index data.

The Renaissance Eligible Schools are:

The Alert Schools are:

Schools were scored and ranked based on the School Performance Index, which incorporated indicators including PSSA scores, post-secondary readiness, and satisfaction and engagement. The schools were also compared to other similar schools.

Twenty-six schools received a score of 10 on the SPI, the lowest possible score. The 14 schools that are also currently Empowerment Schools were selected as Renaissance Eligible Schools. The remaining 12 schools are Alert Schools and will "receive resources and supports of the Empowerment program."

If you're a parent, teacher, or school staffer who is at one of the listed schools and would be willing to share your reaction, please contact us.

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Comments (47)

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 3:24 pm

I cannot believe it; twelve years of my life devoted to the School District of Philadelphia and now I have to look for another job. The district is going to lose some GREAT teachers!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2010 4:33 pm

My union has abandoned hundreds if not thousands of PFT members in the acceptance of the lastest contract. Call it being Judased, thrown under the bus, abandoned, sold out. It's all the same. Ackerman busted what remained of our union after we were ordered not to strike by the state legislature. The latest contract also throws out building seniority. PFT union leadership should be recalled for selling out its members and lying down to administration. Shame on the PFT, shame on Mayor Nutter, shame on Govornor Rendell.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 1, 2010 4:20 pm

Another person creating hysteria. The union hasn't abandoned us. It read the laws on the books - NCLB, RttT and Act 46 that allow schools to be reconstituted, charterized and privatized and the staffs fired -- and did what it had to to protect us. The handful and there's only a handful of Renaissance schools will never fill all their positions in site selection and neither will the 'empowerment' schools. teachers will be able to interview for a site-select school if they choose and will be able to use the seniority-based transfer system to choose from vacant positions after site selection is done. and teachers leaving the Ren-schools will take their seniority with them. So how is the PFT selling out and relinquishing seniority? if the PFT had sold out, we'd all be working longer hours every day, summer school and have our benefits cut or pay a big portion of the premiums - like most Americans.
Get real. With the economy and climate in this country, we did pretty well.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 29, 2010 10:00 am

that would imply that the district HAS some great teachers.

Submitted by Another West supporter (not verified) on January 30, 2010 12:36 pm

What makes you think that there aren't great teachers in the district?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 12, 2010 7:45 pm

I am in complete agreement with you! People put their hearts and souls into THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB IN THE WORLD and are treated with disrespect.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 3:00 pm

So what happens to these teachers? A minimum of half the staff is going to be replaced? Where will they go? Do they have a guarantee of a position somewhere else if they are unable to be selected by another school during the site-selection process? I have a feeling there are going to be some angry students next year when they arrive in September to find over half of the staff that knew them, that cared about them, GONE! This is not good.

Submitted by Erika Owens (not verified) on January 28, 2010 10:20 am

Some of your questions are answered in FAQs for Renaissance Schools staff from the District. The FAQ says, "The District is guaranteeing that all teachers affected by the Renaissance School process will have employment."

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 10, 2010 5:14 pm

Is it true that Ms. Ackerman has a vested interest in a company that supplies to or makes money from Renaissance schools in this city and other cities, or is that a rumor?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 31, 2010 8:27 pm

It's true. Her friends and colleagues are SRA and they are using the materials, which were created for special education students, in high schools for a vast majority of 9th grade students who have been idenitified as having decoding and reading issues. So my question is, if 12,000 students cannot read and/or decode on a third grade level-- how did they make it out of elementary and middle schools? Obviously, this speaks to the quality of education happening in the classrooms, which are led by teachers. No matter what is happening or not happening at home, a child should at the very least learn vowel and consonant sounds. I won't even talk about writing...so many students don't even know how to write, let alone properly sign (translation=cursive) their full names. The problems are very rationalized and institutionalized in the SDP. Most teachers just want their money and to be able to leave as soon as the bell rings!!

