This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
Parents at Creighton Elementary School, one of four schools slated to become a Renaissance Charter, plan a rally in opposition this afternoon. District officials will return to the school tonight for a second meeting to explain the decision to turn around the school.
Home and School President Delores Waters has attended the last two School Reform Commission sessions to ask questions and argue that Creighton was improving on its own and doesn’t need such drastic intervention.
“We are already correcting ourselves,” she said. “We are a diverse school with all cultures and all ethnic backgrounds. It’s not a bad school.”
Creighton, located at 5401 Tabor Ave. in the Lower Northeast, in 2011 posted a School Performance Index score of 8 – an improvement from 9 the year before. But that still puts it among the lowest performing schools in the city. Schools are assigned an SPI of 1-10, with 10 being the lowest ranking.
Still, there are six elementary and middle schools with an SPI of 10 and six more with an SPI of 9 that are neither being converted to Renaissance charters nor closed. Eight of those 12 that were passed over were on the Renaissance Alert list or were abortive Promise Academies in 2011.
"There are much lower [rated] schools," Waters noted.
At Monday night’s SRC meeting on turning schools around, Waters listened to parents describe how Mastery Charter had vastly improved their neighborhood schools. However, Mastery doesn’t intend to bid to turn around Creighton.
All five of the other approved turnaround teams will bid on the school. This is the first year that a school in the Northeast has made the Renaissance list.
Waters said that the school didn’t get the kind of resources it needed to get better on its own.
“These programs are saying they can provide extra teachers in the classroom. Why can these programs have this and we can’t get that [from the District]?” she asked.
For the third year of the Renaissance match process, the District has stopped requiring all approved turnaround teams to bid on all the schools. Now it is choosing schools to be matched in part because providers want to bid on them.
“We don’t want to put a school out there, and no one is interested in it. That was one of the considerations,” said District spokesperson Fernando Gallard.
He said that this second meeting is occurring because of the parents’ request for more information.