The District this week has outlined the four models for Renaissance Schools turnaround as part of its announcement of 18 schools for year two of the initiative. The Renaissance Schools fact sheet says the schools "will serve students in a neighborhood catchment area but will differ from traditional District schools by having a greater degree of autonomy in school management in exchange for a high degree of accountability for performance."
The District describes the four turnaround models as follows:
West Philadelphia High School is set to experience another dramatic shakeup, but there will be no repeat of last year’s tumultuous Renaissance match process.
On Tuesday, District officials announced that West will become a Promise Academy – an outcome that was bitterly opposed by some teachers, parents and community members during West’s ill-fated Renaissance experience last year.
Three current Renaissance School managers are joined by four newcomers as the approved provider finalists who will be vying to turn around this year's cohort of six "Renaissance Match" schools, the School District announced Tuesday evening. The seven successfully completed a request for proposal process. They include:
At the District’s seven new Renaissance charter schools, big changes have been met with a mostly warm reception, according to District documents recently obtained by the Notebook through the right-to-know law.
Progress reports compiled for the School Reform Commission (SRC) by the Office of Charter, Partnership and New Schools show that enrollment and average daily attendance are up at all seven schools, while the number of reported serious incidents at each school is down.
In November, the District named 10 prospective Renaissance Schools providers that can participate in the next step in the process to run schools in year two of the initiative. Their full proposals were due Tuesday. The Notebook requested information on the 20 original applicants, and the District recently provided us with the cover sheets for each of the respondents to their "request for qualifications."
The School District of Philadelphia has met its goal of radically overhauling the teaching staffs at six new Renaissance Promise Academies.
According to District data obtained by the Notebook, almost 75 percent of the 280 teachers working in Promise Academies are new to their schools. Forty-three percent are in their first year teaching in the District. Although unable to provide exact data, District officials said the majority of those are in their first teaching position anywhere.
The District has named 10 finalists from the 20 respondents to its request for potential providers to run schools in a second cohort of Renaissance Schools. The list of "RFQ finalists" includes some national players in school turnaround that would be new to Philadelphia.
The Nov. 2 deadline for potential Renaissance Schools managers to respond to a Request for Qualifications for turnaround teams has passed, with District officials saying they are in “good shape” based on the submissions they have received.
“We’re still compiling [the responses],” said Diane Castelbuono, the District’s associate superintendent for strategic programs.“There is a nice mix of national and local [providers.]”
Flush with new resources and fresh from whirlwind makeovers, the District’s 13 new Renaissance Schools opened their doors this September, carrying out Superintendent Arlene Ackerman’s plan to breathe new life into some of Philadelphia’s lowest performing schools.
Roughly 7,000 students kicked off the new school year in the District’s seven new charter-operated Renaissance Schools and six new District-operated Renaissance Promise Academies. Collectively, the schools were upgraded to the tune of several million dollars since last spring.
Seeking to get a jump on their ambitious change agendas, two of the District’s new Renaissance charter operators opened their doors early this week.
By 8:30 in the morning on September 1, all of the fourth and fifth graders at the new Mastery Charter Smedley Elementary School in Frankford were assembled in the sweltering cafeteria for a combination PowerPoint presentation and pep rally.