Submitted by ListeningandLearning (not verified) on February 1, 2010 4:11 pm

No one loses a job -- no one.
Everyone keeps his/her seniority.
Forced transfers get to interview for site select schools or use the seniorty transfer/assignment process and pick a school.
And when have there been too many teachers for all the vacancies in the district? I've been here more than 10 years and there's always vacancies. I agree about the kids being angry about losint their teachers but guess what, the district could have emptied these buildings since the state takeover in 2001. i remember going to a rally to stop privatizing management at 45 schools back then and PFT staff and leadership were there marching on SD HQ, but hardly any members. it's the PFT that's kept all these jobs from being outsources as low-paying charter jobs.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 4:26 pm

Number one people who are not happy need to get organized. There is a website that is starting to organize people through phillyteachertalks.blogspot.com. Secondly, has any questioned the fact how it was never mentioned at our union meeting how some of these schools will not be district schools at all. Today for the first time it mentioned how some will be Charter Schools, and will not have School District Emplyees. Charter Scools don't have to hire highly qualified candidates and actually don't even have to hire certified teachers. This is obvious Union Busting and not in anyones best interest to have a lot of new, possibly unqualified teachers at these schools.

Also, Why has the staff at 440 not been forced to eliminate half of their positions and rehire new people. To assume that everyone at the District's Headquarters is doing their job is ridiculous. Teachers are being thrown under the bus, there are a lot more factors involved in these poor performing schools. No one is willing to address that though. How many people at 440 would be happy if only half of the staff could work there next year because the District as a whole isn't achieving success. Let's start these discussions.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 6:06 pm

Charters schools might actually have some Philadelphia Public School teachers, ones that got fired are often snatched right up in a heartbeat by the low wage, high task charter operators. In the end Philly is going to get what it pays for and then some.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 26, 2010 5:10 pm

don't care how bad it gets, will never go to a charter school again! Been there, done that!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 4:05 pm

Maybe it's the principal and administrators, not the teachers, who should be recycled.
Just ask the teachers the problems they have with prinicipals and administrators that
never come to the classrooms to find out what problems teachers are having or what the
teachers would like to do to improve the atmosphere, especially with constant teaching
(for the NCLB which should be dropped) to the tests, where's the time to actually teach
and inspire the children to learn.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 10:27 pm

EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We ARE professionals but are treated like assembly workers with no freedom to teach or use our own thinking and learning that we have gleaned at college and in the classroom. The high pressure and bullying atmosphere and fear based treatment from principals and downtown administration squashes our intellect and our opportunity to reach students at THEIR level, not the level they are "SUPPOSED" to be at. Our fears to keep our jobs keep us divided and we are forced to push the curriculum on time for fear of constantly being harassed with "write ups" and other negativity. Why don't teachers have a say in how to support and reach students? Why are we not asked for input rather than threatened and berated? I know if given the respect and voice we deserve teachers could improve student learning, and I'm not referring to PSSA scores that only serve to separate students from different socioeconomic statuses that most certainly divide students into groups who know and do not know the "right information". Teachers are not to be blamed for the divisions in our society. Why is administration afraid to recognize this simple truth. Teachers need support and respect and a chance to help make changes. But we are not given what we deserve and we will continue to be undermined because while we are busy concentrating on helping students adminstration strategizes how to dodge and dump all accountability on us. Organize people! And keep the faith, we must be united. www.philyteachertalks.blogspot.com

Submitted by Jim Hardy (not verified) on January 27, 2010 4:01 pm

The Teacher Action Group is organizing a response to the renaissance schools. We're producing a statement about it for city-wide distribution tomorrow. The statement will educate teachers about what's happening and propose a direction forward.

If you are interested in joining our efforts to organize, please email tagphilly@gmail.com and we'll put you on our listserv. If you want to be a part of planning our message and strategy, let us know.

A large gathering to fully mobilize concerned teachers is in the works to be followed by a wide range of tactics to accomplish our goals.

Email us and stay tuned!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 4:47 pm

COME NEXT UNION ELECTION, EVERY TEACHER NEEDS TO REMEMBER WHAT OUR UNION DID TO US "BY SELLING US OUT" WHEN YOU RECEIVE A BALLOT YOU NEED TO VOTE FOR THE INDEPENDENT TEAM!!!!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 5:59 pm

Please make the statements on the news (television) and in the newspapers. This way, our union who sold us out can see just exactly what this is going to do to our schools. I hate to say it, but all teachers may have to do things like a 1 day protest downtown during school hours. All teachers call out sick then rally downtown and have a big turnout.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 5:35 pm

Frustrated folks, please help me organize to protest what is happening. Teachers and students need a say in this. Our voice hasn't been heard. Yes some schools need a change but clearing out most of the staff is not the answer. These folks don't care about those relationships. This plan doesn't acknowledge the tens of thousands of hours of hard work, thousands of dollars spent, or tears shed for by teachers who care deeply for there students. Organize with me at www.philyteachertalks.blogspot.com

Submitted by Steve Honeyman (not verified) on January 27, 2010 5:02 pm

Okay, these schools desperately need education reform. But, what kind of reform
will they get? If the District is serious about improving education, a year of planning
is necessary. This seems like the usual "rush to demonstrate" you are addressing
a very serious problem!

So, let's say they choose the schools by March and then do some sort of bidding
process to accept management proposals. Then the new school leadership will
have about three months to prepare for the Fall. This is ridiculous and has been tried before and failed before...Please learn from history and make the children
and teachers the priority not politcs.

Submitted by Erika Owens (not verified) on January 27, 2010 5:13 pm

We'll have a story about the past reforms in the February edition of the paper, which comes out next week. I'm curious to see how the next few years of this Renaissance Schools process play out--will schools in the 2011-12 cohort get more planning time? Will they incorporate things they learn along the way and from those past proposals?  Hope so!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 6:58 pm

Hi Erika!
When you mention it will be out in the papers, I hope you mean the Inquirer or Daily News because then everyone in this city will be able to see what is going on. I am afraid if you just put it in the Public School Notebook Paper, then only teachers will see it----Thanks!!

Submitted by Erika Owens (not verified) on January 28, 2010 10:45 am

We'd love to see other papers reporting on the history of turnaround--including Metro, which boasts the biggest daily circulation in the region--but don't fear, we distribute 60,000 copies of the Notebook. Teachers are many of our loyal readers, but by no means the only ones!

Submitted by Coolmama (not verified) on February 1, 2010 4:12 pm

of course this will fail -- just like keystone schools in 1996 and more than half the charter schools and of course the privately managed district schools - several of which are now renaissance schools. it's not about kids or teachers. it's about money and contracts given out by the src, the pa dept of ed and all the other crooks running things. if they cared about kids, they would have a marshall plan for schools with smaller classes, safer schools and better staffing, training and support for teachers and staff. this is another attempt to 'fix' schools on the cheap! ackerman gets a big performance bonus after year three. bet she's gone by then. meanwhile we got raises, benefits, seniority and our jobs. i can wait her out.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 6:29 pm

Ok now that the schools have been selection let's get in there and hold every ADULT ACCOUNTABLE. And this is not for ALL teachers but some have not been doing their jobs in years. So different measures have to be taken.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 6:51 pm

Which adults are you talking about? The parents who can't be bothered to teach their kids right from wrong or work on homework with them? How will you hold them accountable? Administrators? None of them can even get fired even when they are caught stealing from the taxpayers. Have any ever been brought up on charges of harassing their staffs? The PFT has to be dragged kicking and screaming into the office to defend their own teachers so principals see teachers as easy targets for harassment. Do you think charter operators will not keep trying to milk the system for all it's worth? What are a few scandals to them? Pay off the right officials and they look the other way.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 6:57 pm

Check out the Jan. 17th Chicago Tribune piece on Renaissance Schools. After 6 years all the Renaissance Schools have to show are scores that either match the public school ones or fall below them. This is what Ackerman is basing her plan on and it's failing miserably. How far do you have to walk down a deadend street before you know it's going nowhere.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 6:21 pm

GO TO http://i-team-pft.wikispaces.com/ and TELL THE TEAM WHO WILL RUN AND WIN AGAINST JERRY JORDAN"S CB TEAM YOUR CONCERNS

REMEMBER.....VOTE INDEPENDENT TEAM!!!!!!

Submitted by Mr. Boyle (not verified) on January 27, 2010 7:55 pm

First reaction is, Saliyah Cruz gets reassigned. Really. We want people this good at their job to not finish what they started. I certainly hope she is okay with this decision. I skimmed through this document previously, http://www.phila.k12.pa.us/renaissance-school/renaissance-schools-commun..., and wondered how well aligned the process is with the concerns. When I asked Michael Silverman (CEO High School Region) last spring at a Imagine 2014 community meeting what the district would do to prevent the appearance of the district selecting the schools it wanted to, he told me this would be a transparent process. Ask any person in Philadelphia tomorrow what they can tell you about their local school's SPI report and I doubt you'll get much informed feedback. Under our current structure the SDP is a top-down decision model. Teachers will never get to make all of the decisions we would like to. I personally don't like this plan but its also not my decision to make. Regardless of whether you are in favor of or against the Renaissance Schools, I think many people could agree there have been flaws in this process that needn't of occurred.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 8:37 pm

Yeah, like Ackerman had the list of 76 schools in the beginning of December, the PFT knew about it and kept it hush-hush until after the vote. Word is, is that neither the PFT nor Ackerman wanted it to leak in fear of teachers turning the contract down. Soon it will be time for re-elections again to vote for who you want to represent us---Either Jordan (who sold us out) or THE INDEPENDENT TEAM aka the I-TEAM. GO TO: http://www.facebook.com/I.Team.PFT OR http://i-team-pft.wikispaces.com/

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 27, 2010 10:07 pm

As a locAl real estate agent I pose the question.....is the district offering up some of their schools to collect on the PRIME real estate that they own? Temple u(dunbar,Meade)Penn(Wilson) ect..
I can tell you many are investor/contrator dreams!) $$$$

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2010 8:03 am

I don't believe the district owns anything...it is now controlled by the Commonwealth through the SRC...contact the SRC...they are the ones who are making the decisions...

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on January 28, 2010 10:19 am

Nobody has said anything about the kids who attend these failing schools. Something has to be done. It is very difficult to pinpoint what causes a school to fail since the problems are complex. The truth is that school administrators, community members, district personnel, teachers... all share some of the blame. It is human nature to protect ones own interests and this is why things never change. All parties involved need to stand up, admit their part in the mess, and do whats best for the kids, which is not leaving things as they are, nor is mobilizing with no goal in mind but to grind this process to a halt.

Submitted by West Philly High supporter (not verified) on January 30, 2010 9:41 am

West Philly High does not belong on this list. We're only there because our principal put us there. Admittedly, we still have a long way to go to make all the changes necessary to bring it to the level of excellence we should expect from all of our Philadelphia public schools. But we are on the path to getting there. A mere five months (five months!!!) after implementing our new strategic plan, the improvements are as dramatic as they are tangible. I urge anyone who doubts this, who thinks that West is it’s same old run-down self, to walk through our building on any given school day. The energy, the creativity, and most of all, the community within our school are all palpable. The transformation we are currently undergoing will take more than five months, though. Our school community needs an administration that is willing to give us the time and support we need to make this transformation complete. We do not need an administration that pulls the rug out from under us just as change is afoot.

Submitted by anonymous (not verified) on January 30, 2010 2:10 pm

You've piqued my curiosity. What do you mean, your principal "put" West on the list? How so? Do you mean she wants the school on the list?

I've read and heard good things about West lately. I don't have firsthand experience with the school but I was surprised to see it on the list, as I had gotten the impression that it's been turned around and improving in the past year or so.

Submitted by West Philly High supporter (not verified) on January 30, 2010 4:52 pm

it's common knowledge that until the morning of the Ren. schools announcements, there were 12 schools on the list. As of that afternoon, there were 14 schools on the list. University City and West were added to the list late in the game.

Submitted by Paul Socolar on January 31, 2010 1:42 am

The press was briefed on Renaissance and given an embargoed copy of the lists on Tuesday, the day before the public announcement. Both West Philadelphia and University City were on the list of Renaissance Eligible schools, but both were listed as "deferred." Hence there were only 12 schools in line for Renaissance status this year.

District staff explained that while the two schools were both on the Renaissance Eligible list because their school performance index score fell in the bottom tenth of all District schools and they were Empowerment Schools, they were being deferred because there are major construction projects going on at both schools.

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, District staff decided not to list the schools as deferred, so they were essentially put back on the list of schools to be considered for turnaround this year. Superintendent Ackerman said the District had gone back and forth on the question of whether or not to defer.

Submitted by West Philly High supporter (not verified) on January 30, 2010 10:52 am

West Philly High does not belong on this list. We're only there because our principal put us there. Admittedly, we still have a long way to go to make all the changes necessary to bring it to the level of excellence we should expect from all of our Philadelphia public schools. But we are on the path to getting there. A mere five months (five months!!!) after implementing our new strategic plan, the improvements are as dramatic as they are tangible. I urge anyone who doubts this, who thinks that West is it’s same old run-down self, to walk through our building on any given school day. The energy, the creativity, and most of all, the community within our school are all palpable. The transformation we are currently undergoing will take more than five months, though. Our school community needs an administration that is willing to give us the time and support we need to make this transformation complete. We do not need an administration that pulls the rug out from under us just as change is afoot.

Submitted by Another West supporter (not verified) on January 30, 2010 12:40 pm

Dr. Ackerman herself released positive information about West Philadelphia High School in her News Notes the very same day that West was announced as a Renaissance School. She talked about West's Automotive Academy's involvement in the Progressive Auto Competition. West is the only high school in the nation that is still in the running to win $10 million in prize money (MIT is already out of the running). In addition, 65% of ninth grade students at West are on target to graduate compared with 20% of last year's ninth graders. GREAT things are happening at West and like West Philly High supporter, I believe the staff should have a chance to prove themselves; you'd be hard pressed to find any other staff in the city as talented and dedicated as the staff at West.
By the way, West already underwent a transformation this year and has around 40 new staff members and a plan that was worked on last school year. Why does West need to undergo another transformation? Isn't it detrimental to students to keep changing the staff? Young people who live in poverty depend on stable adults in their lives and for many of them, those stable adults are in their schools!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on February 1, 2010 8:16 pm

"Call it being Judased"

Now there is a class act for you...a teacher who says..."Judased"

Are you sure you are teaching in the public school system?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 12, 2010 12:58 pm

Every year we read about improvments made in our schools. We read about more money being needed and other money being spent. We read about how "renaissance" schools, "charter schools", "private schools", etc. etc. We have competant teachers who can't teach, we have incompetant teachers who can't teach. We have students who can't learn and students who don't want to learn. I could go on, but in the end we have a lot of children who do not and cannot reach their potential because they can't get an education. We argue at length, throw more money at it and the beat goes on. I looked at the stats for West Philadelphia High School and I'm wondering why anyone bothers to go. Teachers or students. I believe you could get those test scores by just putting your name on your paper.

Anyway, whenever all these "educators" can figure out why we can't teach our children so they can become productive, willing participants in society and survive in it with the basic skills they've learned in school maybe we can get started.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2010 10:26 am

"competant teachers who can't teach" is an oxymoron. If they can't teach they obviously aen't "competant". Maybe if the teachers had some say in what they know needs to be done before any programs are purchased or decisions about schools are made there would be some real changes. So far the decisions affecting the entire decision-making process is done by politicians and their flunkies, not teachers. Stop blaming teachers for something others are doing.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 13, 2010 6:35 pm

The reason that the district has over 50 percent of its students failing and dropping out is because the teachers aren't teaching...

Yes, I agree with that...that makes a lot of sense...

Submitted by Ged online (not verified) on April 2, 2011 4:01 am

Great list thanks for share

Submitted by High school Diploma Online (not verified) on October 7, 2011 7:29 am

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Submitted by Chic Furniture (not verified) on July 12, 2013 1:40 am
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